Check out acoustic guitar work by David Rawlings on any of the Gillian Welch recordings. Their recent "The Harrow & the Harvest" album is a perfect example of what you're talking about.
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There's a couple of approaches that could satisfy the "less is more" description. Here are a few guitar solos that are short (less) and that don't feature rapid playing (less, again), but really serve the song (more):
Todd Rundgren - "I Saw The Light"
Terry Kath (Chicago) - "25 or 6 to 4"
Dave Davies (Kinks) - "I'm Not Like Everybody Else"
There are also longer solos that boil along at a slower tempo which could be nominated - but many of those end up at speed. It would probably require a little thought to identify those that never accelerate.
Yikes! - I forgot to mention a couple of top line choices here:
George Harrison - "Something". Simple, elegant, and purely in service to the song.
The other side of that coin might feature Chuck Berry's solo on "Johnny B Goode". Short, simple and PERFECT in a way that is 180 degrees different from "Something".
I usually think of George as a songwriter first and a guitar player as a distant second (and this one is very easy to play), but this is a really wonderful solo. Berry just about invented the rock n roll guitar solo and "Johnny B Goode" is my pick of his litter.
Santana- 'Europa' from the moonflower album.
Back in the early 90's, Santana created his own record label called guts and grace where he petitioned the estates of dead artists and released compilation albums from his idols. He only released one album: "Sacred Sources,Vol.1 Live Forever.' On this album is my favorite live Stevie Ray Vaughan song "Riviera Paradise".You can buy this cd off of amazon for a buck. This is one of the best tips I have given on the 'gon. Enjoy.
Ry Cooder - Paris, Texas
Michael Timmins - Blue Moon Revisited from the Trinity Sessions
Mick Jagger - Heaven from Tattoo You
David Hidalgo - Forever Night Shade Mary from The Latin Playboys self-titled
Robbie Blunt - Big Log from Robert Plant's The Principle of Moments
Lou Reed - Beginning of a Great Adventure from New York
John Fogerty - The Old Man Down the Road from Centerfield
Pat Metheny - Travels from Travels
Have not read all the input her thus far, but enthusiastically second David Rawlings and Michael Timmons. Would add, Rory Block, Ricard Buckner, Tim Reynolds, Jeffrey Foucault, Patti Larkin...can probably come up with more, but those come right to mind.
Hey, not to hijack the thread, but I did a search and I cannot find any new threads that are offering an outlet for comments on this newly formatted website. Can anyone point me to one, or have none been actually posted....or? Audiogon has pointed to a blog that is strictly informational and does include a link to 'reply' but offers no replies within the blog. Sorry if I'm missing the obvious, but I find this new format very difficult to navigate. I've heard from three friends thus far and all three are less than happy (and I'm being very polite given their responses which is similar to my own) with the new format. I realize it is in Beta, but would like to think they'd be interested in community feedback. Perhaps I'm wrong.
At 9 minutes and 11 seconds Stevie Ray Vaughn's Tin Pan Alley (Couldn't Stand the Weather CD) is the most awe inspiring slow-smouldering guitar solo you have ever heard! Too bad he did not employ this technique more often.
I went to an Electrocompaniet demonstration at my local dealer where they had Electro's top-of-the-line amp, preamp and CD player mated with with the Wilson Maxx speakers and highest grade of Transpaent cables. The demo track chosen for the evening was SRV's Tin Pan Alley(aka Roughest Place in Town)
I play the guitar and have many versions of Autumn Leaves on guitar. This is the most heartfelt rendition of the song on guitar I have ever heard. BTW, this was an improvisation by Ted Greene (RIP).
Robert Fripp's absolutely beautiful solo in "The Hammond Song" from The Roches' self-title debut album has long been a favorite. It is understated, smoother than a newborn baby's bottom, and then, brilliantly, fails to stop when you think it's all over. I've played it hundreds of times, and it never fails to bring a smile. And, each time I've seen The Roches -- including just a couple of years back now -- I miss the solo when the three sisters sing what many fans (me included) consider to be their best song.
Inna do you play guitar? If you do, you would appreciate how difficult it is to do what he did. You can find thousands who shred like Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen (not knocking them as I do like their playing too) but rarely can you find who knows phrasing of meladies and subtleties of chord progression like Ted did. Just my opinion.
Pehare, I'm glad you enjoy Teds playing as much as I. He improvised jazz and classical styles in that piece. Go to YouTube and search Arlen Roth When a man loves a woman. There are two versions, one in his home and another in a studio, the latter has better sound. I think you would also like it too.
Inna, I was trained in classical guitar orginally. Nino is a flamenco guitar player, a very good one at that. It's an entirely different style of guitar playing. His playing is no better or worse than Ted, just different. Thanks for the link. I enjoyed it. You should try to be more open to other styles of guitar playing. See my next post.
Here are some very different styles. Some more is less.
Thanks for the links - really, really great. You included a couple of players I love (Roth and Emmanuel), a couple I hugely admire but don't love (Bream and Vai), and one that I've never heard of (Matt Rach). I thought that every choice you made was a great example of the player at the top of his respective form and - in particular - I thought that the Vai and Emmanuel clips may have been the best I've seen from either.
OTOH, it is vaguely depressing. If I live to be 100 and practice 24/7 between now and then, I'll never touch any of these guys.
Martykl and Bdgregory, glad you you liked them. Matt Rach is a French kid who started off as a guitar wonder on youtube playing rocked out version of pachelbel's canon when he was 14. He really has matured into a fine guitarist. He actually plays the bass and drums on his videos.