How to play the greatest guitar solo of all time

Not only has the best guitar solo ever been revealed but you can easily play along with it too…

It’s official. The experts at Total Guitar magazine polled their readers in a quest to find the greatest guitar solo of all time, and the results are in.

Of course, what makes a solo the greatest depends on your criteria. Is it technical prowess? Emotion? A memorable melodic line? Arguably, the champion has it all…

So what was the winner – the blistering finger-tapping marathon of ‘Eruption’, ‘Free Bird’ with its pulse-quickening tempo switch, the cheesiness of ‘Hotel California’, or did a different legendary solo make the top spot?

That’s right. Brian May’s solo from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen was voted the best guitar solo ever. It manages to be epic without being spotlight-hogging in length, and fits in seamlessly with the operatic song.

The reaction by May to winning the title was suitably modest: ‘I am not worthy, but it’s much appreciated.’

Last year over Instagram the Queen guitarist gifted fans and budding shredders a step-by-step guide of how to play the iconic solo, and also gave everyone a nice view of his knee.

(The tutorial is 2:00 to 5:00 if you’re in a hurry.) May offered insight into his playing, saying that he uses the guitar as a voice: ‘I’m not the world’s expert greatest technical guitar player,’ he insisted in typically humble fashion.

Inevitably many, many people will disagree with the results of the poll – but all that means is hours of listening to guitar solos and watching videos on concerts on YouTube until a balanced argument is reached.

You’ll have to buy Total Guitar magazine to discover what was ranked where in the top 50. Please do argue away in the comments over what you think deserves to be crowned the greatest guitar solo of all time. My vote’s for ‘All Along the Watchtower’.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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