In this article, I’ll be dissecting an article published on Ultimate Guitar on 18 of the worst guitar solos of all time. Okay so the article posted there was called 18 worst guitar solos ever recorded but you get the idea. I changed the wording for the title here because this is somewhat of a continuation of an article that I wrote last week for Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat which you can read here.
That article was the same as this, only it was based on an article on the same subject posted by Metro. I found it interesting reading what someone else considered to be the worst guitar solos of all time. I agreed at times during the article, but at other times, I strongly disagreed. Whether the entries in that piece left me confused or nodding in agreement matters not because I had fun analyzing it so why not do a part 2?
Reviewing 18 worst guitar solos of all time at Ultimate Guitar
I began to read this Ultimate Guitar article with considerably more confidence. This appears to be an article created by votes from the UG community. My hope was that this time around, I’ll find myself more in agreement with the entries on the list. Is that the case? Stick around and find out.
I also noticed that this article was, like the article you’re reading now, a continuation. It’s a continuation from a previous Ultimate Guitar list that was similar but apparently also included live versions which is a subject for another day.
With the introduction out of the way, I scrolled quickly down the page as I’m sure many of you have already done and skimmed the entries. I was pleased to find that an entry form the Metro article was also included here. I was pleased because this was an entry that I agreed with. I also found that there was nothing that struck me as silly or confusing which was a nice discovery.
Now, I’ll go through each of the 18 entries and give my thoughts on whether I believe they deserve a spot on a list about the worst guitar solos of all time. I intend to keep my summary on each entry short as there’s more than twice the entries of the previous article.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #18 GG Allin – Bite It You Scum
The guitar solo in Bite It You Scum is described as, and I quote “really really bad” which is about 10 million times better than my writing. Is the solo really really bad? Yes. Yes, it is. I mean, the song isn’t exactly great to begin with. The whole thing sounds like Timmy’s first band rehearsal but the guitar solo here takes things to another level. Surely this isn’t serious?
It’s just crazy bad. There isn’t 1 single redeeming quality about this guitar solo. Even the mix and the tone are horrible. This thing stabs nails through my ears. I read a thing once where prisoners somewhere were tortured by being forced to listen to Rage Against The Machine at extremely high volume levels. Just play this thing on repeat, they’ll tell you everything you wanna know.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #17 The Velvet Underground – Sister Ray
The blurb from the UG article alludes to the length of this track. I normally like to listen to songs in full in order to get proper context but yeah, no. This broken washing machine is a total intolerable mess so I’m skipping through to find the lead guitar.
You ever heard a class full of 6 year olds playing recorders at the same time? Well go listen to that, it’s easier on the ears than this song and its god dam disgusting guitar solos.
Sorry but this song can suck on my ding dong. I can’t take anymore. Please stop.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #16 DragonForce – Body Breakdown
The final solo of Body Breakdown by Dragoneforce was nominated due to how unnecessary and awkward it is. Many don’t like Dragoneforce solos, but I don’t care either way about them in most cases so do I agree with this nomination?
Nope. I’m not going 3 for 3 here. I just can’t see what earns this one it’s spot. It’s barely a guitar solo at all really. More of an outro if anything. I feel that the reasoning summarised in the article is a little bit of a reach. It sounds fine to me. I didn’t find it awkward and as for unnecessary, I’d say that’s more of a critique on the arrangement than the lead guitar.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #15 Dr, Hook – Cover of the Rolling Stone
Now I’d say this one is intended to be…. Like it is. It’s a p*** take for the lack of a better term in my opinion and the same applies to the guitar solo. This is why it DOESN’T deserve a place on the list.
The interesting thing is, there’s no way anybody is listening to that guitar solo and thinking that it was bad by accident. Anyone with a brain knows that it’s not meant to be taken seriously yet it was nominated anyway.
Perhaps people just didn’t find it funny or at all interesting which is fair enough, but I don’t think that this list is the right home for this guitar solo. I get why it was voted, but I disagree.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #14 Pixies – Vamos
I loved the summary in the UG article. “The pixies are just as cool as this solo is terrible”. Or something like that. But yeah seriously, what in the actual hell is this? The lead guitar throughout this entire song is an absolute abortion. Who listens to this and thinks that it sounds good?
General rule of thumb for those learning how to make music. If something makes you want to slice off your own ears, probably don’t release it. Musicians, you know when you’re in a rehearsal room and there’s guys who turn the volume up full and begin to play out of key when you’re trying to hold a conversation? That’s what this reminds me of.
Oh, and by the way, if you never experienced that, you’re one of those guys.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #13 Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker
Next, we have a song with an iconic riff. Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin. The solo is described in the Ultimate Guitar piece as sloppy and you know what? I agree. I actually very much like the lonesome guitar with zero backup approach but this rough around the edges track was let down by the execution of the solo.
I’ve always felt a little bit robbed by this track. It has so much and yet, takes so much away from me at the same time. I both love it and hate it.
Despite the above criticism, I’m fairly sure I included Heartbreaker in my list on 9 of the best Led Zeppelin guitar riffs article. The riff is great after all. But like I said, it was let down.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #12 Fall Out Boy – Beat it
When I initially skimmed the entries on this worst guitar solos of all tie list, Beat It by Fallout Boy was the one that stuck out at me. The reason for this is simply that I haven’t actually heard this cover before and the guitar performance on the original Beat It was Van Halen magnificence. The fallout Boy version also features John Mayor, who knew? I didn’t.
It was Mayor who performed the guitar solo and according to Ultimate Guitar, the performance of the guitar solo isn’t comparable to the original and its “horrendous”.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve not heard this cover until now, so I listened to it all the way through and I have to say, not a big fan of this one. Vocally its fine but instrumentally, it doesn’t work for me and the solo doesn’t help matters.
I’d say horrendous is the ideal word to use. Car crash is fitting too. As is dog turd and embarrassment. This is an abysmal attempt at matching Van Halen. Should have practiced this one a little more first.
I feel so deflated now so a cover of Changes will brighten my day. On second thought, I’ll finish this tomorrow.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #11 Overkill – Changes
Ultimate Guitar state that the Overkill cover of this Black Sabbath track is pretty fine, apart from the solo. I agree with the point that the cover isn’t half bad, but what about the solo? My impressions upon listening to it were wow slow down there buddy.
This clearly isn’t as bad as some of the other material on this worst guitar solos of all time list but it comes across as a bit more hey look at my modes than an attempt at creating good music. This one in my opinion cries out for something more passionate and from the heart but we get something that’s out of place in every way.
One of the worst guitar solos of all time? I wouldn’t go that far to be honest. Just a confusing and not perfectly executed approach to the solo.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #10 The Rolling Stones – Ain’t Too Proud to Beg
Nothing much is said at UG about this one from The Rolling Stones and I don’t know why because it’s quite an easy one to discuss. This guitar solo has the feel of a beginner improvising to me. Its clunky and awkward and it’s a shame because this short solo could have easily been great.
The very last couple of the notes are more akin to what we should have got throughout but everything prior to that was a bit of a mess. This solo is a blemish on an otherwise neat song and a place on this list is more than warranted.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #9 Vinnie Vincent Invasion – Boyz Are Gonna Rock
The Ultimate Guitar article talks about the band itself and how it was formed by former KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent in the 80s but all I’m interested in today is the guitar solo which starts around the 2 and a half minute point of the track.
This is a guitar solo that starts bad and doesn’t get much better. There’s plenty of fast guitar playing but as us guitar fanatics know, that isn’t enough. It’s a solo that sounds like it belongs to a completely different song. It feels like very little thought went into it. Just go play some fast stuff, it’ll be fine.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #8 Beastie Boys – (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)
With this one, I thought it would be easier to quote what I wrote about the guitar solo previously. This was based on an article posted by Metro.
“Okay I get why this is here. This solo is rather clunky and awkward. The writer makes a point that this recording sounds like a band who has had one practice session and I kind of get where he’s coming from. This guitar solo takes me all the way back to when I studied music at college, trying to pull a performance out of guys that had no business being there.
I’d cringe whilst listening to them improvising over some chord progression and at the end I’d say “yeah that was good dude”. My real feelings for what was going on at that time match my feelings toward this guitar solo. MUST DO BETTER.”
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #7 Nirvana – Milk It
Ultimate guitar discuss how Kurt Cobain had a lot of anti-rock mannerisms and that the solo here fits the atonal song 100%. They go on to say that it sounds bad to the unprepared listener.
When I’m listening to a song, I care not about the method of composition. All I care about is whether or not the song sounds good to me and whether or not I enjoy listening to it. The song Milk It has always felt like a mixed bag to me and I’ve never really been able to make my mind up on it.
I’ve always leaned more toward liking the track though. There’s just something that keeps me gripped. Nobody can say this song isn’t interesting. The main vocal melody is great, and the track is very well put together. At times though, it feels outrageous for the sake of it and the guitar solo is the embodiment of that feeling in this one to me at least.
I say a spot on the list is deserved. The sound of the solo was intentional, but it just doesn’t come across in the right way to me.
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #6 Slayer – Raining Blood
18 of the worst guitar solos of all time #6 Slayer – Raining Blood
That really alarming abrupt end didn’t come soon enough for me. The best word to describe the guitar solo in Raining Blood is annoying. It’s like walking into a rehearsal room where every member of the band is “warming up” at the same time, loudly. All you want to tell them is that the fire alarm is going off, but you just can’t get them to shut up for 1 second.
I’m writing this with an insane headache so going back and giving this solo any sort of deep analysis is out of the question. It hurts my brain too much. This is more of a noise bombardment than a guitar solo. When listening to it, all I can think is OMG STFU.
#5 MAGIC – Rude
This is a solo described by Ultimate Guitar as strange and I can certainly see where that feedback comes from. The middle part of the extremely short guitar solo really lets this down. The fuzzy wah tone is a matter of taste but this one goes off the rails fairly quick and could have been so much better.
There are good parts to this, but they’re let down by the bad and the bad in my view is just 2 bars. Are 2 bars enough to ruin something? Yes. In this instance, they’re a blemish on an otherwise fine solo.
#4 Metallica – ManUNkind
At least UG named a Metallica song in their list..
I forgot how long this song was. I got to the solo eventually and yeah, I see why this is on the list. I’m really not sure what they’re trying to say with this solo. It sounds out in places and it feels like zero thought was given to it which is depressing.
I don’t know if I quite understand the UG comment of an abrupt start though. I’d say more of an ear offending start which doesn’t go away until the solo concludes. Lots of licks, none of which work until the final moments.
#3 Korn – Haze
This annoyed me even before I started listening to the song. I couldn’t find it on Spotify. I kind of wish the YouTube link on Ultimate Guitar didn’t work either so I could skip it completely. Seriously, what in the hell was that meant to be? I may just be suffering from writing fatigue at this point, but I just don’t have the will to try and justify this.
There’s no way that anyone thought this sounded good at the time of recording. This leads me to believe that they were doing something specific with this but if that’s the case, it didn’t work because this sounds horrible to me.
Let’s look at the Google definition of “in a haze”.
Not fully aware or alert; having one’s attention clouded with something.
The sound of this solo was surely intended to be what it was but at the end of the day, it’s a song. I want it to sound good. This guitar solo didn’t sound good. Simple as that.
#2 Kabat – Burlaci
Back to Spotify for this next entry but away to the Czech Republic. I agree with the comments on UG on this one. The song sounds good, but what about the guitar solo? Is it “weird”?
Yes. Yes, it is. I mean, they could be singing about how they love very abstract guitar solos for all I know but then I’d still have to criticise it because abstract is a little kind.
It’s not offensive like some of the other material I’ve been subjected to over the last couple of writing sessions but let’s put it this way, If this sound came from the vocal tracks, we’d be mocking it on a Mojo list.
The thing that bugged me the most with this one is that the rest of the track was so good. This solo just didn’t live up to my expectation that the band had created in track prior.
#1 Birdman & Lil Wayne – Leather So Soft
Apparently, this one is so bad that it should be at the top spot in every list of this kind. Can’t say I’ve ever heard it to be honest. I found it on Spotify, but that version seemed to be different to the music video posted on UG which featured a prominent guitar solo at the end which surely has to be some sort of joke right?
Who the hell told this guy that this guitar solo sounded good? Give the guitar to my 4 year old and she would have pulled something off better than this just from watching me play over the years.
In fact, better yet, I’d leave it out completely. This song doesn’t even need a god dam guitar solo. What’s this guy trying to prove?
Ultimate Guitar is right, this definitely deserves top spot on any worst guitar solos of all time list. I mentioned that this was the first time I was hearing this solo and track. I can proudly say that god willing, this will be the last time I hear it too.
Well there was some interesting stuff in there right? I found myself in agreement with a lot more of this worst guitar solos list than the previous one I looked at. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking at these lists over the last few days, but I’d be lying if I said I was disappointed that I’ve reached the end. Some of these guitar solos were painful and I never want to hear them again.
Overall, I’d say the Ultimate Guitar worst recorded guitar solos (or whatever it was called) list was a good one. It certainly introduced me to some crappy solos that I wasn’t aware of.
A part 3 on this topic will not be coming any time soon though. I don’t think writing a list has ever given me a migraine and I still have to proofread and upload the thing yet. Perhaps I’ll skip the proofreading. The guitarists that performed some of these solos didn’t put in the effort, so I think I’ll use that as an excuse and do the same.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.