50 “Worst” Guitar Solos Of All Time

As a companion piece to the controversial 100 “greatest” guitarists of all time, here’s something even more controversial: The Top 50 Worst Guitar Solos of the Millennium.

I know I left out plenty of deserving guitar dudes on this list (there’s a lot of hammered shit out there, y’know). I took care to exclude bozos like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and John McLaughlin because, frankly, their styles seem to have less to do with pure rock-n-roll than that of say, Eddie Van Halen. Anyway, it’s a good bet that some of you will consider some or all of these solos the best of all time.

Here’s the Top 10 (with the worst being number 1):

  1. “Let It Rain” by Derek and the Dominos; Soloist: Eric Clapton
  2. “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd; Soloist: Gary Rossington, Ed King, Allen Collins
  3. “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” by Ten Years After; Soloist: Alvin Lee
  4. “Demand” by Phish; Soloist: Trey Anastasio
  5. “Renegade” by Styx; Soloist: Tommy Shaw
  6. “Fuel to the Fire” by Rory Gallagher; Soloist: Rory Gallagher
  7. “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner; Soloist: Mick Jones
  8. “Do You Feel Like We Do” by Peter Frampton; Soloist: Peter Frampton
  9. “I Like to Rock” by April Wine; Soloist: Brian Greenway
  10. “Venom Soup” by Ted Nugent; Soloist: Ted Nugent

(via Waxy.org Links)

98 Replies to “50 “Worst” Guitar Solos Of All Time”

  1. How is it acceptable to disrespect Eddie Van Halen? Thats just low…….

    Yngwie is a brilliant guitarist but I wouldn’t say he writes brilliant guitar solos. His playing is mainly focused on technique than structured composition. The only structured solo I can think of off the top of my head is Rising Force….

    However, his early records are still very fresh and do contain some awesome stuff not to mention two of the best guitar instrumentals of all time….

    Now, Free Bird….. Thats an awesome solo to play live. Helps alot if you have more than one guitarist in your band because your hands die after 5 mins of constant 3 string pentatonic picking.

  2. let it rain and free bird are great songs
    now you probaly have the talent of a 3 yr old when it comes to guitar if you think that
    i want to see you pick up a guitar and get in front of thousands of people and not get thrown off the stage

  3. How about the solo at the end of Layla. The slide stuff Duane Allman is playing is SOOOO outta key. They must have been hammered. That is why it is way buried in the mix.

    Come on people, all these guitarist are pretty good. Not great but okay. Some better than others. I mean you are arguing whos better Hendrix or Angus Young. They are both good at what they do!

    Cant we all find some stuff by guys who truly SUCK —- Im talking CC Deville (Poison), Mick Mars (Crue), etc…. Guitarist who cant even play, but have nice hair!!! Lets rip on some truly shitty musicians (if you can call them that).

  4. Who said freebird is one of the worst. it is the greatest solo
    ever recorded. Allen collins was a phenominal guitarist. Get your head out of your ass so your ears can hear.
    Rick

  5. whoever wrote this article obviously is a completely jealous, arrogant, ignorant, stupid person. theyve probly never lernt to play guitar. although, i do agree with them bout ymwie malmstee and steve vai etc. they suck….

  6. Alvin Lee is awesome! This list is HORSESHIT..
    Ah, the things you find when looking for the alternate tunings used by CCR.
    ..CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE.
    Does anyone know what they are?
    Damon

  7. Leave LED ZEPPELIN and MOBY DICK out of this, man!! They’re both pretty badass (unlike EMO).

  8. BTW alvin lee is not coll, you’re HORSESHIT!!

    lol

    angus RULES mofos

  9. your a retard most of these should be on the 50 greatest solos of all time especially freebird that is one of the best things ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  10. whoever made this list doesnt know much about rock. there are so many modern rock bands desperately trying to hammer out decent solos and failing so miserably.
    yet there are solos by clapton, antasio,nugent,etc on this list.
    oh…and i know a lot of people have already said this…but seriously…freebird???

  11. I’m not even rock n roll fan.But I think I have heard enough music to say what is good what is bad How can people include Free bird into this list and put it in the second place. That is a shame.I can even put it on the best solo I’ve ever heard in my whole 34 years living.And how about comfortably numb I really doubt that the making-list guy has even ears to hear music.

  12. Free Bird may be playable but no one can play it just like it was played by the master Allen Coliins.

  13. What about Alan Osmond on Crazy Horses – the most spastic solo in the history of guitar playing

  14. The idiot who thinks Angus Young is the best guitarist needs to die soon. My little brother is better than that piece of shit. Your list sucks I suggest you shoot yourself in the head now.

  15. to the guy who said mick mars sucks, you suck, listen to songs like too young to fall in love and live wire, it’ll make bitches like you crawl back to your scale books and wonder how he could play those song

  16. you seem to have left out anything by eddie van halen, hendrix, jimmy page, or stevie ray vaughan, some of the greatest guitar soloists of all time. peter frampton and ted nugent have skill, but no where near the skill of those i have listed

  17. i can agree all the way with the clapton. Im sorry but ive heard about everything eric clapton has ever done and hes a joke. seriously. ive been playing guitar for 2 years and i can play the blues better than him. Hes a good songwriter, but such an over rated guitarist. clapton is god?? not in this lifetime.

    haven’t heard all the others, but i can’t agree with the freebird man. maybe its not very hard to play but its a good solo

  18. I agree that freebird sucks. In fact i think it should be at no 1. Its amazing they can even call the deepshit music.

  19. Free bird is one of the best solos ever played under the great
    Jimi Hendrix and the totally Awesome Carlos Santana.
    Free bird is over looked in many ways just give it a
    chance.

    Jesse Ryder,13,Moneyman103@hotmail.com

  20. Take Freebird of that god damn list…….whoever put it in that list is clearly deaf or messed up!

  21. If you care about songs, most guitar solos are bad. They rarely add anything, often detracting, and except for the cases of technical experimentation tend to be a yawn. Given the pack of Yngwie, Vai, Satriani, Reid, and dozens of modern versions, even the technical stuff has generally become boring.

    Disagree? So, what if every song had a vocal solo or scatting? Every song. What if every song had a bass solo? Drums? Violin? Oboe? Triangle?

    If you only want to hear technical mastery on guitar you should not be looking to rock as a first choice. Flamenco, jazz, bluegrass, and classical are all rife with musical mastery because they aren’t commercial claptrap force filtered through a sterile and corrupt industry, pared down and made to fit a format.

  22. you say freebird is the second worst solo ever am i right, well if thats the second worst solo what do you thinks the best solo

  23. ho ho ho my little friend freebird is the greatest solo of all time . you will be recieving a lump of coal for christmas and a lump of aids in your stocking :) enjoy

  24. freebird as the second worst solo of all time… I think it is the second BEST solo of all time, stupid. Im sure this is the worst and most horrible and most stupid top 10 in the history of the universe!!!

  25. imagine stairway on this list……….i wud hav killed the guy still he deserves some serious punishment for putting freebird on dat list

  26. I will not lower myself to the likes of these other posters (obviously most of them just started shaving yesterday from the tone of their comments). I disagree with many of the axemen you have listed, but respect your right to express your opinion. Man, that’s what makes music great.

    The Kinks were one of the greatest British bands of the 60’s (great sound production and songwriting ability), but lead guitar break on You Really Got Me was not very impressive(thank goodness EVH got a hold of it). George Harrison had his weaknesses on guitar, but he and the rest of the lads were the best of their day, vocally and in songwriting ablility. Love this site.

    By the way, correction on number 5. Tommy Shaw, who I think personally is very talented on guitar and as a songwriter,(sorry, it’s not all about shredding), did not do the solo. (Check a tape, disc, or any Styx concert. Very surprised these other so called experts have not pointed that out. James “J.Y.” Young (the only original member of the band), did the solo work on that particular number. I am not an expert but have been playing at it for about 40+ years. Thanks for letting me sound off!! Keep on rockin. (Long live Randy!).

  27. i think that it is very disrespectful to post something like this about a man who dedicated his life to playing the guitar, and for the last 4 years of his life on earth could not even play it anymore. allen collins lost his friends, his wife & unborn child, his girlfriend along with the ability to walk or play the guitar and then ultimately his life. now to disrespect the one thing he loved to do in life after his death is blasphemy, as well as the other great artists on that list.

  28. Anyone who thinks Angus Young is better than Hendrix needs to
    pull their heads out of their asses because Angus fucking sucks dick!
    Ever listen to his solos, they put me to sleep, no one wants to hear
    that bullshit. Hendrix, Clapton, and Page kick ass. Angus
    doesn’t even compare, come on…Angus needs to spend less time
    screaming his ass off and more time working on his retardly gay solos.
    Hendrix rules!

  29. oh also, solo or not freebird was dedicated to duane allman 2nd greatest guitarist of all time according to rolling stone. so to defile freebird is to defile the allman brothers as well. either way taking in consideration what i posted before, these guys were only in their mid 20’s when they wrote this paticular song. can you just imagine what a 50 or so year old allen collins, steve gaines, gary rossington, combo with ronnie van zandt writing material would have created by now? freebird would have been amateur material for these geniuses. since afterall we’re talking solos check out t-for texas t-for tennesee by lynyrd skynyrd, thats some really good stuff from theses guys unexploited.
    thanks guys for inspiring me to pick up playing the guitar again after 10 yrs.

  30. The Freebird solo isn’t that great, or creative. It’s just a bunch of strung-together fast blues-scale licks.

  31. Actually stairway was not a pieced together solo. Jimmy page knew the form he wanted it to take and chose this take out of 3 takes…He ahs said that each take was very different from each other but the one he chose just had something special.

    Pitchfork is a joke….I love that phish makes an appearance on every shit list of theirs. It reaffirms my love for the band.

  32. Ha! Putting Angus Young at the top of a list of great guitarists is a joke. Even putting Paul Stanley on a list of great guitarists is a joke. I know that guy wrote that a long time ago, but that just offends me deeply.

    Stairway to Heaven wasn’t even the best solo that Jimmy Page did, yet it always represents Zeppelin at the top of solo lists. The Dazed and Confused solo is great, and the solos on Achilles Last Stand and Ten Years Gone are two of the most creative and heart-straining solos that I’ve ever heard on studio recorded albums. To me, any guitarists live work (especially Clapton’s) is better than studio solos.

  33. John McLaughlin a bozo? Freebird a lousy solo? This is a joke right? Worst solo for me “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young. A one note solo should be an embarrassment, unless he was trying make some sort of minimalist statement.

  34. the 1 thing about alvin lee and hendrixs-are so great that they can sing and play a solo at the same time

  35. If you want to hear absolutely terrible, sophomoric guitar work, just listen to any of the bands that are aired on “MTV-U” at your local college. I’m a totally average guitar player and most of them make me sound like a virtuoso.

  36. What is the concensus on my playing on my solo album, “Here comes Minny!” I think it is rather sublime yet free flowing in a raucous yet sensual type of manner.

  37. the ones who said angus young sucks, U SUCK!! Maybe he’s not the best guitar player in the world, but sure he kicks ass!!
    and that retard who said his little bro can play better than Angus Young! HAHAHA what a joke! i think ur brother is piece of shit!!!
    AC/DC rules!!

  38. Dude! First of all, I suggest you actually listen to what you are criticizing! For your info, the guitar solo in Renegade is done by JY! And second of all…Are you off your nut? Freebird!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Those that can…Rock..those that can’t…become music critics!