When you’re starting out learning the guitar, lead work can sometimes seem overwhelming. Riffs? Fine. Chord progressions? Manageable. But a bona fide guitar solo? That’s something else entirely.
It doesn’t have to be though. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple, yet great sounding solos out there that even the most beginner of beginner guitarists can master. These will challenge you without being completely taxing, and after a bit of practice, you’ll get the satisfaction of being able to bust out an honest-to-goodness solo with confidence and panache.
So, make sure your guitar is tuned up and ready to go (always keep that Roadie 2 handy folks, you never know when you’ll need it!), it’s time to dive in with a solo from a true guitar legend.
Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
Many would argue that Eric Clapton is the best lead guitarist of all time. As a result, beginners tend to think of his guitar solos as being largely unattainable.
Not this one though!
The solo from Clapton’s 1977 classic “Wonderful Tonight” is surprisingly straightforward, and easy to learn even for those who are relatively new to guitar playing.
The great thing about this one is that it’s instantly recognizable and a great way to impress friends and family.
Wonderful Tonight Tab
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Sprit
For Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, less was definitely more. The guitarist had an uncanny knack for coming up with simple, yet instantly memorable hooks.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a great example of this in effect. The song’s guitar solo essentially takes the vocal melody, plays around with the phrasing a bit (if you want to know more about phrasing and how it can enhance your lead playing, check out our article on the subject) and creates something awesome in the process.
You’ll master this one in minutes, and then probably play it for hours – it’s an uncomplicated, yet incredibly satisfying solo.
Smells Like Teen Spirit Tab
Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix
So this one is a bit more challenging than the other two, but it’s by no means difficult either. Perhaps the most accessible bit of lead work from the legendary Mr. Hendrix, you’re in serious “impress your friends” territory with the “Hey Joe” solo.
Based largely around box one of the e minor pentatonic scale, it’s not too out there for those with a little bit of guitar playing know-how under their belt, and is great for working on your bends and vibrato to boot.
Hey Joe Tab
Are there any simple, but effective Simple Guitar Solos out there that you love to play?
And what do you think is the hardest thing for newbie lead guitarists to master?
Share your thoughts in the comments section folks!