Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Slash and his Gibson Les Pauls

The Guitarist

Slash, born Saul Hudson in London, United Kingdom, on July 23, 1965, was prominently known as the ex-lead guitarist for the hard rock group Guns N' Roses from 1985 until the break-up of the original lineup in 1996.

Slash’s blues and punk rock influences are very much evident in his work with GNR, Velvet Revolver and his other side projects/solo efforts. Known for his hard-living, devil-may-care rockstar attitude as much as his blues-driven guitar stylings, Slash was notorious for alcohol and drug abuse early in his career. He eventually toned down in recent years and has adopted a relatively clean, substance-free lifestyle.

At the age of 5, Slash moved to Los Angeles from the UK with his parents. It was there in Hollywood that Slash joined several different bands before meeting with Steven Adler, Duff McKagan, Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin, the group that in due course became known as the legendary rock outfit Guns N’ Roses.

After several tumultuous, albeit profitable years, with the self-proclaimed “Most Dangerous Band in the World”, Slash played his last gig in 1993 after the extensive “Use Your Illusion” 1991 world tour and ultimately left the group in 1996. In 2002, Slash co-founded the supergroup Velvet Revolver with Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Dave Kushner and Scott Weiland, and released two commercially successful albums, “Contraband” (2004) and “Libertad” (2007).

The Guitars

Slash is known to own more than a hundred guitars, mostly Gibson Les Pauls, with a few B.C. Rich Mockingbirds, Fender Strats and Teles. He has also collaborated with Gibson USA/Gibson Custom to produce 7 signature guitars, and with Epiphone to create 4 signature models.

His main guitar used during recording sessions was a 1959 Les Paul Standard replica. He used that guitar on every album he recorded with Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver. Aside from the 1959 Les Paul replica, Slash’s other main guitar for during live performances was a 1988 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

I don’t know about you, but for me, the image of Slash, with his big ‘fro under that ubiquitous top hat and playing a low-strapped Gibson Les Paul, is indelibly engraved in my mind that it’s almost absurd to picture Slash playing a different guitar! Though Slash has in fact played a number of other guitars such as Mockingbirds, Strats and Teles, he is generally associated with the Les Paul guitar.

Having said this, it is quite impossible to pin Slash to a particular LP guitar given his massive guitar collection. Every concert would be an opportunity for him to use and display a guitar from his vast arsenal of six-stringed axes.

For your viewing pleasure, I've included one of my favorite Guns N' Roses tunes, November Rain. The video also features a couple of Slash's most memorable guitar solos!

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