Question Of The Week: Guitar Solo? More Like Guitar So No!
An awesome guitar solo is like a great drug: It elevates the acceptably awesome to a level of euphoric otherworldliness. Sometimes it provides a thrill all on its own. Sometimes you ponder its mechanics and composition, all in awe of the science that makes it possible. Sometimes it functions as a rest stop on the crowded freeway from point A (jamming) to point B (peaking). Sometimes it makes adults act like asses in public. Fun!
Buttt there are bad drugz too. Drugz that don’t work, last too long, or whammy you with their horribleness. That’s no fun. Let’s talk about the guitar solos that go wrong in today’s Question Of The Week! Yaaaay! No guitar mercy!!
Inspired by the occasional abortive guitar solo that makes our ears sad, we asked our staff the following:
Say, what’s your least favorite guitar solo?
Let’s retire all of these duds! Or string them together for Dave Mustaine’s torture chamber. Have an awesome wknd :)
Jimmy Page’s canon of riffs overshadows everyone else’s, including Tony Iommi. But Jimmy Page the soloist is sloppy and ultimately uninteresting. Not all solos need to be pristine, Loomis-esque affairs, but most Zeppelin solos sound like they could have used a take or two more. I’ve encountered some blowback when stating this position yet “Over The Hills And Far Away” is a prime example of my point. The rest of the song’s guitar work is perfect: the little reflexive folk riff, the big chords under Plant’s vocals, the shuffling answer to the opening part… Then the solo comes in, takes a piss in the corner, and walks out. It’s like Page is a valedictorian who drunkenly stumbles to the mic to slur a speech at his high school graduation.
Slayer’s “World Painted Blood.” Slayer is my favorite band, but this solo (at 3:22) just sounds like the most stereotypical Kerry King horse-whinny solo. Like he took no time on it, and just made a bunch of weird crunchy noises. A shame, as this track is actually pretty awesome in a lot of ways.
My least favorite guitar solo is the collective whining of people despondent over the lack of solos in St. Anger. That was the least of that record’s issues.
JUSTIN M. NORTON
Jimmy Page’s solo on “Stairway To Heaven.” It’s undeniably brilliant but I’ve heard the song so many times on classic rock radio now that it has jumped the shark. The solo was also the “makeout” moment when played at high school dances and I was never the one making out. Thanks, Jimmy, for providing the soundtrack for adolescent futility.
“Anesthesia” by The Metallicas. A *bass* solo?! Lol why.
In any guitar shop, a dude will hear a lot of crappy soloing from beginner guitarists. But somehow one of those squeaky, directionless solos made it onto “Be Aggressive,” the spunkiest jam on my favorite album by Faith No More. Sounds like its player tracked it while spilling a taco on himself. If I were the record’s producer I would’ve taken my name off. lol
DAVID LEE ROTHMUND
A fake? No, the video, not “Synyster” (his real name is Brian, btw). LAST RESORT! Maybe Brian was having a shitty day, but this Avenged Sevenfold lesson is pretty shitty. And even though there are some passable A7X solos, I kind of get the idea that they took a while to land in the studio. Like when you’re playing, and you just suck, and you gotta keep playing the same thing over and over again and then once magically it happens. And then the guitar is sitting on your pride boner and you get dickhurt and it’s all over and then you start wearing makeup to cover the scars.
It’s not the worst solo in existence, but I remember Alex Laiho’s solo on “Hellhounds On My Trail” being a good representation of my negative feelings about Children of Bodom and Blooddrunk at the time. It’s a mere ten seconds of utter wankery: a five-second whammy swell is followed by five seconds of nearly incomprehensible wah abuse before relinquishing all control to the significantly more organized keyboard shred. Compared to any of the solos on Bodom’s earlier (or later) material, it’s just downright lazy.