10 Essential Duane Allman Guitar Solos

Public Domain

Continuing on with our lists of the greatest guitar solos from the legends who have shaped the very landscape of rock and roll comes a man who embodied the corporeality of a multi-dimensional musician; we are, of course, turning our attention towards Duane Allman. You all may know him as the younger brother of Greg Allman, but you most definitely know of him as being one of the central pieces of a pretty  important rock group, the Allman Brothers Band. He was too ahead of his time, and he punctuated that attitude with a lifestyle that just couldn’t keep up with him; he would die tragically in a motorcycle accident at the age of twenty-four. But that untimely demise didn’t stop Skydog from leaving behind a volume of work that would still be remembered more than forty years.

And you all were probably anticipating this truism, but it has to be noted quite emphatically and without warning: Duane Allman is one of the greatest and most monumentally amazing guitarists to ever grace our universe; no, he seriously is. This is not just fanatical praise……this is a resolute fact. In fact, one could make the contentious argument that he’s also the greatest bottleneck slide guitar player of all time, too.

The way he made the guitar sound almost identical to the human voice when he moved that bottle up and down the fret was like witnessing another personification of Jimi Hendrix; the way in which the guitar was like an anatomical extension to his heart and soul. Going even further than that, Duane Allman’s influence, skill, diversity, and lasting magnitude even rivals that of Hendrix; quite an opinion, I know, but one that holds great merit. Anyway, let’s jump straight into our list dedicated to one of the coolest cats of the classic rock persuasion. Here’s to the man, the myth, and the legend: the one they proclaimed “Skydog.”


10.) It’s Not My Cross to Bear

In 1969, Duane and Greg took the blues and R&B roots that they acquired through their previous band, Allman Joy (Later renamed Hour Glass), and they decided to recruit guitarist Dickey Betts, bassist Berry Oakley, and drummers Butch Trucks (Derek Trucks’ uncle) and Jai Johanny Johanson; they would become the Allman Brothers Band.

In 1969, they released their self-titled debut and the world of classic rock would never be the same. The album definitely established them as a forceful band of improvisational proportions. But it’s Duane Allman’s guitar-playing that truly makes it worthwhile; of course you can’t leave out Dickey Betts, who was the yin to his yang as far as chemistry was concerned. On It’s Not My Cross to Bear, Duane’s slow and soul-driven guitar solo, which begins immediately after the segue from the opening track on the record, really channels a B.B. King-esque flavor; it’s a perfect reminder that this man could play the blues.

9.) Keep on Growing

If you’ve been following our guitar solo lists, you’ll probably recall our Eric Clapton list in which we singled out the Derek and the Dominoes record, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs; this was the album Duane Allman contributed to. On this particular record, Duane took time off from his usual amalgamation of blues, jazz, country, and rhythm & blues, and instead graced the foundation with not only his bottleneck blues, but also his richly detailed soloing.

On Keep on Growing, he literally battles it out with Eric Clapton. The intricate layering of each of their solos towards the last minute of the song, which sounds like four separate solos coming out of each speaker, is sonic insanity; you don’t know who to listen for, but you just don’t care because the mere polymerization of Eric and Duane is just too earth-shattering to eve. But you can definitely tell which guitar solos are Duane’s; those lightning-fast triplets you hear is one of his signature licks.

8.) Don’t Keep Me Wonderin

First appearing on the 1970 record, Idlewild South, this banging number was performed live during the greatest show of their career: their Fillmore East gig. Duane’s slide work here is at its meanest. He doesn’t do a great deal of technicality; instead he mercilessly beats these two guitar solos on stage with impunity.


7.) Layla

This list just wouldn’t feel right without including Layla. It’s the kind of song that really sums up a musician’s career; in this case, it’s Eric Clapton. But Not a lot of people realize that Duane Allman bestowed quite an amount of artistic input during the creation of the song. First off, that iconic riff was Duane’s idea; he borrowed a vocal line from an Albert King song, As the Years Go Passing By, and translated it to the guitar……but he played it twice as fast. Then there’s the slide guitar solo that closes out the first half before the piano coda. It’s one of Duane’s greatest efforts that tends to get overlooked by every other aspect of this epic.

It’s quite a vocal guitar solo, in that Duane moves the bottle slide swimmingly beyond the 23rd fret of the guitar, creating these notes one would have a hard time finding without the help of a slide; the way he treats the guitar solo as if it’s an actual person belting along to the song’s main riff is what made Duane the treasure that he was.

6.) You Don’t Love Me

You’ll be seeing a lot of songs from the Fillmore East show. This one, which goes on for about fifteen minutes, houses quite a bit of Duane’s best moments. First are his slide guitar solos. The one that comes in at two minute is some of the most violent euphony he’s ever created. The second one lashes out at about 6:45 minutes.

At seven minutes, everybody pulls the plug. Everything’s silent. Then Duane begins bellowing out these delicious blues scales drenched in the power and animosity of Hendrix, but the proficiency of Eric Clapton. This gigantic solo goes on for roughly eight minutes, and man is it incredible.

5.) Statesboro Blues

This was the song that opened up their Live at Fillmore East record, and man, is it spectacular; it’s everything you’d come to expect from the caliber of a band like the Allman Brothers Band. What’s intriguing about Statesboro Blues, is that it’s a rendition of Taj Mahal’s version, which in itself was a rendition of Blind Willie McTell’s original. Here’s a quick story:

Greg had given Duane the Taj Mahal record containing his version for his birthday; he also received a bottle of Coricidin pills because he was sick with a cold. So Duane put on the record, removed the pills from the bottle, used it as a slide, started playing along to it, and the rest was history.

That’s how Duane created the bottleneck blues style he became renowned for; of course his impeccable guitar tone added to it. Those three solos, the beginning one, the second one that starts before the two minute mark, and the final one towards the end, have made the biggest impact on blues rock.

4.) Why Does Love Got to be So Sad?

Here’s another fantastic Derek and the Dominoes recording that beams the spotlight down on Duane; that’s not taking away from the fact that Eric Clapton is also great here, but it’s just that this list is about Duane. Anyway, he shares three guitar solos on this track; a brief one during the intro, a second during the middle break, and a final one to close the song out. All three are quintessential Duane, with his melodic minor runs terrorizing the lovelorn landscape of the tune’s overall message, but it’s that final guitar solo that really brings everything to a perfect denouement; especially that bonny lick during the last thirty seconds.

3.) Blue Sky

1972’s Eat a Peach was the last recorded album that Duane was on before his death; it’s what makes it a piece of classic rock history that’s all the more special. Blue Sky is certainly a beauty in it’s own right; it being a song that was written AND sung by guitarist Dickey Betts. He wrote this wonderful ballad about the love of his life who was nicknamed “Bluesky,” and it displayed both him and Duane at their most vulnerable and soul-defining; they’re both at their peak here. But it’s Duane’s solo at the one minute mark that must be honored; it’s a valued piece of instrumental brilliance.

The only thing that could make this guitar solo even more sad is the fact that this was the very last guitar he ever put to wax.

2.) Mountain Song

Here’s an excellent example of the Allman Brothers Bands’ influential jam credentials. This Eat a Peach cut, which was recorded during their historic Fillmore East show, goes on for a good forty minutes; that’s right: they jammed on a single song for forty minutes. Everybody’s in full swing here; each member pours out every ounce of their musical extempore with absolute care and precision. But for now, we’ll just single out Duane who’s the true star.

First, he unleashes a solo at the 2:42 mark; this one’s a real tasty treat for the ears. With his “light, but not too light” tone, he takes you through an odyssey of welcoming melodies, Phrygian dominant phrases, and a boisterous tirade of blues accents that literally sounds like one of those 50’s-60’s R&B singers.

Finally, he comes back twenty-three minutes in with the best bottleneck slide playing of his life. Every voicing, vibrato, change in direction on the fret board, and understanding of rhythm and timing, showed that Duane could turn something as primitive as blues slide into a Picasso painting.

1.) Whipping Post

Now here’s a performance everyone was anticipating; it simply has to be recognized for not only being one of the greatest songs of classic rock, but also the paragon of Duane’s legacy. The album version from their debut record is amazing, but it’s their Fillmore East jam that deserves every accolade. He doesn’t play slide guitar here; he instead fires away with the heaviest blues rock to ever grace the stage; seriously, the people in that audience were completely unaware that they would be witnessing the top five greatest live album of all time.

Duane’s first guitar solo, coming in before the two minute mark, lasts a good three minutes; with every key constituent that made him an intellectual to the instrument. His speed, consistency, cognizance, and unpredictability made each of his live performances such a thrill to dive in. Then there’s the guitar solo that follows along at 15:30 minutes after Dickey Betts is done demolishing the stage. Duane does a great job building tension before Greg comes back in with the chorus. Finally, Duane wraps up the entire song with a more mellow solo that helps listeners catch their breath after twenty minutes of pure, rock n’ roll euphoria.

It’s guitar spontaneity of this immensity that makes Skydog one of the giants of his craft.



  1. Avatar Morgan White October 16, 2021
  2. Avatar Tom December 24, 2021

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Johnny Marr Albums
Complete List Of Johnny Marr Albums And Discography
Classic Rock Christmas Songs
Our 10 Favorite Classic Rock Christmas Songs
A Thousand Horses Albums
Complete List Of A Thousand Horses Albums And Songs
Blackmore's Night Albums
Complete List Of Blackmore’s Night Albums And Discography
10 Classic Rock Bands Whose First Album Remains Their Best
10 Classic Rock Bands Whose First Album Remains Their Best
Christmas Vinyl Albums
Rockin’ Christmas: 5 Rock-Oriented Albums for Vinyl Lovers
Can Albums
Top 10 Can Albums
Kiss Bootlegs
KISSteria on Vinyl: Ten’ 70s-era Bootlegs for Records Collectors
Mick Jagger and Sammy Hagar
Will Sammy Hagar or Mick Jagger Be The First 100 Year Old Rockers?
Comic Con 2023
Comic Con 2023 Rocks New York City
The Misunderstanding Of The Way AI Was Used In Now And Then
The Misunderstanding Of The Way AI Was Used In Now And Then
Beatles Song Now And Then
Just Saying “New Beatles Song Released Today” Is Breathtaking
Tim Lefebvre Interview
Tim Lefebvre: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Liberty DeVitto: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Liberty DeVitto: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle, Sebastian Bach & UFO: 10 Albums That Changed My Life From humble East Coast origins to grandest stages worldwide, veteran bassist Rob De Luca has seen and done it all. De Luca first hit the local Boston rock and metal scene in the late 80s after meeting guitarist Paul DiBartolo, bonding over Van Halen before forming Bang. Regional success came quickly, but eventually, the members of Bang went their separate ways, with De Luca and drummer Tommi Gallo heading to NYC and hooking up with Ray West and, later, DiBartolo to form Spread Eagle. By 1990, Spread Eagle was on the fast track, with a contract through MCA Records and a self-titled debut album poised to crush skulls. But poor timing and MCA's sad indifference left Spead Eagle out in the cold despite being a hard-boiled answer to Guns N' Roses's West Coast sleaze. Spread Eagle's first chapter came to an end in '95. As for Rob De Luca, his nimble fingers and gift for melody and songwriting kept him moving forward. Soon, he found a gig with former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach and the legendary outfit UFO. And in 2010, after coupling up with Ray West and his cousin Rik De Luca, Spread Eagle retook flight. During a break from Spread Eagle's increasingly busy touring schedule, Rob De Luca dialed in with ClassicRockHistory.com to run through the ten albums that changed his life. But only after adding, "I made a playlist of these songs, including some I've written or co-written. Do you hear any of these albums' influence on me?" Listen here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3LWJuhDrE8JmzhsmTeIDUq 10) Gentlemen by Afghan Whigs (1993) Here's an entry that was so important to me. This may be the darkest break-up album of all time. Greg Dulli has been in many projects, but I feel Gentlemen is his zenith. Somewhat undefinable at times but always profound and honest. Listen to "Gentlemen," "Fountain and Fairfax," and "What Jail Is Like." 9) In on the Kill Taker by Fugazi (1993) By this time, I had been sucked in and spit out by the major-label record industry. Glam came and went; grunge was history, too. I was searching for new sounds. When I heard Fugazi's twin guitar approach, I knew this was what was missing. Fugazi may be considered a less polished sound than the albums above; however, once you "get it," it hits you like a ton of bricks, and there's no going back. From the moment I heard Fugazi, I went to every NYC show after. It's easily some of the best concerts of my life, and possibly my favorite bassist in Joe Lally. And their DIY ethics refused to charge us more than $5 a show! In on the Kill Taker is a powerful album demonstrated in songs such as "Smallpox Champion," "Great Cop," and "Public Witness Program." 8) Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses (1987) I discovered many of these albums (sometimes long) after they were released. However, I was at the right place at the right time for this one. Steve Ostromogilsky had a Berklee College of Music lunch card and used to sneak out sandwiches for me. One day, he invited me to hang out at his place and listen to music. As we got off the train, he put Sony Walkman headphones on my ears and said, "Hey, check out this brand-new group." A song like "It's So Easy" was so different from the popular Sunset Strip sound at that time. Me and about 499 other informed rockers were lucky enough to see them on their first East Coast tour at the sold-out Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston (the same street Aerosmith started on). I saw Gn'R every tour after until I took a break when Buckethead joined. Gn'R is the band I've been lucky enough to see the most times live, almost 100! Everyone on this album is just stellar. Axl [Rose] had the tones, power, melodic sensibilities, and foresight to do what no other singer did then. Slash's playing was beyond memorable. Duff [McKagan] is one of the most underrated bassists in rock history, and learning his Appetite basslines is a masterclass. Steven [Adler] had the natural swing, and Izzy [Stradlin] was the secret weapon songwriter. Everything that's been heralded about this gem is deserved and true. Check out "It's So Easy," "Out Ta Get Me," and "Mr. Brownstone.' 7) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (1975) Another contender for my favorite album and band of all time. Using The Beatles machine (same recording studio, engineer, record label), Pink Floyd made what I feel is their strongest, most cohesive album (my second favorite of theirs would be Animals). This list mainly consists of bands with an instantly recognizable sound. Floyd is certainly no exception to that! This album included a solid handful of undeniable rock radio classics, bookended by two halves of the mind-blowing song "Shine on You Crazy Diamond.' That song was written about former band member and founder Syd Barrett. It would be hard to live in a world without this album. Check out "Welcome to The Machine," "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (parts 6-9),' or even better yet, listen to the whole thing in one sitting! 6) Decade by Neil Young (1977) About this time, I started playing guitar. As a beginner, it was comfortable jamming to this album because the chord changes were simple—a great "first ten years" retrospective of Neil's stunning, unique songwriting. Neil is a treasure who always writes from the heart and stands up for what's right. Check out "Southern Man," "A Man Needs a Maid," "Down by The River," and "After the Goldrush." 5) Highway to Hell by AC/DC (1979) When I heard this album, I was firmly "me." My life would be 100% focused on hard rock music forever. AC/DC are like air; they're ubiquitous. Everyone knows them and their incredible songs. However, as a young teen in Wilmington, Delaware, I only had WMMR 93.3 FM Philadelphia and a few friends to inform me about the world of Rock outside my bedroom. AC/DC had not gone mainstream, and their albums were available primarily in the USA as imports. To put things more in perspective, I only knew two people in the world who had heard of AC/DC. A friend had an import that we played in Steve Buckley's basement, which sounded ripping. When Highway to Hell was released, WMMR started spinning the title track, and I immediately bought the album, listening to it every single day after school. Then WMMR announced AC/DC was coming to the Spectrum in Philly, supporting Ted Nugent! I liked Ted but loved AC/DC, so my good friend Mick Cummins and I bought tickets, and he drove us up to the Spectrum (where we saw most of our concerts). Bon Scott was in fine form, and the band went over great. Although the crowd knew Ted better, Angus [Young] wouldn't let anyone upstage him. I'll never forget it! Unfortunately, Bon would be gone in 6 months. Check out "Walk All Over You," "Touch Too Much," "Shot Down in Flames," and "If You Want Blood (You Got It)." 4) Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith (1975) By the time I heard this, I was now in my teens. I had a childhood friend up the street, Jim Linberg (we're still good buddies). His older sister had a great album collection, including Toys in The Attic. Once I heard that groove, my taste changed. I lost interest in rock music that didn't have some sort of "swing" feel to it. I think Rocks is a slightly better Aerosmith album (and possibly my favorite album of all time), but both are perfect or very close. Check out "Uncle Salty," "Adam's Apple," "No More No More," "Round and Round," and "You See Me Crying." 3) Alive! by Kiss (1975) When I was still a little kid, I asked for Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke album for Christmas. The entire family came over for an enormous feast, and I dropped the needle. When my mother heard the content, she turned off the album and said I had to exchange it. My mom was cool, but I was young and knew much more about life than she suspected. Anyway, the next day, she drove me back to the store. In the music section, promoted on an "endcap" was a Kiss Alive! display. I had never heard of Kiss, but that cover picture told me I had to have it! My first foray into hard rock. Check out “Strutter.” I went through my Kiss phase very quickly, I believe in a matter of months because I discovered the previous entry, Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic. 2) Honky Chateau by Elton John (1972) When I was a wee lad, my parents bought a used Volkswagen camper van from my uncle Ozzie. My favorite Elton John album is Yellow Brick Road, but Honky Chateau is great and easily one of his best. It sent me down a lifelong rabbit hole of loving everything about the 1970s partnership between Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin. The simple beauty of voice, the master songwriting, the perfect backing band, the clear, unobtrusive recordings, and always Bernie's incredible lyrics. The day this album was released, Elton became an unstoppable force that conquered the music industry. Check out "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Rocket Man." 1) Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles (1967) Another tape that was included in the VW Camper. The van had a bunch of music tapes, and one was Sgt Pepper. I was too young to understand the sophistication of the music, but that was one of the many skills of The Beatles. They attracted listeners at every level, even little kids. I still feel that immediate connection to Sgt Pepper; now, I hear so much more. It's an album that changed the world and the world of music. Check out "Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds," "A Day In The Life," and "Fixing a Hole."
Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle, Sebastian Bach & UFO: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Jim Suhler Interview
Jim Suhler: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
John Prine Studio Al bums
Complete List Of John Prine Studio Albums And Discography
Brother Kane Albums
Complete List Of Brother Kane Albums And Songs
Fit For A King Albums
Complete List Of Fit For A King Albums And Discography
Eric Clapton Live Albums
Complete List Of Eric Clapton Live Albums
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now' Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band ‘The Future Is Now’ Album Review
In Harmony albums
A Look Back At Both ‘In Harmony’ Rock Star Children’s Albums
John Miles Rebel Albums Review
John Miles ‘Rebel’ Album Review
Aimee Mann’s Solo Debut Album "Whatever."
30 Year Look Back At Aimee Mann’s Solo Debut Album ‘Whatever’