As the musician who brought the sunburst Les Paul back into fashion, Slash’s collection is obviously a benchmark for that model. All of his were hand selected for their sound. Among them, his preferred instrument for studio recordings has always been a 1958 Standard, too precious to be taken on tour.
In fact, until recently, Slash didn’t even know how valuable 8 3096 (the serial number) was. He thought he simply had a vintage sunburst—a treasure in itself—but it turns out that this particular 1958 was actually presented at the NAMM Show in Chicago in July of that year and was therefore one of two copies presented to introduce the Sunburst to dealers and musicians. Of those two guitars, 8 3096 was the only one with a two-part maple top with a central separation. That makes it the first production Sunburst with the characteristics that would become the defining ones of this legendary model.
That “first Standard” was reproduced as scrupulously as possible by Gibson’s Custom Shop in 2017, and within that very limited edition only 50 have been signed by the Guns N’ Roses virtuoso and artificially aged. This one is number 49, the second to last! The artificial wear and tear reaches new heights of realism, especially with the very beautiful ageing of the pick guard and the traces of intensive use on the tone knobs. And the point that only seriously obsessive aficionados will notice: there are five single-line Kluson machine heads and one double-line Kluson. That is called attention to detail, the guarantee that every effort has been made to get as close as humanly possible to the original.
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.