Essential Solos for the Beginning Guitar Improviser

Teaching guitar students how to improvise over chord progressions means working on scales, arpeggios, licks and patterns in the teaching and practice room.

While working out the fundamentals such as these techniques can be effective and essential learning for any guitarist wanting to build their solo chops, sometimes the best way to build your soloing vocabulary is to learn and study a classic rock guitar solo in your teaching and studying.

To help give you some inspiration as to which solos to study when teaching beginning guitar soloists, we asked our readers to give us their favourite guitar solos that they use to teach guitarists just starting to learn how to solo.

If you are interested in learning more about rock guitar, from a teaching or studying perspective, check out the RGT Rock Guitar Exam Books, which will teach you how to play rhythm and lead rock guitar in a fun and effective manner.

So, here it is, the 10 solos as suggested by our readers for the beginning improviser.


  1. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
  2. Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzy
  3. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
  4. Holiday – Green Day
  5. Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  6. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (First Solo) – Guns ‘n’ Roses
  7. Mother – Pink Floyd
  8. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
  9. Day Tripper – The Beatles
  10. 10. I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett


There you have it, the ten solos that were listed by our readers as essential learning for any guitarist who is just beginning to explore soloing on the instrument.


Do you have a solo that you would add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

4 thoughts on “Essential Solos for the Beginning Guitar Improviser

  1. Great list, I will use a few for sure. I would add:

    Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower (intro solo)
    Santana – Smooth
    Audioslave – Show Me How To Live – its a one note guitar solo but it shows what you can do with effects and highlights the fact you don’t need lots of notes to make a guitar solo sound great!

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