It’s what you’d call an open secret: everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it. Before becoming the ultimate symbol of the Les Paul guitar hero, Slash was already a B.C. Rich fan and has remained so to this day. Rumor has it he uses Mockingbirds as much as Gibsons when recording.
Anyhow, his first real guitar was a Mockingbird and the guitar on the first Guns’ recordings was a Warlock. B.C. Rico was one of the great luthiers of Los Angeles at the time and he represented a good alternative to the big names of the trade which were only capable of looking back at their former glory. A mockingbird can even be seen in the well-known music video for the single “You Could Be Mine” in 1991, and with a floyd rose to boot!
This 2004 Mockingbird Supreme comes from Slash’s personal collection and was sold in 2011 at Julien’s auction sale. It displays the typical specs of the model: a through neck with an ebony fretboard and a flamed AAAA maple top. Slash fans won’t be surprised to find Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups since they have always been the Gunner’s first choice.
This beauty was the spare guitar for the Velvet Revolver Libertad tour in 2007. He mostly used the red one with the floyd, but when that one had a hitch, the blue one would come to the rescue.
Group : Guns N’ Roses
Main guitar : Gibson Les Paul Standard 1959 Kris Derrig
An absolute “must-hear” track : Welcome To The Jungle
Without Slash, it is likely that the Les Paul would be nothing more than a relic of the past that would only interest hard-core Clapton fans. Yet, with the sheer force of his legendary riffs and the wet, seductive sound he gets out of his Les Paul, this ultimate guitar hero brought the sunburst back into fashion and even made it his trademark, just like his top hat and long curly hair.
Saul Hudson (his real name) was a pure product of the eighties, to the point that he even auditioned for the kings of glam, Poison. But he managed a beautiful metamorphosis by joining Hollywood Rose, the group that would become Guns N’ Roses. He and singer Axl Rose reinvented themselves as bad boys, junky dandies, and post-glam rockers, breathing new life into the model of the dangerous duo of a singer and his lead guitarist, based on the model of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. With rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, Slash created a guitar sound that became the soundtrack of the late 1980s with the huge album Appetite For Destruction (1987), on which there are as many unforgettable riffs as there are tracks; Welcome To The Jungle, Nightrain, Mr Brownstone, and many more. The next album, Use Your Illusion (1991), confirmed the band’s status as a global colossus, embarking on a two-year non-stop tour. Slash was at the height of his fame, and all the teenagers of the time wanted a Les Paul to learn how to play the intro to Sweet Child O’ Mine.
Tired of tensions within the band, Slash finally left in 1996 to devote himself to his solo project, the very bluesy Slash’s Snakepit. He also appeared as a guest on many albums by other artists, from Michael Jackson to Bob Dylan and Lenny Kravitz. In 2002, he founded Velvet Revolver with former Guns N’ Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. But the curse of the singer followed Slash into that band and he had to fire Scott Weiland in 2008 because of his pervasive dope habit. In 2010, the curly-headed virtuoso did what was expected of him and released an album under his own name, a solo venture on which all his singing friends came to lend a hand. Among them, it was Myles Kennedy who became the singer for the following solo albums.
Finally, in 2016, Slash returned to Guns N’ Roses for a memorable sold-out tour. The band plays as if its life depended on it. The concerts are long and exciting, and Slash has permanently attained the status of a living guitar god. And his signature Les Pauls are selling better than ever.