In 1999, Slash’s studio was broken into, and the thief made off with several of the guitars that Slash used to play all the time. Among them, a 1991 Gold Top R7 has still not been recovered. That was the guitar whose magical bridge pickup produced the sound you hear on November Rain and Estranged, that “wet” sound that became the hallmark of the top-hatted songsmith.
So when Gibson offered in 2008 to work with Slash on a signature model, his mind returned to that beautiful guitar that was taken from him. And so was born the Gold Top that bears his name. It differs from a standard R7 by virtue of a few characteristic modifications. First, there is no pick guard (for Slash’s unmistakable look). Also, we can see the top-hatted skull logo on the headstock, the frets are jumbo, and finally the pickups are the Seymour Duncan Alnico II that Slash has fitted to almost all the instruments he plays.
Among the signature Gold Tops that were manufactured in 2008, this one was played extensively on the road between 2009 and 2015, for the tours following the albums Slash, Apocalyptic Love, and World On Fire. It was generally used for the tracks Starlight, Bent To Fly, Fall To Pieces, and the timeless Sweet Child O’ Mine, especially for the softness of the neck pickup intro.
To make this historic instrument even more desirable, Slash signed the top and drew his logo on it, for a result that makes it the dream guitar of any fan of the great curly-headed one.
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.