Everyone who picks up a guitar with dreams in their eyes is always itching to solo. Whenever you think of the great guitar heroes of the past, it’s always normally in that spotlight, running through different guitar scales until their six string is practically crying out in pain. When it comes to the greatest guitar players in the world, some of them don’t even need to solo for you to hear what they’re saying.
For all of the great songs that each of these guitarists have been involved with over the years, there’s a good chance that you will never hear a solo out of any of them. From the moment they picked up their instrument, each of these guys have approached the guitar more as a device to tell a story, laying down the groove from the back and serving the song in just the right way. Even though rhythm guitarists are normally reserved for the less talented members of the band, they actually have a lot more power than you realize, adding to the push and pull dynamic of the music and playing little licks in between everything to make the song work.
Since they don’t solo though, some of the greatest strengths of these guys was thinking outside the box and making innovations that no one had heard before. You can call it easy if you wanted to, but playing songs the exact same way that these musicians do is borderline impossible to match.
10. Izzy Stradlin - Guns N Roses
During the era of glamorous rock stars strutting their stuff across the Sunset Strip, Guns N Roses were something much different. Those were the pretty boys of California, and GNR carried themselves like a street gang, always looking out for each other while behaving like a pack of dogs whenever they tore it up onstage. Every band needs their mellow side though, and Izzy Stradlin was practically the peacekeeper during the prime era of Guns.
While Slash may be the most reserved and quiet out of the main members of Guns, Izzy may have been the quiet genius behind it all, being involved in some of the greatest songs the band ever made like Patience and Think About You. Always hiding in the background, his different fills playing off of Slash were a lot more common of someone like Ronnie Wood out of the Rolling Stones, having just the right simple lick to tie things together like the little lick that comes at the very beginning of Welcome to the Jungle before Axl Rose makes his real entrance.
Once things got out of control during the Use Your Illusion era, almost half of the band has said that Izzy leaving was the moment where nothing was going to be the same, with Gilby Clarke doing his job phenomenally well but not having the same type of dynamic that Slash had with Izzy in the early days. There were already millions of guitar players up and down Sunset that wanted to be the next Eddie Van Halen, but Izzy was the one guy who wasn't afraid to follow in Joe Perry's footsteps either.