The results of our 'Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time' online pole are in! In our latest issue we take a close look at all 50 of these stone-cold classics to find out what makes those lead breaks so great through conversations with Brian May, Kirk Hammett, Michael Schenker and others.
What constitutes a great solo is, of course, a thorny issue full of debate. Every solo is different and in many ways virtually incomparable to the next one. Still, opinion ebbs and flows and we were interested to hear what you the readers had to say.
Top of the pole stands David Gilmour’s “Comfortably Numb” solos, and that’s not a huge surprise. The question is, which of the song’s solos qualifies for inclusion? The fact that Gilmour came up with both on the same track is simply inspired.
In this clip from Gilmour’s Live at Pompeii recorded in 2016, the Pink Floyd guitarist wrings every inch of expression from his Black Strat. A good solo can have great tone, rhythms, melody or expression, but only a work of rare brilliance features them all to this degree.
Gilmour recorded the solos on “Comfortably Numb” (from Pink Floyd’s 1979 The Wall album) using his now legendary late ‘60s Fender Stratocaster aka the Black Strat. He continuously modified this electric guitar over the years and it is believed a DiMarzio FS-1 bridge pickup was installed at the time of the recording.
Combined with an Electro-Harmonix Ram’s Head Big Muff fuzz, a little goose from an MXR Dyna Comp, and the formidable Hiwatt DR103 amplifier Gilmour had so much sustain he could hold the notes as long as he wanted.
If you like the look of this iconic electric guitar then check out this special offer over at Guitar Center where you can instantly save $100 on this limited-edition maple neck black Fender Stratocaster.
Fender Strat in Ltd. Ed. Black:
$799.99, Now $699.99
Guitar Center have stripped $100 off the price of this Fender Stratocaster in a limited-edition Black finish. Reminiscent of David Gilmour’s famous Black Strat as used to play the solos on Comfortably Numb this Strat features all the essential specs including a solid alder body and 25.5” scale bolt-on maple neck, along with 3 Fender Player Series Stratocaster single-coil pickups and a 5-way selector switch.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.