Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Readers Poll: Round 1 — "Layla" (Eric Clapton, Duane Allman) Vs. "No More Tears" (Zakk Wylde)



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Dear editors, CEO's and officers of Guitarworld Magazine,

I have played for over 45 years and am an accomplished jazz fusion player. I am tired to the point of ad-nauseam hearing about how great, how all powerful, the deified Hendrix was, a man allegedly able to master all genres of music including the alien Krell scale no doubt:-) A man who put out a sum total of four LPs (officially released) who has been dead over 40 years and yet is still elevated to the status of supernatural deity and crowned by default as best guitarist every single stinking year on every poll based on WHAT? In a recent article, another clueless writer stated that he could "play anything"...REALLY? Are they that delusional?
Sure, like the continually alleged erroneous bull that he could play jazz?....not quite! There are recordings of Jimi supposedly playing jazz or jamming with jazz players including one boot with John McLaughlin and if Jimi is playing jazz than I can play Paganini's 24 Caprices on the violin as well as Jaschia Heifetz!
He NEVER played jazz and couldn't play jazz, certainly not what is considered true, harmonically complex, contemporary jazz modulated over multiple chord changes as in Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Johnny Smith, Pat Martino, Jim Hall, Jimmy Bruno, George Benson etc., or the fusion players like McLaughlln, Stern or Scofield - Jimi played BLUES, almost 95% typical, minor pentatonic blues riffs with a few majors thrown in, big deal, he and Clapton along with most blues players used virtually the same riffs with very few minor differences. Jimi was actually more inventive with his little hybrid passing chords such as Little Wing, Wait til Tomorrow, Angel, Wind Cries Mary  etc. although they were not jazz, not even close!
Sure Hendrix was a great blues-rock guitarist, YES he was an innovator even though much of his schtick was stolen from an unknown Buddy Guy (at the time) and other virtually undiscovered Chitlin Circuit rhythm & blues players but never the less, yes the amalgam was original, he was an innovator and he along with a young Clapton (the only guitarist he truly admired at the time) were the bookends that ushered in a new era of solo blues guitar, redefined it and set a new gold standard. I was there at the time, although a kid, to hear the rock and blues pros talk about two players among all others on the scene, and you either copied Clapton's Bluesbreaker LP, his Cream stuff or Hendrix, not even Beck etc. rated at that time although Mike Bloomfield was a master who is consistently forgotten. Jazz players on the whole could have cared less about Hendrix, largely dismissing him as just a another over indulgent, super loud rock and roller. Let it be known that to declare Jimi as the default greatest, in every single friggin poll year after year is a grotesque parody of history and a joke perpetrated by guilt ridden, writers, critics and suburban morons who know nothing about the guitar, its history, mechanics and different genres. Great guitar players who give this myth lip service, do it because  its being politically correct, you dare NOT say anything less of Hendrix or risk being scorned, vilified and committing nothing less than guitar heresy. Its ludicrous but sadly a fact.

The truth however is often inconvenient and until the press stops this relentless deification of Hendrix, it will continue to be a travesty of journalism, a lie, a myth and a gross disservice to all the GREAT players who are still alive, have put out prolific catalogs and who are far superior to Jimi in every phase of guitar. Jimi himself would be embarrassed and sickened by the deification the press has hurled upon him. He would have repudiated such bull crap and demanded that the press give attention to the multitude of other guitarists who have been just as great or better in their own right.

STOP this pathetic mythology about Hendrix..when is it going to stop? Since the man has died, he has been elevated to supernatural levels, endowed with super powers the he never had and its all due to the endless hype promulgated by an industry that for motives unknown beyond profit, seem hell bent on continuing this outrageous cultism that as its manifesto, claims Hendrix was the greatest guitarist in the history of the planet, sure, a man who could play blues, rock, classical, jazz, Hawaiian slack, bluegrass, you name it and Jimi could play it and of course, not only lefty but both ways because HE was from the planet Krypton:-)

The true test of a "cult" is how people who adhere to it cannot allow it to be questioned, such as, you guessed it, religion.....and the test is, they are so steeped in denial that to allow one critique or question regarding their deity seemingly threatens to crack their own self worth and credibility wide open therefore, they can not allow it just as religious zealots have zero tolerance toward any resistance, questions or attacks upon their sacred cult. Jimi, like Elvis and Jesus has become a cult and people who adhere to a cult have no self identity and therefore cling to a cult in order to create self validation which is apparently so fragile, so thin and fractious, they can't allow a debate. Lets stop this horse hockey, Hendrix was a great player, and like a food or type of coffee roast, its all subjective, you can love Hendrix, like him, or be indifferent but its not going to effect the rotation of the planets, the earths gravity, alter the consciousness of the human species or effect how often you have a bowl movement. How much somebody liked Hendrix's guitar work has no bearing on the actual level of skill he possessed if objectively compared to his contemporaries or players to this day. In fact, he registers better than average only among blues rock players but not the best, and not even necessarily great. the word "great" or "best" is itself often a perversion and is far more subjective in interpretation than objective or accurate.

So lets move on....enough. Stop the deification of James Marshall Hendrix, let him rest knowing he was one of the great pioneers of rock-blues guitar but leave it at that....he did not wear a cape, he could not play all genres of music nor play perfectly both right and left handed nor was he sent by Zeus to entertain the mortals nor was he a disciple of the greatest of all fairy tale myths, Jesus, sent to save the sins of all guitar players. As Carl Sagan so eloquently said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Where is the evidence for these myths, I am still waiting.



I voted for Zakk. Taking into account the clash of genres between these songs, I tried to consider the impact of each song on its own "accepted" genre. Layla wins hands down, especially the opening riff. But since this is a solo "competition" I favored Zakk. The Layla solo is melodic & flowing but Zakk impressed with his flowing hair. haha J/K. Note progression is what solo-ing is all about to me in addition to maintaining rhythm & melody. I like the method Zakk uses in No More Tears to get from one rhythm change to the next.

btw why the disrespect for metal fans? uncool :/



Soloing beyond your expectations. Zack is a Master Shredder hands down. He completed his destiny with the OZ and this is what very very very few have accomplished. Completed your soloing career with no other intentions or what so ever. He came in conquered gave it his all and bang his aced his prowess. He could did this on his own all of it and it would of been the same Wylde. Congrats on a outstanding accomplishment.


Darth Compton

Wow, this was a surprise. I also dig No More Tears, but Allman's explosive slide work in the middle of Layla (before the piano outro solos) is one of the finest expressions of lead guitar I ever heard, of course in my humble opinion.



the whole jing-jing-jing- jing- thing is nearly as boring as the old jimmy reed riff. Atleast the allman/clapton song had some texture to it. just sayin'.


C'mon this poll is ridiculous. Zakk over Clapton and Allman. I feel like I've been tied to the Whipping Post.



I'm sorry, but, while I love the Intro to Layla and its use as a thematic device throughout the song - I do NOT love the rambling 'solo' nor the tone of it, to me it sounds whiny - I'm sure I'm going to get flamed for it but I can't stand it, if I was going to listen to the song and I do on on occassion I would stop it at around the 3:00 mark and move to the next song.

So my vote goes to Ozzy and Mr Wlyde, while the song is a bit ho-hum and a forgettable hair metal number, the solo kicked some serious @r$e.

Now before you go off at the mouth saying I am just a metal guy, remember, this is from someone who voted for Carlos Santana in a earlier round, now Santana's work is a beautful sounding and well constructed solo with a tone to die for!



Yep! Facebook did it again...

For those of you who don't feel like going to Zakk's Facebook page and seeing it for yourselves, there is a big screen capture of this poll's results from earlier this morning showing Clapton in the lead 56.76% to Zakk's 43.24% with the header of "BERZERKERS! Let's turn this thing around! Time to Vote!" along with a link to this poll .

So it looks like this whole thing has ceased being a "readers" poll and has now turned into a Facebook poll. If this is the case then there is a good chance of the final two being between Queen/Brian May's Facebook vs Zakk Wylde's Facebook.

Oh well...



It would be a great idea to only make the poll accessible to registered users of guitar world. Of course the facebook users could register (actually i was one of them too when the guitarist poll started last year), but i think this would keep many of them away from this poll due to the effort to register...



Wow, I absolutely wouldn´t have expected this result!
I thought everyone would vote for Layla. Maybe there is a facebook fan page involved?

Btw, I listened to No More Tears and found the solo to be very cool.
The question is, are you referring to the Layla intro lick or the actual solo (in the secong part) when you cast your vote?

Really can´t decide, no vote from me here...


This is CRAZY, I like Zakk but, come on. He's beating Clapton and Allman? The only thing I can think of is there's got to be a lot of Metal Guys voting. In my experience Metal Guys have no respect for any other style of music. I like Metal but I am not a "Metal Guy" I have a very eclectic taste in music. I like Rock, Metal, Blues, Blues Rock, Country, Shred, Pop, Just about all forms of Rock and there's a lot. But No More Tears over Layla NO F***ING WAY I started my own poll at If you don't like the choices leave a comment and I will add your song. Tried to make a list for everyone.



capped yourself in the toe there tom, listing shred as your interests lol.. come on..



Something´s wrong here. I love "No more tears", but... Come on! How can it have 3 times as much votes as "Layla"?
Even Zack would vote for Layla!



Just voted and Zakk Wylde was leading by over a 1000 votes over Clapton/Allman? What is this world coming to? Wylde is good. But is not worthy enough to carry either Clapton's or Allman's guitar case.



As my buddy used to say, "Geez Louise, this is like shooting fish in a barrel!"

No question, Clapton Allman.

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