The 11 best guitar solos of all time, as chosen by Santa Cruz

Influenced as they are by the hard-rocking strains of the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue, when Finnish glam-rockers Santa Cruz came to us with the idea of picking their favourite ever guitar solos, we couldn’t think of anyone better placed to compile such a list.

So, below, the 11 (10 was too tough a call, apparently) finest guitar solos of all time, as chosen by frontman Archie and guitarist Johnny. 

Sweet Child O’ Mine - Guns N Roses (Appetite For Destruction, 1987)

Johnny: “There’s not much you can say after you listen this solo. It’s like a piece of art [with] all the melodies and personality of Slash. I remember hearing it [for the] first time on the radio when I was little kid. There are not many guitarists that can imitate Slash’s sound”

Archie: “A great display of melodic writing, as well as raunchy bluesy shredding. That dramatic development throughout the solo, it starts off easy and ends up melting your ears off.”

Voodoo Chile - Jimi Hendrix (Electric Ladyland, 1968)

Archie: “I heard this for the first time as Hulk Hogan’s walk in music on WWE Smackdown. It’s a great example of using wah-wah, and made me fall in love with the pedal.”


Get The Funk Out - Extreme (Pornograffiti, 1990)

Johnny: “This solo grooves like a motherfucker, has great arpeggios and it’s catchy also. This one has influenced me a lot, I particularly remember hearing it for the first time when I bought Pornograffiti.”

Archie: “This is Nuno’s best solo. Plus the string skipping/tapping part is one lick we’ve stolen the most for our solos in Santa Cruz, just gonna put that out there right now…”

Sultans Of Swing - Dire Straits (Dire Straits, 1978)

Archie: “Mark Knopfler’s the man. The way he uses his fingers for tone has influenced me quite a lot. Love the subtle nuances this guy gets out of the guitar. It’s the main reason I had to buy a strat.”

Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne (Blizzard Of Ozz, 1980)

Johnny: “Randy Rhoads is the one who inspired Zakk Wylde the most, and he has influenced me a lot. I remember it took me forever to try and learn this.”


Rude Mood - Stevie Ray Vaughan (Texas Flood, 1983)

Archie: “Cocaine blues extravaganza. Fucking love it. It'll make ya fingers bleed.”



Hate Crew Deathroll by Children Of Bodom (Hate Crew Deathroll, 2003)

Johnny: “Alexi Laiho was one of my biggest idols when I was a teenager, I bought the Hate Crew Deathroll album and I remember this was the sickest solo I’ve ever heard. Again, I tried to learn this solo for forever until I nailed it.”

For The Love Of God - Steve Vai (Passion And Warfare, 1990)

Archie: “You gotta have a bit of Vai here, ‘eh? This one’s the holy grail of Vai pieces. I played this from start to finnish when I graduated from the Finnish music academy.”


Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple (Machine Head, 1972)

Johnny: “This was first solo I ever learned on my acoustic guitar. I played until my fingers bled. I remember hearing this song on a compilation album called Air Guitar Vol.1. This is the song that got me playing guitar.”

Eruption - Van Halen (Van Halen, 1978)

Archie: “I heard this at my friend’s house in fifth grade. His dad owned Van Halen Best Of: Vol 1. It melted my ears off. This is like the universal first ejaculation for all the guitar players out there. At least for me it was…”

Cemetary Gates - Pantera (Cowboys From Hell, 1990)

Archie: “Dimebag’s the perfect combo of a mindless shredder and an old school blues dude. I think he’s more traditional than he gets credit for. Maybe it’s because of the chainsaw sound? Well anyhow he sounds unlike anybody else. This solo proves it.”

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Briony Edwards

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.