The 10 Hardest Guitar Solos to Learn (In our humble opinion :)

The greatest guitar solos are able to strike a balance between melodic phrasing, interesting rhythms and pure chops, and the solos we’ve picked today have all these qualities. The ten solos below are amongst the hardest to play that we’ve seen across several genres and decades, narrowed down and consolidated into a single list for you to enjoy (but not in the order of difficulty - that can vary based on your stylistic inclinations). Be prepared if you’re planning on learning any of these: extreme difficulty ahead!


1. Eruption by Van Halen (Guitarist - Eddie Van Halen)

Let’s start off with one of the most iconic guitarists to ever grace the genre of rock, and one of his solos in particular that is still seen as the benchmark for any guitarists in the genre. Eruption is well known for its reputation of having laid the foundation for a technique called ‘tapping’ to become more and more popular. Fun fact if you’ve read our blog post about amps: Van Halen used a 1968 Marshall 1959 Super Lead tube amp to achieve this legendary tone!


Listen here: Eruption (2015 Remaster)



2. Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega (Guitarist - Francisco Tárrega)

This isn’t technically a guitar solo, but is still considered one of the hardest pieces any classical guitarist could learn. One of its standout features is the use of tremolo—a technique in which the guitarist plays a bass note with their thumb followed by three higher pitched notes. When played in quick succession, this creates a fantastic effect, and in Recuerdos, adds a beautiful complexity.


Watch a cover of the song here: Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega


3. Billy’s Bounce by Charlie Parker (Guitarist - George Benson)

Next up, we have this incredible solo by one of the greatest ever jazz guitarists, George Benson. On this track, originally composed by Charlie Parker, he exhibits his genius by incorporating ideas from blues and bebop phrases into his playing. Listen to this almost ethereal solo as he floats between melodically and rhythmically complex phrases and liquid lines - it’s a trip!


Listen here: Billie's Bounce (Bonus Track)


4. Electric Sunrise by Plini (Guitarist - Plini)

We’ve now come to one of the more modern guitarists on this list, and someone who Steve Vai himself called "the future of exceptional guitar playing". Plini, prog rock and metal virtuoso, serves up an extremely tasty solo on his song Electric Sunrise. Much of the difficulty on this song comes from achieving the same textures and tones that he uses, and staying on time while also executing tough lines and phrasing.


Check it out here: Plini - "Electric Sunrise" (2016)


5. Fives by Guthrie Govan (Guitarist - Guthrie Govan)

Another modern miracle-worker, Guthrie Govan has been regarded as one of the best in the business for a while now. His playing is an amalgamation of many different styles, genres and influences, and nowhere is this more apparent than his solo on Fives. Even amongst all the different techniques on show, Govan still manages to serve the song as tastefully as anyone else you’ll see.


Watch the Fives solo here: Guthrie Govan - Fives from "Erotic Cakes" at JTCGuitar.com