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5 Memorable Rock Guitar Solos

rock guitar solos

No matter who you are reading this, you may fancy yourself a shredder but let's not get it twisted - you're not a rock guitar god quite yet. Don’t stress it though, that sort of reputation takes decades to reach. But the good news is this, there are many players who have already reached rock guitar legend status that we can look to and learn from. 

Plus as it turns out, there's a lot of great rock guitar solos that stay stuck in your head that may be easier to play than you realize.

There are some very memorable guitar solos that rely more on tune-craft and dynamics than they do on technical wizardry. The reason is actually pretty simple: it's a shortcut to sounding awesome.

“Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)” by Led Zeppelin

John Bonham and the boys slow the tempo to a stroll just before the guitar solo in this one, giving Jimmy Page space to play a simple (mostly) A-major pentatonic phrase. These are also similar to some licks Paul Gilbert rolls through in his guitar lessons at ArtistWorks on Pentatonic soloing.

rock guitar lesson on pentatonic solo

The tempo shift and the use of a major scale after a minor key riff make the solo pop. Follow it with rock ‘n’ roll’s most memorable single string chromatic run and you’ll look like you really know what you’re doing. Don't forget to play it with feeling and confidence, sell it! 

“Runnin’ With the Devil” by Van Halen

Most Van Halen solos are finger-exhausting workouts with whammy bar dives, two handed tapping cardio and harmonic notes. On Van Halen’s first album, the great Eddie Van Halen does us mere mortals a favor and performs a solo that’s memorable and actually playable for people not named Eddie Van Halen. On “Runnin’ With the Devil,” he sticks to a simple major key melody that, aside from an odd bend, moves up and down the frets in a simple bar shape.

When you’re ready to dive deeper some of the techniques behind this sort of song, check out Paul Gilbert's free sample lessons at ArtistWorks!

rock guitar solos

“Orion” by Metallica

This one’s a little bit of a cheat. You really need a buddy to play all the parts on the harmonized guitar part on this early Metallica instrumental, but alone you can approximate the melody easily. It’s a lot of slow, deep bends and major key intervals that sound like an epic anthem.

rock guita solos

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Start on the sixth fret of the b-string, then go up a minor third and soon you have one of the most recognizable melodies of the 20th century. The notes fall right underneath your fingers. Not sure where to go next? Just sing the song and you’ll easily find it by following along with the lyrics in your head. This can be the first guitar solo you figure out by ear if you've never tried one before. Go on, you can do it!

Pro Tip: Next try to tackle all the tasty tips from Paul Gilbert’s sample rock guitar lessons at ArtistWorks!

rock guitar solos

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC

Angus Young runs through some boilerplate ballsy a-minor blues scale licks before running up the e string with a fast first finger to pinky pull-off pattern before culminating in a big squealing bend. Dirty deeds indeed. 

rock guitar solos

Paul Gilbert can teach you how to play all these rock guitar solos and more online at ArtistWorks, click here for free sample lessons!

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