When is a solo not a solo?
When it’s a duo of course! This duet from Joe Walsh and Don Felder came out as the top rated of GT editor Neville Marten’s choices in a poll conducted in Total Guitar. Agree? Disagree? Let us know and then give us your own selections…
Track: Hotel California
Artist: The Eagles
Who played it: Don Felder and Joe Walsh
UK chart position: 8
Why it rocks: If this isn’t the most perfectly constructed piece of guitar work this side of Floyd’s Comfortably Numb, we don’t know what is! From the moment Felder’s soaring Gibson kicks things off to the orgasmic harmony outro that’s so tight you couldn’t fit a Rizla between the players, every passage is packed with nuggets of six-string gold. Both guitarists are kings of the slinky lick, so it’s no surprise that Felder and Walsh push each other through a series of finger-twisting contortions featuring three-fret bends, super-sweet vibrato and intertwining ‘together’ moments that keep the listener enthralled. Listen closely and you can hear where the Felder Les Paul gives way to Walsh’s Telecaster then re-takes centre stage later on.
Although originally a Don Felder song, Walsh arranged Hotel California’s solo. The two players came up with their individual sections and worked on the harmonies together. “I'm very proud of the guitar work in Hotel California,’ says Joe. “Don brought in the descending chord structure and I was commissioned to arrange the order of the solos – who played what where, who went up high etc. It was tough figuring how much momentum we needed to start with, compared to what we were going to end up with. When the solos starts, it's just ‘here we go’, then it goes all the way to the end. Don Felder is a tremendously underrated guitar player.”
As with every truly great guitar solo, you can sing every note of this sublime duet from start to finish. This is electric guitar playing at its very best.
Find it on: Hotel California
Did you know? Hotel California was originally written and recorded in the key of E minor, before Don Henley decided it would suit his voice better in B minor. So Felder capo’d his 12-string at the 7th fret, and the rest is history!