The Evolution of the Rock Guitar Solo: 28 Solos, Spanning 50 Years, Played in 6 Fun Minutes

In this fun new video from CDZA, guitarist Mark Sidney Johnson takes us on an entertaining romp through more than fifty years of the rock guitar solo, from Chuck Berry to John Mayer.

Along the way Johnson rips through a succession of famous riffs and solos by Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen, Slash . . . and those are only a few from the first half of the video.

Johnson is an English multi-instrumentalist and songwriter based in New York. He works regularly as a session guitarist and plays with The Brit Pack as well as the experimental music video group CDZA, short for Collective Cadenza. For more examples of their offbeat and innovative work, visit the CDZA Web site.

via That Eric Alper

Related Content:

Eric Clapton’s Isolated Guitar Track From the Classic Beatles Song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (1968)

Guitar Stories: Mark Knopfler on the Six Guitars That Shaped His Career

The Story of the Guitar: The Complete Three-Part Documentary

Here Comes The Sun: The Lost Guitar Solo by George Harrison

A History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in 100 Riffs



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  1. Mark Pompeo says . . . | September 25, 2013 / 1:48 pm

    Cool video.

  2. anon! says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 6:19 am

    how do you write something about guitar solos and not include jerry garcia or trey anastasio….fail

  3. MUSICALIVES! says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 6:20 am

    umm…ever hear of Umphrey’s McGee?? check them out, and then let’s talk about John Mayer bringing back the guitar solos.

  4. Jon S says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 7:20 am

    Interesting but hardly original. The great master of the telecaster, Bill Kirchen has been doing a retrospective of this kind in his song Hot rod Lincoln for yearsnhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsLdufJePz0

  5. TruthNHonesty says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 7:23 am

    John Lennon did NOT play the solo on Ticket To Ride, and your history is WAY too heavily biased towards the current generation. You missed so many WONDERFUL solos played long before Curt (“I’m depressed”) Cobain was a twinkle in his daddy’s eye.

  6. Pedro Gaspar says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 8:05 am

    I made this tinycassette playlist that will walk you through the journey: http://tinycassette.com/journey-of-the-guitar-solo

  7. Jextified says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 8:29 am

    YOU FORGOT THE BLACK KEYS!

  8. Jextified says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 8:29 am

    but other than that it was an amazing vid!

  9. Pedro Gaspar says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 8:40 am

    It’s there (5:13).

  10. Thomas says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 9:28 am

    No David Gilmour? He probably has one of the most famous guitar solos of all-time in “Comfortably Numb”. Not to mention the other amazing work he’s done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaoH25TaM-c

  11. Jextified says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 9:47 am

    I apologize and humbly bow down for missing that like a noob. Great vid!

  12. guest says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 11:41 am

    fact man has the best solo

  13. Margaret Rose STRINGER says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 12:49 pm

    Agreed re current stuff. I lost interest after Santana, to be honest.

  14. Michael Musgrove says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 1:27 pm

    Technically most of those are hooks, not solos. But very cool still.

  15. Jay says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 1:33 pm

    no dotted eighth delay ala U2?

  16. P L Adkins says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 4:56 pm

    Mike McCready of Pearl Jam had several great solo’s in the 90′s and today.

  17. GrillSgt says . . . | September 26, 2013 / 10:32 pm

    Should have used Eruption instead of Eddie’s Beat It solo.

  18. Artxuleta says . . . | October 3, 2013 / 3:08 pm
  19. Deb says . . . | October 7, 2013 / 12:05 am

    No Neil Young ??????!!What is the matter with you?

  20. Ivana says . . . | November 14, 2013 / 8:19 am
  21. Violet Deliriums says . . . | December 6, 2013 / 9:52 am

    I like it overall, but I have a problem with the coverage of the 1990s. First of all, he uses a song that has a guitar solo (Nirvana, “In Bloom,” 1991) to talk about how guitar solos went away. Then he says that the guitar solo came back in a new way in the late 1990s, using Tom Morello’s solo in Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” as one of the examples. The problem is that this song did not come out in the late 1990s, but instead in 1992. In short, what this guy did was not careful and instead of telling the story as it happened, he recreates the guitar community’s myth that the 1990s were a Dark Age for guitar using examples that don’t work to “prove” his point.

  22. Violet Deliriums says . . . | December 6, 2013 / 9:54 am

    I agree, but maybe he didn’t want to spend the time to learn a little bit of it.

  23. Violet Deliriums says . . . | December 6, 2013 / 9:54 am

    In general, this guy simply recreates the myth of the 1990s as a Dark Age for rock guitar (as constructed by the guitar community) without careful thought or critique.

  24. Ramón says . . . | January 10, 2014 / 10:52 am

    Excellent! I would love to be able to play that diversity of styles. Eddie Van Halen’s solo did not sound good, but who can dunk it from the foul line? Also, I would have included Yngwie Malmsteen, but I understand that almost no one can play that. In spite of all that, you created an great educational tool. Thanks!

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