A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time.
The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, starts with Richie Sambora's work on Bon Jovi's “Wanted Dead or Alive” (100) and builds to a truly epic finish with Jimmy Page's solo on "Stairway to Heaven" (01).
To quote our "Stairway to Heaven" story that ran with the list, "If Jimmy Page is the Steven Spielberg of guitarists, then 'Stairway' is his Close Encounters."
On June 10, we kicked off a summer blockbuster of our own — a no-holds-barred six-string shootout. We pitted Guitar World's top 64 guitar solos against each other in an NCAA-style, 64-team single-elimination tournament. Every day, we asked you to cast your vote in a different guitar-solo matchup as dictated by the 64-team-style bracket. Now Rounds 1 and 2 have come and gone, leaving us with 16 guitar solos and eight matchups.
WELCOME TO THE SWEET 16 ROUND, where all 16 still-standing solos will go head to head before your eyes! As always, you can vote once per matchup, and the voting ends as soon as the next matchup is posted.
In some cases, genre will clash against genre; a thrash solo might compete against a Southern rock solo. But please get real, people! They're all guitar solos, played on guitars, by guitarists, most of them in some subset of the umbrella genre of rock. When choosing, it might have to come down to, "Which solo is more original and creative? Which is more iconic or important? or Which one kicks a larger, more impressive assemblage of asses?"
Latest Sweetwater Sweet 16 Results
Winner: "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (53.35 percent)
Loser: "One" (46.65 percent)
Today's Sweetwater Sweet 16 Matchup (2 of 8)
"Free Bird" Vs. "No More Tears"
Moving right along, today we see a serious front-runner — Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" (ranked as the No. 3 guitar solo out of 100) — going up against a relative dark horse, Ozzy Osbourne's "No More Tears" (51), which didn't even make our original top 50, but which has obliterated everything that has stood in its way, including a pair of top-20 solos. The Skynyrd classic features a joint guitar solo by Allen Collins and Gary Rossington. "No More Tears" is all Zakk Wylde.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
• "Free Bird" defeated Pink Floyd's "Money" (62) in Round 1 and Joe Satriani's "Surfing with the Alien" (30) in Round 2.
• "No More Tears" defeated Derek and the Dominos' "Layla" (14) in Round 1 and Pantera's "Floods" (19) in Round 2.
Get busy! You'll find the poll at the very bottom of the story.
03. “Free Bird”
Soloist: Allen Collins, Gary Rossington
Album: Lynyrd Skynyrd—pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd (MCA, 1973)
51. "No More Tears"
Soloist: Zakk Wylde
Album: Ozzy Osbourne—No More Tears (Epic, 1991)
[[ When you're done voting, start learning most of the guitar solos in this poll — and and a whole lot more! Check out a new TAB book from Guitar World and Hal Leonard: 'The 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time: A Treasure Trove of Guitar Leads Transcribed Note-for-Note, Plus Song Notes for More Than 40 of the Best Solos.' It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $29.99. NOTE: Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" guitar solo (solo number 39 on our list) is NOT included in this book. ]]
Winner: "Free Bird" (56.33 percent)
Loser: "No More Tears" (43.67 percent)
Next Poll: See you Monday!