10 Greatest Rock Music Guitar Solos Of The 1990s

Who was leading the shredding game in one of rock's greatest decades?

Slash November Rain

The 90s was an absolutely glorious time to be a fan of guitar music.

Hair metal and thrash might have been on the way out, but plenty of other genres stepped up to take their places. Britpop, alt rock, stoner rock, nu metal, and more all showed up and all proved that the humble six-string still had a place in this brave new decade.

Whilst there were plenty of iconic riffs and hooks from the decade, what about the times when the guitar was put on centre stage? When they replaced the lead singer as the focal point of the entire band? When the guitarists got to live out their wildest childhood dreams and whip up a gnarly solo?

These ten solos are all great, but in very different ways. Some are perfectly played, whilst others are engineered and produced flawlessly. Some are long, some are short, and some of these songs have multiple great solos, making it even harder to know where they should fall in the countdown.

Warm up your fingers - you'll want to do plenty of air-fretting over the course of this list.

10. Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins

For their second album, 1993’s Siamese Dream, Smashing Pumpkins needed a big song to cement their status as alternative icons. Luckily, they had some help from an “angelic” source.

Cherub Rock (get it?) was the album’s first single and the band’s first to gain any sort of traction on the American charts. It also landed Billy Corgan and co. a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance, thanks in no small part to its incredible solo.

Corgan, who wrote the track, is completely unleashed here, screeching the guitar to within an inch of its life, mixing glam rock bends with a fuzzier tone more befitting of the age of grunge. The solo was actually recorded on two different tapes and then played back with one running slightly faster than the other, which is how the band achieved such a unique sound with minimal studio trickery.

The song itself is a total belter, an uncomplicated out-and-out rocker that still gets crowds going today, and such a song deserves something as straightforwardly brilliant as this solo. The Pumpkins absolutely smashed it with this one.

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Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.