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The greatest guitar songs of the 21st century

The greatest guitar songs of the 21st century – 2005

E-Pro – Beck

As with much of Beck’s prior output, E-Pro is a blend of psychedelic 60s garage rock and loop-driven hip-hop beats. The beats in question come from a driving drum loop lifted from the Beastie Boys song So What’cha Want.

This wasn’t the first time Beck had sampled the Beastie Boys’ back catalogue, which perhaps isn’t surprising – he’d brought in the Beastie Boys’ favoured production team, the Dust Brothers, to work on Odelay, Midnite Vultures and this very album, Guero. The riff is fairly easy to play. The fretted notes all appear at the 3rd and 5th frets on the two bass strings. 

No pesky position shifts to navigate then, but don’t be fooled by the lo-fi tone – you will need a steady alternate-picking technique to deliver the riff. Beck himself generally plays this on a Silvertone 1448 with a fuzz style distortion such as a Big Muff or Fuzz Face.

A Little Less Sixteen Candles... – Fall Out Boy

The number of people who like this song is double those who admit it. Everyone else is missing out.

The Hand That Feeds – Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor proved his best days weren’t behind him with arguably NIN’s catchiest song ever.

Building The Church – Steve Vai

Described by the Bad Horsie legend as having a “popcorn crazy” feel, the Dm11 arpeggio that kicks off his seventh album is perfectly mind-boggling.

Bat Country – Avenged Sevenfold

Moving away from the metalcore of their debut to a more classic heavy metal and hard rock sound, Synyster & Zacky’s finest songwriting chops to date are on display here.

A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation – Trivium

There are more popular Trivium songs, but the epic guitar playing on display here should come with a health warning.

Twisted Transistor – Korn

A decade on from pioneering guitar sounds for the nu-metal revolution, Korn were still discovering new meanings to their heaviness.

Welcome Home – Coheed And Cambria

The big single from the New Yorkers’ major label debut felt new and exciting –like hearing an emo metal take on Kashmir.

Wings Of A Butterfly – HIM

Long-time Gibson and Laney endorsee Mikko ‘Linde’ Lindström dialled in some truly jaw-dropping tones on this 2005 single from the Finnish gothic rockers.

I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie

Without the need for percussion, the guitar creates a head-nodding backbeat. The minor IV chord takes it over the top.

From The Floorboards Up – Paul Weller

Paul’s Telecaster sounds gritty, urgent, and ready to compete with all contemporary Weller wannabes. Features a spectacular stuttering lead break.

Dakota – Stereophonics

The only Stereophonics song ever to top the UK singles chart, and a covers band classic.