This week’s essential guitar tracks: from a former Megadeth shredder’s Pink Floyd cover to Dumble-assisted slide brilliance

Indonesian member of band Voice of Baceprot (VoB) perform on stage during the Trans Musicales music festival in Rennes, western France, on December 4, 2021.
Voice of Baceprot guitarist Marsya Kurnia (Image credit: SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Hello, and welcome to a new Spotify playlist-embiggened Essential Guitar Tracks. As you may well know, every seven days (or thereabouts), we endeavor to bring you a selection of songs from across the guitar universe, all with one thing in common: our favorite instrument plays a starring role.

Our goal is to give you an overview of the biggest tracks, our editor’s picks and anything you may have missed. We’re pushing horizons and taking you out of your comfort zone – because, as guitarists, that’s something we should all be striving for in our playing. 

So, here are our highlights from the past seven days – now with a Spotify playlist (scroll down for the latest additions).

Joe Bonamassa – Twenty-Four Hour Blues

If you see the name Joe Bonamassa pop up all the time, but have little idea of what the man’s music actually sounds like, Twenty-Four Hour Blues – the lead single from his newly announced LP, Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 – is a good place to start. This reinterpretation of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s classic tale of heartbroken woe has shining guitar moments aplenty, but we really love when Bonamassa uses one of the innumerable gorgeous guitars in his collection to double the horn line, particularly in the song’s beginning – even before the guitarist opens his mouth, he’s used his instrument to vividly set the scene. (JM)

Voice of Baceprot – What’s the Holy (Nobel) Today?

The viral Indonesian rock trio channel Faith No More and Rage Against the Machine on this bass-slapping, hard-riffing anti-war protest. Voice of Baceprot weave native melodies and metal bombast so seamlessly it will make System of a Down fans pogo like it’s 2001. (MAB)

Mong Tong – Tropic Sub

If you only listen to one Taiwanese two-piece this week, make it Mong Tong. Their psychedelic explorations incorporate traditional instruments like the phin guitar alongside funk-y wah laden electric tones. The way the filtered rhythm guitar here becomes locked in a cycling, drum-circle-like beat will have you digging out your Cry Baby. (MP)

Cory Wong (feat. Ben Rector) – Ready

For a player who’s become synonymous with endless output (around 11 solo albums since 2020, plus numerous extra-curricular activities) Cory Wong is having a very quiet 2023 indeed. But now, he and his signature Strat – and his right-hand rhythm work – are finally back in Ready, a soft bop made with Ben Rector that features some of his most dynamic playing in a while. (MO)

Alice Cooper – I’m Alice

Shock-rock’s godfather has one of the most fearsome three-guitar lineups – Nita Strauss, Tommy Henrikson and Ryan Roxie – in music today at his disposal, and I’m Alice puts them to use in the studio as Cooper never has before. Looking at the title, it may not come as a surprise to you that I’m Alice is juuuuuust a little campy, but from the Thin Lizzy-esque, multi-headed monster leads of the opening bars on, it’s more fun to just chuckle, sit back, and enjoy the ride. (JM)

Rick Wakeman, Dave Lombardo and Graham Bonnet – San Tropez

Now, we definitely didn’t have a Rick Wakeman, Dave Lombardo and Graham Bonnet supergroup on our list of predictions for 2023 – but a forthcoming album of Pink Floyd covers has brought them together, along with former Megadeth shredder Chris Poland. The guitarist may not be given top billing here, but his performance defies expectations with some deft slide work and effortless jazz-inflected flurries. (MAB)

The Voynich Code – The Last Grain

Garnering increasing profile for their tech-y take on progressive death metal, The Voynich Code have been raising eyebrows well outside of their base in Lisbon, Portugal. Standalone single The Last Grain is packed full of densely knitted, whiplashing riffs and spider-fingered runs that pass in the blink of an eye. (MP)

Robert Jon & The Wreck – West Coast Eyes

Is “This Week’s Best Slide Solo” a thing? Well, if it were, we know who’d get the award – Henry James of Robert Jon & The Wreck, who steals the show on this Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith-produced track with some truly delicious lead work. The tonal assist from JoBo’s Dumble, which James used for the solo, also helped. (MO)

Duff McKagan – Lighthouse

For his new solo album, the Guns N’ Roses bassist recruited a couple of pals you might have heard of – Jerry Cantrell and Slash. On its title track, though, McKagan (with some help from Tim Dijulio) builds up the six-string atmosphere himself – from plaintive acoustic textures at first to an almost My Bloody Valentine-like squall of overdriven electric layers by song’s end. (JM)

Rivers of Nihil – The Sub-Orbital Blues

Now bolstered by the addition of ex-Black Crown Initiate guitarist Andy Thomas – with bassist Adam Biggs tackling lead vocals – The Sub-Orbital Blues marks something of a rebirth for the tech-metal mainstays. Certainly, this is as classically prog as we’ve ever heard the Penn state bruisers, with some gloriously outside note choices and grandstanding vocal harmonies. (MAB)

Des Rocs – Nowhere Kid

There’s a sense that Des Rocs’ has cribbed a few notes on driving, operatic rock songs from former tour mates Muse on Nowhere Kid, but it works. It’s a monster arrangement and opening riff – the term ‘thundering’ barely does it justice. (MP)

Ash – Race the Night

Race the Night is all about those driving progressions that sweep the listener up from the get-go and glide them along a synth-decorated journey to its destination. Notable stops along the way: those chime-y chorus hooks and that twangy guitar breakdown. (MO)

Buffalo Nichols – You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond

It’s certainly not that the blues-guitar-with-21st-century-beats recipe hasn’t been tried before, it’s just that no one’s done it quite as well as Buffalo Nichols on his haunting new song, You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond. The stellar first preview of the Milwaukee bluesman’s upcoming The Fatalist album drives restlessly forward with evocative slide work and ethereal, beautifully executed harmonics. (JM)

Molybaron – Something Ominous

Initially, there’s something of the Gojiras about this new single from the French/Irish metallers, but this is no chug fest: the taut palm-muted exchanges and electronic influences of Something Ominous set Molybaron apart from their countrymen. Major props for that obscenely speedy tapping solo, too. (MAB)

Also on this week’s playlist…

  • Glenn Schwartz – Daughter of Zion (feat. Joe Walsh)
  • Dolly Parton – Bygones (feat. Rob Halford)
  • Mutoid Man – Siren Song
  • Ten Tonnes – Drowning in the Deep End
  • Cassia – High Tones
  • Julia Jacklin – Shivers
  • Deer Tick – If I Try to Leave
  • Horrendous – Cult of Shaad’oah
  • Heavy Lungs – All Gas No Brakes
  • Ten Tonnes – Drowning in the Deep End
  • THICK – Doomer

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.