Monday, February 2, 2015


Almost 20 years ago, I had a wild hair and put together a cassette mix of some of my favorite guitar solos and bits: just the solos, not the whole songs. I present it here, warts and all. And there are a lot of warts. There’s no cross-fading, no fancy edits or good transitions...just a bunch of solos, taken out of context and blurred together. I didn’t always work from the best sources, either; many of these solos are from crappy transfers from scratchy album to cassette. When I digitized this, I did trim some unintentional gaps in Audacity, and I boosted a couple of solos’ sound levels, but for the most part I left it alone.

So what makes great guitar solos? It's not required, but most of them tell a story. They are so well-constructed and perfectly developed that no note could be left out. They seem inevitable, like they've always existed. Hopefully you'll hear that inevitability in many of these solos. These are guitar bits that speak to me viscerally, intellectually, and emotionally. Technique doesn’t impress me as much as musicality and suitability. Of course, you’re not getting the suitability aspect in this mix since these solos are wrenched from their context, but if you know these songs, you’ll get what I mean. And you should know most if not all of these songs! heh-heh... I think for the purposes of this tape, I left out really long ones, either excerpting from longer solos or omitting them entirely.

There are a few personal faves I left out because I didn’t have access to the recordings at the time I made this: Tommy Bolin’s scorcher on Billy Cobham’s “Quadrant 4” from Spectrum, the great solo from the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie,” and the guitar work on “We Feel Fine” from Touch. There’s no Pete Cosey or Johnny Winter. Oh, well. Anyway, I’m not going to list out all the sources. See how many you can guess! How much you can tolerate? It’s a long track (42 minutes). Enjoy! And let me know what you think. The track is streaming here:

...and you can download it here. [Sorry about the white space...can't figure out how to get rid of it.]

To stay in the spirit of it, this is probably best played really loud….and beer wouldn’t hurt.

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