The Top 10 Electric Guitar Solos in Country Music

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As the twang of country music has evolved over the years, so has its iconic electric guitar solos. From the early days of Hank Williams Sr. to modern-day superstars like Brad Paisley, the genre has seen its fair share of legendary guitar moments. It’s hard to narrow down the top ten, but we’ve done our best to compile a list of unforgettable solos that have become ingrained in the fabric of country music history. So grab your cowboy hat and saddle up for a journey through ten of the most iconic electric guitar solos in country music history.

Hank Williams Sr.

Hank Williams Sr.
It’s impossible to talk about the history of country music without mentioning the legendary Hank Williams Sr. His music has left an indelible mark on the genre, and his guitar solos are some of the most iconic in country music history. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at two of his most beloved tracks and the electrifying guitar work that made them unforgettable. If you want to learn more about the evolution of electric guitar in country music, check out our article here.

“Hey, Good Lookin'”

One of Hank Williams Sr.’s most iconic electric guitar solos in country music history can be heard in the song “Hey, Good Lookin’.” Released in 1951, the song quickly became a hit, reaching number one on the Billboard country chart. The song’s electrifying guitar solo perfectly complements the upbeat, catchy melody and the playful lyrics.

The solo, played by Hank Garland, is a prime example of the influence of rock and roll on country music at the time. It features rapid-fire, pentatonic licks that show off Garland’s impressive technical skills. The use of the electric guitar in country music was still in its early stages at the time and this solo helped to establish the instrument as a vital component of country music.

The solo’s use of the pentatonic scale, a staple of rock and roll, also helped to bridge the gap between the two genres. It influenced many future country guitarists, including some of the female guitarists who have since made a name for themselves in country music.

Overall, “Hey, Good Lookin’” is a prime example of how the electric guitar helped to shape and evolve country music. You can hear echoes of this solo in the work of many contemporary country guitarists who continue to push the boundaries of the instrument in their own unique ways.

If you’re interested in learning more about the different styles and techniques of electric guitar in country music, check out this article on unique electric guitar styles in country music. Alternatively, if you’re curious about some of the most famous electric guitar players in country music history, be sure to read our article on the top 10 famous electric guitar players in country music.

“Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”

One of the most iconic electric guitar solos in country music history is in “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” by Hank Williams Sr. This Cajun melody is a classic country song with a lively rhythm that tells the story of a man who longs for the Louisiana bayou.

The guitar solo in “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” is a relatively simple yet catchy tune that complements the melody of the song perfectly. The solo features a memorable riff that is played with a clean guitar tone, using a combination of fingerpicking and strumming techniques.

The solo starts with a simple descending line that leads into a series of catchy riffs played in the upper range of the guitar. The solo then descends into a lower register, where the guitarist plays a few more riffs before ending the solo with a trill and a few quick strums.

The solo in “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” is a great example of how an electric guitar can add flavor and color to a classic country melody. Hank Williams Sr.’s guitar work on this song has influenced countless country guitarists over the years, making it a must-learn solo for anyone who wants to master the art of country guitar playing.

If you want to learn more about electric guitar styles in country music, you can check out our article on the Rock and Roll Influence on Electric Guitar in Country Music. Or, if you’re interested in exploring the use of pedal effects in country guitar playing, you can read our article on The Best Pedal Effects for Country Music.

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins
When it comes to country music, few names are as revered as Chet Atkins. Known as “Mr. Guitar,” Atkins was a true pioneer of the instrument and helped popularize the fingerpicking style that has become iconic in country music. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973 and his legacy continues to influence guitarists around the world today. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at two of his most iconic electric guitar solos. But first, if you’re interested in learning more about electric guitar in country music, check out our article on Electric Country Guitar Styles and Changes.

“Orange Blossom Special”

“Orange Blossom Special” is an instrumental standard in the country music genre, known for its fast tempo and exciting fiddle and guitar solos. The song was first recorded by Ervin Rouse in 1938 and has since been covered by various artists throughout the years. However, it was Chet Atkins’ electrifying rendition of the song that has made it an iconic electric guitar solo in country music history.

Atkins’ version of “Orange Blossom Special,” which appeared on his 1965 album of the same name, showcases his unparalleled guitar skills. With lightning-fast picking and intricate fingerstyle techniques, Atkins brings the song to life, making it an unforgettable listening experience. The song features a catchy melody played on the guitar, while the fiddle weaves in and out, creating a dynamic interplay between the instruments.

One of the most impressive aspects of Atkins’ performance is his impeccable timing. He is able to seamlessly switch from playing lead to rhythm, allowing the other instruments in the band to shine during their solos. This highlights his mastery of not just the guitar, but also his understanding of how to create a great musical arrangement.

Atkins’ creative use of guitar effects, such as the “tremolo” and “vibrato,” adds a unique flavor to the song. When he plays the solo, he uses the tremolo to create a pulsating effect that emphasizes certain notes, while the vibrato adds depth and character to his sustained notes.

Chet Atkins’ version of “Orange Blossom Special” is a testament to his immense talent as a guitarist and an arranger. His electrifying performance on this song has earned him a place in the pantheon of country music greats. This is a must-listen tune for anyone who appreciates the beauty of guitar solos.

Fun fact: Did you know that female guitarists have also made their mark in country music history? Check out our article on 5 Female Guitarists Who Shaped Country Music to learn more about these iconic musicians.

“Yakety Axe”

One of Chet Atkins’ most well-known and shred-tastic electric guitar solos is the instrumental track “Yakety Axe.” Released in 1965, “Yakety Axe” features Atkins’ signature fingerpicking style accompanied by honky-tonk piano and lively percussion.

Atkins’ use of speedy licks and intricate melodies make “Yakety Axe” a true standout in country music history. For those trying to learn the solo, it can be quite the challenge to keep up with Atkins’ lightning-fast playing.

Here’s a breakdown of some key elements of the “Yakety Axe” solo:

Technique Description
Fingerpicking Atkins’ signature style of using his fingers instead of a pick to pluck and strum the strings
Slides Moving from one note to another by sliding a finger up or down the fretboard
Hammer-ons and pull-offs Adding extra notes to a phrase by “hammering on” the string with the fretting hand or “pulling off” the finger quickly
Bends Stretching the string to create a higher pitch when plucked

Overall, “Yakety Axe” showcases Atkins’ incredible skill and has become a staple example of country fingerstyle guitar playing. Even today, aspiring guitarists can still be inspired and challenged by this iconic solo.

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Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard
As we continue our journey through the iconic electric guitar solos in country music history, our attention turns to the legendary Merle Haggard. Haggard’s music has had a profound impact on the genre, influencing countless artists and earning him a well-deserved spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Let’s dive into two of his most memorable guitar solos, both of which showcase his impeccable musicianship and distinctive style.

“Workin’ Man Blues”

“Workin’ Man Blues” is one of Merle Haggard’s most famous songs, and the guitar solo in the middle of the song is a standout moment. The solo starts with a simple lick, but quickly builds in intensity and complexity. Here’s a breakdown of the solo:

  • The solo kicks off with a bend on the 9th fret of the G string, followed by a pull-off to the 7th fret and a hammer-on back to the 9th fret.
  • From there, Haggard throws in a quick run of notes, starting on the 7th fret of the D string and ending on the 9th fret of the G string.
  • Next comes a series of quick bends on the 9th fret of the G string, played in quick succession.
  • Then, Haggard shifts up to the 12th fret of the G string for another bend, this one held for a few beats to really let the note sing.
  • After that, the solo takes a turn towards the bluesy side of things, with a series of slides and bends played on the 10th fret of the B string.
  • Finally, Haggard wraps up the solo with some quick alternate picking on the 9th fret of the G string, before sliding down to the 7th fret and ending the solo.

Throughout the solo, Haggard’s playing is precise and confident, with a hint of twang that’s just right for a classic country song like “Workin’ Man Blues.” The solo perfectly captures the blue-collar ethos of the song, with its gritty, hard-working sound. It’s a standout moment in one of Haggard’s most iconic songs, and a testament to his skills as a guitarist.

“The Fightin’ Side of Me”

“The Fightin’ Side of Me” is one of Merle Haggard’s most famous songs, and the guitar solo in this track is undoubtedly iconic. The song was released in 1969, during the height of the Vietnam War when many people were protesting against it. This song, however, took a different stance and was written in support of the war effort.

The guitar solo in this track is played by Roy Nichols, who was a long-time band member of Merle Haggard. It begins with a simple but catchy riff that builds up to the main solo. Nichols plays in a twangy, country style that perfectly complements the song’s subject matter. The solo itself is short but impactful, with Nichols using a combination of hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides to create a memorable melody.

What makes this guitar solo truly stand out is the context of the song. With lyrics like “If you don’t love it, leave it” and “We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy, like the hippies out in San Francisco do,” the song was a direct response to the anti-war movement and counterculture of the time. The guitar solo, therefore, serves as a rallying cry for those who supported the war effort and traditional American values.

It’s worth noting that Merle Haggard himself was a complex figure who didn’t always align with the conservative stance that this song suggests. He had a troubled childhood and spent time in prison before becoming a successful musician. As such, “The Fightin’ Side of Me” represents just one aspect of his multifaceted career and personal beliefs.

The guitar solo in “The Fightin’ Side of Me” is a testament to the power of music to stir up emotions and influence social and political discourse. It’s a classic example of how a relatively simple guitar solo can become emblematic of a larger cultural moment.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd
As twangy guitar riffs and soaring solos became increasingly popular in country music during the 1970s, one band stood out with their distinct blend of rock and southern soul. This iconic group, hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, achieved legendary status with their chart-topping hits and electrifying live performances. With a fierce dedication to their craft and an unwavering devotion to their southern roots, [strong]this band’s music continues to inspire and captivate audiences[/strong]. Let’s take a closer look at [strong]one of their most iconic electric guitar solos in country music history[/strong].

“Sweet Home Alabama”

One of the most recognizable electric guitar solos in country music history came from the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, in their hit song “Sweet Home Alabama.” The solo was played by guitarist Ed King, and it’s marked by its use of triplets and bluesy slides.

During the solo, King plays a series of licks in the key of D major, using the pentatonic scale with added blue notes. He also incorporates the use of hammer-ons and pull-offs, creating a fluid and melodic sound. The solo is also notable for its call-and-response structure, with the guitarist trading licks with the rest of the band.

Here is a breakdown of the key elements of the “Sweet Home Alabama” solo:

Technique Description
Bending King uses bends to achieve expressive, bluesy notes.
Slides King slides between notes, creating a fluid and dynamic sound.
Hammer-ons and pull-offs These techniques allow King to play fast, fluid runs without picking every note.
Pentatonic scale The solo is based around the D major pentatonic scale, with added blue notes for flavor.
Call-and-response The solo features a call-and-response structure, with King trading licks with the rest of the band.

The “Sweet Home Alabama” solo is a classic example of southern rock guitar playing, blending bluesy licks, country twang, and rock and roll attitude. It’s a testament to the power of the electric guitar to create iconic musical moments that last for decades.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson
When it comes to country music, one name that stands out in the industry is a man known for his signature braids and distinctive voice – Willie Nelson. He is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all time, having written some of the most beloved songs in country music history. But Nelson is not just a great singer-songwriter. He is also an accomplished guitarist and has been known to incorporate his unique guitar style into his music. In this section, we will take a closer look at two of Nelson’s most iconic guitar solos that have left an indelible mark on the genre. So get ready to be transported on a musical journey as we delve into the world of Willie Nelson’s electrifying guitar solos.

“On the Road Again”

In the list of 10 iconic electric guitar solos in country music history, one cannot forget about Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”. This song was released in 1980 and became an instant hit, peaking at number one on the charts.

The guitar solo in “On the Road Again” perfectly captures the song’s theme of being a traveling musician. The solo is simple yet melodic, with a distinct country twang that showcases the style of electric guitar playing that Willie Nelson is known for.

The solo starts with a few quick notes on the higher strings, then moves down into a longer, sustained note that is bent slightly for added expression. The solo then progresses into a series of quick, descending notes that perfectly accompany the song’s upbeat tempo.

To give you a better understanding of the solo in “On the Road Again”, here’s a breakdown of the solo’s structure:

Section Description
Intro A few quick notes on the higher strings
First Phrase A longer, sustained note that is bent slightly for added expression
Second Phrase A series of quick, descending notes that perfectly accompany the song’s upbeat tempo

The guitar solo in “On the Road Again” perfectly complements the song’s catchy melody and upbeat tempo, making it a memorable and iconic country music riff that has stood the test of time.

The Eagles

The Eagles
Few bands in the history of country music have the same level of legend as The Eagles. This American rock band was formed in the early ’70s and quickly gained a large following due to their unique sound that blended country, rock, and pop. Their songs are a perfect reflection of the country’s culture and lifestyle, with lyrics that resonate with fans of all ages. In this section of the article, we’ll dive into one of The Eagles’ most iconic electric guitar solos and explore what makes it so memorable.

“Hotel California”

One of the most recognizable guitar solos in country music history is the one featured in the classic rock song “Hotel California” by The Eagles. The solo, played by Don Felder and Joe Walsh, is considered by many to be a masterpiece of rock and roll guitar playing.

Here are the key elements that make this solo so iconic:

  • Technical skill: The solo is incredibly complex, featuring a wide range of techniques including finger tapping, bending, and sliding. Felder and Walsh’s skillful execution of these techniques is what makes the solo truly impressive.
  • Emotion: The solo perfectly captures the melancholic, reflective mood of the song. From the opening notes, you can hear the longing and nostalgia woven into the melody.
  • Structure: The solo is expertly structured to build to a climax, using repetition and variation to create a sense of tension and release. The final notes are particularly memorable: a soaring, high-pitched bend that seems to capture the soul of the song.

All of these elements together make the “Hotel California” solo a classic that has stood the test of time. It’s no wonder that it’s often included on lists of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded!

Dire Straits

Dire Straits
As we continue our journey through the 10 Iconic Electric Guitar Solos in Country Music History, we cannot overlook the mesmerizing sounds of Mark Knopfler’s fingerstyle guitar technique in one of the most beloved rock bands of all time. Mark’s ability to combine fingerpicking and electric guitar riffs is nothing short of incredible, and it’s no surprise that one of Dire Straits’ songs made it on this list. Join us as we dive into one of their most captivating pieces.

“Romeo and Juliet”

One of the most iconic electric guitar solos in country music history is Mark Knopfler’s solo on the Dire Straits song “Romeo and Juliet.” Although not strictly considered a country song, its folk-inspired sound and storytelling lyrics have made it a favorite among country music fans.

Knopfler’s guitar work on “Romeo and Juliet” is a masterclass in dynamics and phrasing. He blends subtle picking with soaring leads to create a captivating narrative that moves along with the song’s storyline. The solo begins with a gentle, almost hesitant introduction that draws the listener in, building towards a crescendo of fiery licks and intense vibrato.

One of the key elements that makes Knopfler’s guitar solo so memorable is his use of double-stops, where he plays two notes at once to create a fuller sound. He also employs bends, slides, and hammer-ons to add texture and emotion to the solo, all while maintaining a strong sense of melody and rhythm.

The solo reaches its climax with a series of repeated rapid-fire notes that soar higher and higher before cascading down to the final chord. It’s a breathtaking display of skill and creativity, and it’s no surprise that the solo has been covered by countless guitarists and featured in numerous “best of” lists.

Overall, “Romeo and Juliet” is a shining example of the power of electric guitar in country music, and Mark Knopfler’s solo is a testament to his mastery of the instrument. It’s a must-listen for any guitar aficionado or country music fan looking to be swept away by a truly iconic guitar solo.

Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley
As we step into the world of country music, one can hardly overlook the contributions made by Brad Paisley. A renowned American musician, Brad Paisley is known for his exceptional skills on the guitar, and his songs that are richly peppered with clever lyrics and humor. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at one of his iconic electric guitar solos that has captured the hearts of fans worldwide. So, keep your ears perked and your fingers ready to add this masterpiece to your guitar playlist.


One of Brad Paisley’s most iconic electric guitar solos in country music history is found in his hit song entitled “Ticks”. In this song, Paisley’s guitar work shines as he shows off his impressive technical skill and musical creativity.

Paisley’s solo in “Ticks” is characterized by its fast-paced, intricate melodies that are woven seamlessly throughout the song’s catchy, upbeat rhythm. The solo manages to be both complex and accessible, blending together elements of traditional country music with more modern rock and roll influences.

During the solo, Paisley effortlessly shifts between a variety of different techniques, including intricate fingerpicking, lightning-fast runs, and emotive bends and vibratos. Each note he plays is imbued with a sense of passion and energy, making it clear that he is fully invested in the music he is creating.

The solo in “Ticks” is also notable for its use of dynamics, with Paisley expertly controlling his volume and tone to create a sense of tension and release that perfectly complements the song’s lyrical themes. He uses both quiet, delicate passages and thundering, high-energy sections to keep the listener engaged and on the edge of their seat throughout the entire solo.

Paisley’s work in “Ticks” exemplifies why he is considered one of the greatest guitarists in the country music world today. His ability to combine technical skill with emotional depth has earned him legions of devoted fans, and this solo is a shining example of why he continues to be such an influential force in the genre.

Keith Urban

As we delve deeper into the world of electrifying country guitar solos, we cannot help but stop and admire the incredible talent of Keith Urban. The Australian singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer has won numerous awards for his skills on the guitar, and it’s no surprise why. He has a unique ability to seamlessly blend different genres and create memorable tunes that stay with you long after the song ends. In this section, we’ll take a look at one of his most iconic solos in country music history – “Days Go By.” Get ready to be mesmerized by Urban’s intricate fretwork and emotive playing.

“Days Go By”

Keith Urban’s “Days Go By” is a fast-paced, energetic track that features a memorable guitar solo. This song was a massive hit for Urban, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2004.

The guitar solo in “Days Go By” is a prime example of Urban’s impressive skills as a guitarist. He employs a variety of techniques, including bends, slides, and hammer-ons, to create a solo that dazzles and delights. The solo is a perfect reflection of the upbeat, uplifting nature of the song as a whole.

One standout moment in the solo comes around the 2:45 mark, where Urban unleashes a series of rapid-fire notes that demonstrate both his technical prowess and his ability to inject emotion into his playing. This section of the solo is a true highlight of the song, and showcases Urban’s talent as an instrumentalist.

To give a better idea of the intricacies of Urban’s playing in “Days Go By”, let’s take a look at a breakdown of the solo in tablature form:

Measure Notes
1 —————12—-
2 —–12-14-14b16—-14
3 -14——————–
4 ———————-
5 ———————-
6 ———————-
7 ———————-
8 ———————-

This portion of the solo, which occurs in the song’s bridge section, is marked by a flurry of quick notes that cascade down the guitar neck. Urban’s use of bends and vibrato gives the solo a sense of urgency and excitement, culminating in a spectacular climax.

Keith Urban’s guitar solo in “Days Go By” is a testament to his skill as a musician. The solo elevates the song to new heights and leaves a lasting impression on listeners.


After exploring the 10 iconic electric guitar solos in country music history, it’s clear that the genre has produced some truly remarkable musicians and unforgettable musical moments. From Hank Williams Sr. to Keith Urban, these guitarists have not only left their mark on the country music industry but on music as a whole.

What sets these guitar solos apart from others? It’s their ability to capture the essence of the song and evoke strong emotions in the listener. Whether it’s the twangy notes of Chet Atkins’ “Orange Blossom Special” or the soulful sound of Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” each solo tells a story.

Furthermore, these guitarists have influenced countless musicians who have followed in their footsteps. From the Eagles to Lynyrd Skynyrd, their impact can be heard in the music of many generations.

In conclusion, the guitar solos highlighted in this article are not only great examples of country music but also of the power of the electric guitar. They showcase the incredible talent and creativity of some of the most iconic guitarists of all time. It’s important to remember and appreciate their contributions to music and the impact they continue to have on music today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of electric guitar is most commonly used in country music?

The most commonly used electric guitar in country music is the Telecaster. It’s known for its bright and twangy sound, which perfectly suits the genre.

When did country music first start using electric guitars in their songs?

Electric guitars were first used in country music in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that they became a staple in the genre.

Who is considered the “father of country music”?

Jimmie Rodgers is considered the “father of country music.” He was one of the first musicians to blend elements of blues, folk, and country music, setting the stage for what we know as modern country music.

What is the significance of the “twang” sound in country music?

Twang refers to the sound created by plucking the guitar strings with the pick near the bridge or “Twang Bar.” This technique creates an iconic sound that is immediately recognizable as country music.

What makes a guitar solo “iconic”?

A guitar solo is considered iconic if it stands the test of time and resonates with people from different generations. It’s usually characterized by its unique melody, tone, and technical prowess.

Who is considered one of the best guitarists in country music history?

Chet Atkins is widely considered one of the best guitarists in country music history. He was known for his technical proficiency, and his influence can be heard in the works of many country musicians.

What is the significance of the song “Hotel California” in country music?

While not a traditional country song, “Hotel California” incorporates country elements into its guitar solos. Its popularity has made it a staple in country music performance and many aspiring guitarists learn to play the solo as part of their training.

Why is “Sweet Home Alabama” considered an iconic guitar solo in country music?

“Sweet Home Alabama” features a guitar solo that blends blues, rock, and country elements. It perfectly captures the essence of southern rock and has helped shape the sound of modern country music.

What separates Brad Paisley’s guitar playing from other country musicians?

Brad Paisley is known for his incredible speed, precision, and technical abilities on the guitar. He’s not afraid to experiment with different sounds and tones, making his guitar playing truly unique.

What is the future of electric guitar solos in country music?

While many modern country songs feature electronic and synthetic sounds, the electric guitar solo will always have a place in the genre. As long as there are country music fans who appreciate the artistry of the guitar, we’ll continue to see talented musicians create iconic solos.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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