Poll Results: Eddie Van Halen's "Eruption" Tops Readers' List of the 50 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time



+ Add a Comment


It was fixed, "Numb" by Gilmour had a little burst at the end, if you consider that a guitar solo you deserve Eddie Van Halen. I respect him more for having married my sweetheart, Valerie Bertenelli. Steve Vai's "God" now that is a guitar solo.



Ya I agree these polls are subjective, and for fun only.

Lil OT

Too young to remember Hendrix, but every-one's jaw dropped when Van Halen came out with that first album and his playing especially with Eruption.totally re-invented the way rock guitar played.

Is it fair to say that game changing rock guitar went from Jimi Hendrix to Eddie Van Halen to still waiting for the next one?
I just don't think Satriani, and Vai ,how great they are, are game changers. Can there even be a next one?



How come Duane Allman's solo on Elizabeth Reed from the Fillmore East album never even gets mentioned on any of these lists? What solo is better than that? None.



I agree with the fact that it's fundamentally silly to rank art, but it's a well-proven gimmick to get GW readers interacting and it's all in good fun. I have these same conversations with friends and we agree that there's a group of players and solos that are just so iconic they should be removed from the competition. I mean, how can you really compare Comfortably Numb, Eruption, Stairway, or the guys who wrote them?



before y'all shoot me, I love Eddie but not influenced but him.. I love Jimi more and he influenced me to play right when VH1 came out. Eruption is the wildest solo ever no doubt but reading some of the comments and Eddie being the most influential guitarist even more than Jimi, really?
Maybe for rock but even Vai and Mamlsteen said Jimi (yes I know Vai is influenced by Eddie too). I read more jazz and blues guitarist say Jimi.. remember, I love Eddie too.
The other thing is, Eruption, can music be actually played behind it like every other song it went against? I think it's a fair question.

And heck yeah, anyone who plays guitar would be lying if they didn't and still freak out when Eruption is played.. But then again I could say the same about Jimi's Star Spangle Banner.

Jimi being out of tune, come on guys, we all know how crappy the tuning heads were back then.

The reason I'm writing this is because I was actually conducting a survey myself asking other players about who they liked and most of the time I had to mention Eddie because he wasn't. After doing so he go the respect he deserved.
To me that is sad. Yes, I'm a bigger Jimi fan but come on, Eddie took over where Jimi left off. Why are folks forgetting him?
I'm glade to see GW is full of Eddie fans. My personal opinion, Jimi #1 Eddie #2.. Technique wise, Eddie hands down, musician, Jimi all the way.(yes Eddie played piano) Jimi made the guitar sound like one.. You should hear the bootlegs, but cheers to the 2 greatest rock guitarist ever.


And the "Well, nobody saw that coming a mile away" award goes to......this poll!!! Eddie couldn't make it to accept this award, he's too busy writing the next VH record...(rimshot).


I prefer Quiet Riot's Battle Axe by Carlos Cavazo.



I thought for sure one of the Jimmies would win...



YEA...YEA I knew EVH would win but hey ....this was cool to see how it all played out. Eddie has game change talent. I remember in the late 70's I went to a Ted Nugent concert at the Capital Center in Landover, Md. where (believe it) VanHalen was the back up band. I had great seats and I knew I was witness to the birth of a legendary band. Writing this I still remember that intro..the place was going nuts, whole new sound for that time. And yea Ted started and all were already worn out by what we were just exposed to...I felt fortunate to be part of history that day.



I'm sorry but this is just ridiculous. I just don't get it. Maybe I'm just old and tired and/or an idiot but after playing semi-professionally and professionally for the past 20 years and in total for 34 years I just don't see how you can "judge" artistic impression. I love Eruption. I love both solos in Comfortably Numb. And yes, I can play all three. It's not a technical thing. It's a feeling thing. How can you judge and compare "feel"? Whatever.



You're right of course. There is no such thing as "better" in art. What this poll proved is popularity...like all polls.

Having said that, it seems apparent to me that Eruption was the biggest game-changer in rock history. One can argue all day about the impact of various guitar players, but Eruption as a single entity was a tsunami of change wrapped up in 1 minute 42 seconds. I really don't think any other guitar solo comes close to that kind of impact on guitar playing.



That's a great point. Other players did their thing over the course of their careers (as did EVH, of course) but as far as a single moment being a game changer, you gotta give it up to Eruption.



It seems like GW only consists of van halen fanclub members lol



Who isn't a fan of Eddie or at least been inspired to play by his music?


I am NOT a fan nor am I inspired or have ever been inspired by anything EVH has ever done. Now if you want inspiration listen to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robin Trower, Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons. The list goes on but EVH is NOT on MY list.



How can you not be inspired by evh not only did he bring a handful of new techniques to the guitar world he changed the way we look at the instrument. You might as well just have listed the same guitarist over and over. I love the blues but there's more out there than just that.

Log in to Guitar World directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

  • Sign in with Twitter
Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.