Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In addition to their roles of rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment, guitars are well-suited to performing solo lines. This can take the form of a prominent section where the guitar is heard over other instruments, or unaccompanied, the guitarist providing all the necessary melody and harmony themselves. While the canonical guitar solo is a virtuosic performance in the rock music idiom with a heavily-overdriven electric guitar, solo instrumentation for the guitar can be found in a wide variety of musical styles and eras.
Many famous guitarists are known for their solo work, and, like any instrumentalist, approaches to solo creation vary from the jagged/atonal approach of Andy Gill from Gang of Four and Andy Partridge from XTC, the studio-produced soundscapes of Jimi Hendrix or Bill Nelson, or the composed approach of Frank Zappa.
The use of the guitar solo in popular music was especially notable during the 1980s, where a flashy and attention-grabbing instrumental was virtually obligatory for a guitar-based band. It became viewed as something of an "80s cliché", and its usage declined; guitar solos in pop have subsequently become much rarer, and more subdued and understated when used.
Notable rock-guitar soloists
- Eric Clapton
- Jimi Hendrix
- Eddie Van Halen
- Frank Zappa
- Steve Vai
- Joe Satriani
- Yngwie Malmsteen
- Jimmy Page
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