Are Guitar Solos Outdated in Rock Music?


Are guitar solos outdated? Redundant; things of the past and unnecessary in the context of the current rock music scene? Like how it was back then in the early 90s, during the rise of alternative rock music or the anti-guitar hero insurgence?

I am sure opinions would vary. In my opinion however, guitar solos do add value especially in rock music. As we all know, guitars is the driving force in rock n roll; it is the voice which had revolutionized the genre since the early days. If you do love guitars, loud guitars and lots of them then, most likely you are a hell of a rock fan too. The primary reason I love rock is because of how the guitars are being played; the aggressiveness, the distorted heavy chugging and of course the searing solos. They made the music special, different and compelling. It completes the recipe.

Okay, my opinion could be a biased one as I am a lead guitar player myself and I live for guitar solos – live for that moments. I don’t really care if a record sucks as long as the guitar solos are awesome, I would still buy that (haha). Preference aside, guitar solos are not making their way out in rock as they are still – and will always be relevant.

As a huge fan of the 80s rock music movement, the guitars played a very important part; the loud, wild, proficient and guitar flamboyance were essential tools for Rock N Roll success. Great names like Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman to just name some, have made their mark and achieved great success as guitar players; lead guitar players. They have made guitar playing like a religion and owing to that, we have seen legions of new aspiring guitarists followed the footsteps of these ‘guitar gods’. This further contributes to the longevity of the art until to this very day.

And yes, almost 50 years have passed us by, those great names are still making records and touring extensively today. What does it mean people? They are still relevant today, right? People still buy their records, go to their shows and follow their artistic progress. Outdated? Hell no!

Hmm.. let me recall an example. Let’s backtrack a little bit to an album from a metal band whom we all love. Remember Metallica’s St. Anger? It is a great album despite being the target of some criticisms.

Glad to have the solos back Kirk!

One of the issues was that there were no guitar solos on that album. It was a confused direction which the band have taken. How can a Metallica album, without any guitar solos, what the heck happened there surely? It was a real let down in my opinion as I am always looking forward to get inspired by a Kirk Hammett since high school. Kirk Hammett might not be a guitar professor but, his guitar solos are like icing on the cake for Metallica’s materials. Fortunately, they got back on track and on the next following album Death Magnetic, the solos were restored much to the delight of the Metallica and Kirk, or guitar fans everywhere. Outdated? Definitely not.

Say, can you imagine if Dave Mustaine announces that the next Megadeth album would not feature any guitar solos? We are talking about a band that has a super-power guitar hero here by the name of Kiko Loureiro (at the time this post was written) and to not have guitar solos from that dude it’s suicidal, right? But anyway, we all know Mustaine is an astute rocker, he wouldn’t let that happen. He knows guitar solos are never outdated, ever!

There are  also e.g. jazz, funk, blues, soul with guitar being the leading instrument, not just in the rock genre. I cannot imagine listening to any of Eric Johnson’s music for example without a guitar solo to kick my butt into the state of nirvana.

Surely there are other opinions that suggest otherwise but, I think it is not fair to leave out guitar solos just for the sake of being different. I vote to leave the guitar solos in the mix and don’t press that mute button. Guitar fans, I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Cheers \m/


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