A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World magazine 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” (Number 100) and builds to a truly epic finish with Jimmy Page's solo on "Stairway to Heaven" (Number 1).
To quote our "Stairway" story that ran with the list, "If Jimmy Page is the Steven Spielberg of guitarists, then 'Stairway' is his Close Encounters."
We've kicked off a summer blockbuster of our own — a no-holds-barred six-string shootout. We're pitting Guitar World's top 64 guitar solos against each other in an NCAA-style, 64-team single-elimination tournament. Every day, we will ask you to cast your vote in a different guitar-solo matchup as dictated by the 64-team-style bracket.
Note that you can vote only once per matchup. The voting for each matchup ends as soon as the next matchup is posted (Basically, that's one poll per day during the first round of elimination, including weekends and holidays).
In some cases, genre will clash against genre; a thrash solo might compete against a Southern rock solo, for instance. But let's get real: 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 Which one kicks a larger, more impressive assemblage of asses?"
Today's matchup pits David Gilmour's work on Pink Floyd's "Time" (21) against Pearl Jam's "Alive" (44), featuring the fretwork of Mike McCready. Get busy! You'll find the poll at the bottom of the story.
Winner: "Whole Lotta Love" (53.91 percent)
Loser: "Pride and Joy" (46.09 percent)
Round 1, Day 6: "Time" Vs. "Alive"
Soloist: David Gilmour
Album: Pink Floyd—The Dark Side of the Moon (Columbia, 1973)
“Working with Pink Floyd is an engineer’s dream, so I tried to take advantage of the situation,” says studio wizard Alan Parsons. “Dark Side of the Moon came at a crucial stage in my career, so I was highly motivated.” Parsons’ attention to detail obviously paid off: He won a Grammy award for the best engineered album of 1973, and DSOTM went on to ride the charts for a record-breaking 14 years.
But while Parsons takes credit for many of Moon’s sonic innovations, he says the massive guitar sound on the album can be attributed to only one man: David Gilmour. “David was very much in control of his sound system,” says Parsons. “We rarely added effects to his guitar in the control room. Generally speaking, the sound on the album is pretty much what came out of his amp. As I recall, he used a Hiwatt stack, a Fuzz Face and an Italian-made delay unit called a Binson Echorec.”
Gilmour confirms: “For most of my solos, I usually use a fuzz box, a delay and a bright eq setting. But to get that kind of singing sustain, you really need to play loud—at or near the feedback threshold.”
SORRY, THE STUDIO VERSION OF "TIME" IS NOT AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE!
Soloist: Mike McCready
Album: Pearl Jam—Ten (Epic, 1991)
“Basically, I copied Ace Frehley’s solo from ‘She,’ ” says Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. “Which, of course, was copied from Robby Krieger’s solo in the Doors’ ‘Five to One.’ ”