The Six Best Effect-Enhanced Guitar Solos

Jun 26, 2012 at 8:31 am
Yeah, Jonny's making the cut. - Todd Owyoung
Todd Owyoung
Yeah, Jonny's making the cut.

Ever since prehistoric man hit a stick and a rock together and thought "I bet that would sound sweet through a delay pedal," musicians have craved new sonic avenues for their instruments. Here are the six best effect-enhanced guitar solos, including the time in which each solo begins. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments below, and we'll read them and then play them through a flanger.

6. Os Mutantes - "Bat Macumba" (0:30) Os Mutantes was a pioneering force in the late 60's Tropicalia movement, a cell of Brazilian musicians who blended their regional traditional music with importet psychedelic rock. Os Mutantes' first few albums are perfect examples of a group fearlessly throwing ideas to tape and seeing what works, such as the guitar solo on "Bat Macumba." In addition to being hellishly distorted, the sound flutters rapidly as it meanders across the stereo field. It's disorienting - especially in headphones or a pair of very far apart speakers - and it totally works.

5. Radiohead - "Paranoid Android" (5:30) How many of your skinny, guitar playing friends have at one point had an overgrown bowl cut and owned a low-slung Fender Telecaster? How many of those friends love Radiohead? All of them, because the band's lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is so cool, you guys. He is an inventive, tasteful musician whose few and far between freakouts are much appreciated. Prime example: his solo towards the end of the second movement of "Paranoid Android." Later, after a creepy, lethargic "Rain down" segment, Greenwood reprises his lead with the aid of a bunch of boxes that go "wssshowww" and "shweeeee." Seriously, I get chills every time.

4. Nels Cline Singers - "Square King" (2:24) Nels Cline is most visible as the lead guitarist of Wilco, and some may be surprised at the aggressive streak he shows in his avant-garde jazz trio Nels Cline Singers. "Square King" is the most teeth-baring track the Singers have recorded, sounding something like Deerhoof covering "Something Against You" by the Pixies. Cline's solo is equal parts virtuosity and sculpture, and he uses traditional techniques (slide, whammy bar) as well as mysterious pedal manipulations that produce sounds that do not exist in nature. After hearing Nels Cline wail on "Square King," Wilco's sunniest dad-jammiest tracks seem almost sinister.