Thanks for posting the link to the guitar duel... it's been a long time since I've seen that movie and it's one of my favourites despite Ralph
Macchio's unfortunate case of "slap me face". And I have to concede that he did a good job going from beginner grade to miming fairly well, all
No. It wasn't Joe Satriani. I'm glad that Wikipedia
remembers it the way I do:
The infamous climax cutting head battle scene has been widely popularized over the internet by guitarists who are fans of Steve Vai.  Most of
the battle is played by Vai, except for Eugene's blues parts at the beginning of the duel which are played by Ry Cooder and can be heard on Vai's
album "The Elusive Light and Sound"
Steve Vai steps in to play the classical piece at the end, which I think was a Mozart piece, and is thus dueling against himself. He also reaches
notes on Macchio's part that are too high for the limited fretboard of a Telecaster without some string-bending that would put Albert King to
Ry Cooder was actually a bit annoyed about the end of the duel, because he took a purist view, which is that the kid wanted to be a blues player, and
yet it's a classical piece that he learned by rote that saves the day. I kind of agree with this. It's also a bit unfair that Vai got to
double-track his guitar parts (he's such an awesome player that he can do that in one or two passes for an entire solo), which beefs his sound up
somewhat. However, it's all for good dramatic effect.
I'm pretty sure the classical piece concerned is a Mozart etude of some sort, but a few minutes' searching has proved inadequate to narrow it down,
and I can't be bothered to go through all my back issues of Guitar Player
to find it.
Anyway... what was the question? Oh, yeah...
My ultimate air guitar moment is not a solo, actually. It's the opening riff from Van Halen's Unchained
... something about the drop-D tuning
(and slightly below that, 'cos they always used to tune to between E and E flat in the Dave Lee days) and the sheer ballsiness of the rhythm.
I also adore
Prince's rhythm/lead flourishes on Sign o' the Times
. I don't like all of his guitar playing, but this is wicked. And
his guitar work generally is just a monument to what can be done with guitar sounds that, out of context, you'd think of as just ugly
the beginning of 3121
, for just one example.
But favourite solos I have a-plenty. Actually, there's one tune that gets me playing air trumpet
... since I learned to actually play the
guitar, the urge to play air guitar has faded... but Medina
by French band Nu Jazz has a wicked trumpet solo... the track is a kind of
Arabic/jazz/electronica/funk fusion, and after the tune (which is, itself, a minor masterpiece) has played through, there's a breakdown and the
trumpet carries the rhythm entirely on its own for about 16 bars of extremely funky playing. I have this on a compilation CD for when I'm driving
and when this comes on, my hand comes up, thumb to my lips, and my fingers wiggle. I'm also dancing in my seat.
Tragic but fun.
Solos that I have to sing along to, though... loads...
Sorry to Lose You
by Michel Cusson, from Michel Cusson and the Wild Unit
. He's an excellent and inventive player, kind of like Scott
Henderson but with a world-music side to him. Well worth checking out. His guitar tone on this is really cool, because there's a good rock tone
with a bit of guitar synth mixed in, and the slinky way he gets into the first few bars is just beautiful.
The Sixteen Men of Tain
by Allan Holdsworth. Eddie Van Halen's guitar hero. If you haven't heard of him, you should check him out. He
wipes the floor with Frank Gambale on Truth in Shredding
, too. And unlike your shredders and sweep pickers, Holdsworth plays really long,
musical lines that actually go somewhere: he's not just running scales and arpeggios at warp speed. Without doubt one of the finest electric players
on the planet. Many try to emulate, and no-one comes close. Just getting this guy's guitar tone is beyond anyone else: it's taken him decades of
refining, and the tone on this tune is beyond description - a butter-smooth sustaining distortion, almost no reverb... and played with a fun, swinging
feel that for me tops any of his incredible repertoire to date.
with Jeff Beck, from a John McLaughlin record I can't remember the title of. Apparently McLaughlin (no slouch) used Beck's worst
take on this because he was just too embarrassed. This guy started off with Page and Clapton, is far less well-known... and is way better than either
of them. Every note has a separate vibrato, and he's one of the few guys that when I listen to him, I think, "now how the hell
did he make
noise? I learned Eddie Van Halen's tricks years ago, but Beck is still a mystery. Some old dogs keep learning new tricks forever.
[edit on 3-12-2006 by rich23]