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SLASH - Guide to The World's Best Guitarists

Guitar Hero Slash (ex Guns N' Roses)

(c) Sandy Campbell/Gibson Guitars 2008

(c) Sandy Campbell/Gibson Guitars 2008

Give That Man a Guitar

Guitarists are a colorful lot. Even in a room full of them, however, Saul Hudson, better known as Slash, stands out like a sore thumb.

With his trademark black top hat and shock of wild black hair, it's always a wonder that he doesn't run into walls everywhere.

But give the man a guitar—oh, give the man a guitar... PLEASE!

A Les Paul, mayhap, with a Marshall Half Stack in the corner—and you will see a transformation almost unnatural, in how he is able to make that axe sing like it was a nightingale at midnight.

Sweet Child O'Mine

Slash since Guns N'Roses

Although he's been involved in a number of projects since Guns N' Roses, such as the mildly successful Slash's Snakepit and the more recent Velvet Revolver, no one can mention Slash without songs from GNR's debut album, Appetite For Destruction, which shot him into the ranks of the best guitarists from the get-go.

The second highest selling debut album of all time (behind only Boston's debut album, according to Wikipedia), Appetite featured soaring guitar solos like the one from "Sweet Child O Mine" (listed at # 37 among the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time by Guitar World magazine), effect-heavy guitar intros like the one to "Welcome to the Jungle", and clear-as-a-bell clean tone in "Think About You."

But as any guitarist who’s been playing for longer than 10 minutes can tell you, it's one thing to be able to play along with the CD, it's a whole other ball game getting your guitar sound to be just like the real thing. It's the difference between those 2 very different animals - "guitar hero" & "REAL guitar hero"

Think About You

The Guitars

Although today Slash has his own signature model of Les Paul even with a signature model guitar, you don't have to take out a car loan to get the same sound he had on Appetite. Remember, this was a debut album; they weren't making a million bucks a day yet; and besides, rumor had it that half of the advance the record company gave the boys for the album went up in smoke to support the drug habit. Bottom line: the setup for Appetite was fairly simple.

The amp in the studio throughout the album was reportedly a custom 1960 Marshall 1959 stack rented from SIR studios in Southern California. Legend has it that Slash liked the sound of the amp so much that he tried to keep it, but it disappeared anyway. According to a 2003 interview with their technician at the time, Mike Clink, he only added a Roland SRV2000 reverb to give it the sound you hear on the album.

Throughout the rest of the 1980s, Slash's guitar amplifier set up was a Marshall JCM 2555 Silver Anniversary special from 1987, an amp that was recently reissued as a Slash signature model in 1996. The amplifier head was usually placed on top of a couple of Marshall cabinets with 30 watt Celestron speakers.

Guitar Equipment Setup

In fact, it's sort of a well-known secret that he didn't even use his trademark Les Paul on the recording—it was a flame-top 1959 Les Paul replica, with either the stock humbucker pickups or custom Seymour Duncans.

Slash used different guitars for recording than he did for playing live, though. On tour he would use a 1988 Les Paul Standard that, in his own words, he "beat the hell out of," and over the course of the 2 year tour in support of the album it accrued numerous belt buckle nicks and even a crack or two in the neck, which Slash diligently had repaired.

Slash says he uses Ernie Ball strings and Seymour Duncan pickups on the official fan site at as of 2002, and that he likes to play with purple Tortex 1.14 mm picks.

Welcome To The Jungle

How to achieve Slash's Guitar Sound

Certain songs on the album, however, featured extra effects that make it a little harder for the amateur to get that "Slash" sound. The opening track on Appetite, "Welcome to the Jungle", used a Boss DD-3 digital delay pedal to give the notes that haunting-echo feeling. An effect that many beginners to guitar playing find it difficult to replicate is the Heil HT-1 voice-box in "Rocket Queen." Throughout the album, the only effect that Slash controls himself is a Dunlop Cry Baby Wah pedal, the kind made famous by Jimi Hendrix and still used by virtually every guitar player since.

Rocket Queen

Another thing that can throw beginners off is the fact that Slash and his buddies tune down ½ step. Instead of E A D G B E, his strings are tuned to E flat, A flat, D flat, G flat, B flat, and E flat. If you don't know this, it can seem exceedingly difficult to try to play all the notes in the right places, but once you've found this secret, everything becomes a whole easier.

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Throughout the album, Slash's influences of Jimmy Page, Mick Taylor from the Rolling Stones, Eddie Van Halen, and his personal hero Jeff Beck can be heard clearly. His self-taught style meant that whisperings of the guitarists he listened to and emulated showed up in nearly every one of the songs with his own personal touch added.

Want to read more? Books on Slash

Slash Today

As with most rock musicians, how Slash has ended up is very different from where he started. Today, an official Gibson Slash Signature Les Paul guitar can run you $8,000 or more, and the Marshall reissue JCM 2555 Slash signature model can only be found on Ebay.

By no means does that mean you need to rush right out and buy all that stuff in order to sound like him, though. Slash started out with nothing but a one-string acoustic guitar and a whole lot of talent and hard work, and only acquired these expensive toys after he had made it big.

The most important element in your guitar playing is still practice and playing from the heart. Once you've got that mastered (by the way, it takes years, or a lifetime), no matter what your particular equipment setup, it will sound great.

Guitar Endorsements

Then once you've made it big, you can sign lucrative endorsement deals with equipment manufacturers. Slash has been able to capitalize on his reputation as a man who only plays Gibson Les Paul guitars and Marshall amplifiers, with both of these manufacturers issuing official Slash signature models. Not only that, but these days he's also got an official cable (Monster Cable), an official string set (Ernie Ball Slinky R.P.S.), official guitar pickups (Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro), and even an official guitar pick (the aforementioned purple 1.14 mm Tortex pick), although there is no signature "Slash" model of that. Who said all musicians were starving?

Slash features on the cover of Guitar hero III

Front cover of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, console-neutral.  Image from Kotaku. Image copyright Activision, Neversoft, RedOctane

Front cover of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, console-neutral. Image from Kotaku. Image copyright Activision, Neversoft, RedOctane

Guitar hero is more than a game - it's a title. And not for a nerdy wannabe with a pretend guitar and a fast game system.

Ig we're talking about the best guitarists in the world - true, world class (playing real guitar) heroes, we have here a Real guitar hero in Slash. So real that he's centre of the Guitar Hero III cover art!

Thought by some to be the best guitarist in the world, Slash is definitely up there with the best guitarists - while others of you may prefer one of my other real guitar heroes coming in other hubs!

If you're interested in Music Talent, check out Got Music for the latest up and coming YouTube music stars!

Guitarist Slash - Saul Hudson


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Slash DVDs


Jack from London on April 02, 2013:

A great blend of hard rock and blues. A legend AND rock icon

Walter Holokai from Youngstown, Ohio on October 18, 2012:

I love Slash! I think his self-titled album SLASH was an iconic album.

It showcases his virtuosity. It features some of the best vocals I've heard. They are a perfect match. I'm surprised it didn't get more acclaim. I like your posts. I'm a guitarist myself and play some of Slash's tunes.

slashizzy on June 03, 2011:

Slash is the greatest guitarist i have every seen 'im learning to play guitar he's my idol

SlashedDuff on January 06, 2011:

actully now Appetite for Destruction is the best selling depute album of all time, AHEAD of Boston's

john son on September 15, 2010:

you are a freek guitarist i ever seen

max on August 17, 2010:

slash is one of the greatest guitarists but my fav is EDDIE VAN HALEN

Ramon on July 13, 2010:

saul hudson you are the best in the world to me I'm here to Caruaru Brazil Cheers...

Tom on April 11, 2010:

You would struggle to find a better example of a rock guitarist than Slash. GNR in their day were unbeatable! Now..... not so much;)

ArnWue from Germany on January 22, 2010:

Slash is really great. One of my alltime favorite guitar player!!!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on July 14, 2009:

I love this man lol. Quite liked Velvet Revolver but they seem to be in limbo land just now.

Julie-Ann Amos (author) from Gloucestershire, UK on June 20, 2009:

Jeremi - I didn't say he ONLY used a cry baby - I said he made the cry baby famous. Which he did - he used both and mainly the vox wah, but he was famous for the crybaby (as stated above).

Similarly I didn't say Slash used a Silver Jubilee on Appetite at all - and this would have been impossible as they didn't come out till 87.  What I said was "Throughout the rest of the 1980s, Slash's guitar amplifier set up was a Marshall JCM 2555 Silver Anniversary special from 1987, an amp that was recently reissued as a Slash signature model in 1996."  The Silver Jubilee didn't come out till 87 which was when Appetite for Destruction did - therefore he couldn't possibly have been using one to record the album before one was available... I said he used it for the rest of the 80s from 87.

Not sure what your point is here to be honest!


Jeremi on June 20, 2009:

Jimi hendrix used a vox wah not a crybaby and the use your illusions amp was a jcm 800 with 6550 output tubes, not a silver jubilee.

ak_383 on April 24, 2009:

i love is man

ak_383 on April 24, 2009:

i love is man

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