Favorite - ultra ultra short - guitar solos

I just thought of this topic when I ran into, once again, my guilty-pleasure fond guitar solo:

Shake it up, by The Cars. Elliot Easton.

I’m really not very enamored of the The Cars, and would cringe a little when they came on the radio back when they were popular and the radio was on at work. But I always pricked up my ears at Shake it Up. Right in the middle of this average, whatever, let’s-dance pop tune is a little magic box of awesome. Elliot Easton jams in a solo that clocks in at a whole 27 seconds, and it is just a perfect little thing. It starts totally unassuming, then hits some damned nice hot spots, sizzling through what it’s trying to say, and punching it out just perfectly. Then… boom! - gone with the wind. I’ve always loved this little solo, especially because of the average tune it’s inside of, and especially it’s breathless brevity.

What else fits this category?

ETA: I should probably add that my fascination with Shake it Up’s solo is that it sounds so poppy and it also seems damned technical to play. The contrast with the song it’s in is quite sharp, and I find that delicious.

My favourite guitar solos come from Gabriela y Rodrigo. I’m just mesmerized listening and watching their various guitar songs.


You want 27 seconds of genius? Well, okay, it’s more like 28 seconds, but Frank Zappa wasn’t known for brevity in his solos. Still, his gorgeous two-part soloette (eight bars in unison with the flute followed by a mere four bars of straight solo) starting at 1:05 in Peaches En Regalia is a real jewel.

If you really want ultra ultra short solos, I think the two in Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” are pretty great, especially the first one clocking in at 8 seconds. The solo in the Beatles’ “Taxman” gets the point across in about 13 seconds. If we’re allowed solos that around as long as 27 seconds or so, then I’ll offer up Television’s “Venus” solo at 28 seconds. Just a beautiful, perfect solo.

Or how about the 14 seconds of brilliance in “Kid” by the Pretenders.

First one that popped into my head was ‘‘Comatose’’ by Pearl Jam.

Typical sort of tantrum song, until 1:34, when the solo steals the show.

Excellent example - Perry has a couple of really awesome, really damned brief solos in that song. Point to pulykamell!!

Good example. Way brief, but acquitted well.

George Harrison’s gem in the Beatles’ Till There Was You (1:10-1:25)

Hi, everyone, 1st time poster here.

Hi, everyone, 1st time poster here.

That’s a good one! Elliot Easton amazes me with his solo structures.

Took me a good while and a lot of work to figure out this one. Worth it!

Thanks for this! I’ve never heard this before, and it’s my new favorite song.

Oh, then you need to listen to this whole album, Marquee Moon. It’s a classic. The title track has a long, melodic, post-punk kind of guitar solo that many consider one of the best guitar solos of all time. It may take a couple listens to fully appreciate it, as it’s not particularly flashy and doesn’t have that fluid, bluesy phrasing one is used to in the typical guitar solo.

The Cars solo cited in the OP runs about 25 seconds, so that works. I guess we should define “short” as being less than 30 seconds?

(Is that short for a guitar solo? The “Stairway to Heaven” solo clocks in at :30… (well, if you count from the start and stop with Plant starts singing again))

The Police Driven to Tears. Andy Summers delivers (starting at 1:41) 12 seconds of irritation just right for the song. Controlled and angry, just like the song.

Really, though, that was The Police’s thing. Summers is a brilliant guitarist working within a very controlled structure in that band. On the interviews in the Police complete set there’s a bit where Stewart Copeland (I think) says something like, “And Andy was brilliant and would come up with these marvelous solos and then we’d only give him eight bars and he’d have to cut it down.”

I personally don’t consider 30 seconds short. That’s pretty much an average guitar solo in a pop song (maybe even slightly long. Just out of curiosity, I checked the solos in “Welcome to the Jungle.” The first is about 15 seconds. Even the second solo after the bridge–depending on where you start counting–is only a bit over 35 seconds.) I guess it’s as opposed to extended solos in the likes of jam bands and things like that.

His solo on “Here She Comes Again” is a masterful little bit of country music poppery.

This is a fantastic guitar album. I spent a lot of time trying to learn it…the problem, of course, is that there are two guitars, which is double the work. :slight_smile:

The interplay between all the instruments on that album is spectacular. Everyone talks about the intertwining lines of Verlane’s and Lloyd’s guitars, but the bass and drum work is quite tasty, too. I love Billy Ficca’s musicality in his drum lines. The way the drums build and the rhythmic variations he throws in during the long solo in “Marquee Moon” really help make that solo to be as great as it is.

I always viewed Van Halen’s guitar solos as the gold standard, myself. Prime exmaple: Jump