The Top Ten Slow Guitar Solos
Slow and steady wins the race with these slow-burning beauties.
06. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” — Pink Floyd
It took David Gilmour little more than a heavily compressed Stratocaster, some reverb and a mound of mourning for his detached former bandmate, Syd Barrett, to create the melancholic opening to the nine-part centerpiece from 1975’s Wish You Were Here.
Supposedly, Barrett visited Abbey Road Studios in London during the album’s recording, but as the story goes Gilmour, along with the rest of his band, didn’t recognize the former Floyd leader due to his drastically altered appearance.
07. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” — Led Zeppelin
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” was outfitted in Zeppelin’s live set before the recording of Led Zeppelin III began and remained a staple of their show until the band’s dissolution in 1980. Though for the song’s main solo Jimmy Page delivers screaming C minor and C minor pentatonic runs, he opens the tune with a 45-second passage of beautifully restrained phrases.
08. “The Thrill Is Gone” — B.B. King
Emotive solo work is the cornerstone of blues guitar, and it’s only appropriate King’s highest charting hit contains some of his most dark and chilling leads.
The song, written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins, showcases the most prominent techniques that made B.B. King a household name, including deep string bends and an impossibly wide vibrato.
09. “Riviera Paradise” — Stevie Ray Vaughan
The final track on Vaughan’s final studio album with Double Trouble features some of his most delicate playing. Legend claims the album’s engineer noticed as the band was recording “Riviera Paradise” that the tape reel was about to run out. To no avail, he tried to warn the distracted band they might lose the recording. The song clocked in at nine minutes, finishing at the exact moment the reel of tape stopped.
10. “Bell Bottom Blues” — Derek and the Dominos
A list of slow guitar solos wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Eric “Slowhand” Clapton himself.
And while “Layla” garners most of the accolades on Derek &the Dominos’ only studio album, “Bell Bottom Blues,” which features only Clapton on guitar (Duane Allman didn’t sign on until after the song’s recording), is a tour de force in its own right.
Heavy-handed string bends and a pushed, as opposed to pulled, vibrato lend “Bell Bottom Blues” a gracefulness that counters the furious passion of “Layla,” and reaffirms Clapton as one of rock’s premier soloists.
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