Brazilian rosewood is the object of a genuine fascination from collectors of great guitars. It must be said that this wood, which often distinguishes itself by creating beautiful patterns, has become as unobtainable as unicorn hair. Most makers have stopped using Rio rosewood (another nickname of dalbergia nigra) back in the sixties, when they opted for the far less costly Indian rosewood instead.
To makes things worse CITES has declared in 1992 that brazilian rosewood was endangered enough that it shouldn’t be harvested anymore. Builders who want to keep using it have to buy stocks that are certified to have been cut before the ban. Therefore, those stocks become extremely expensive and Rio is only used on the very finest instruments.
Of course, this is the wood that was used on the fretboards of the original Bursts. When looking for a faithful replica, the wood on the fretboard is a substantial issue. Luckily, Slash is there for his fans (and for himself!), and he has designed the Brazilian Dream Les Paul - the name is a nod to Slash’s 2018 album Living The Dream - with its main spec being a Brazilian rosewood fretboard. When asked about the model, Slash explains that a good Les Paul is the combination of good components, and he attributes a fat creamy solo sound to Rio fretboards.
This model, which came out in 2018, represents some sort of achievement for Slash, a form of wisdom acquired through hundreds of guitars played and owned. The Brazilian Dream is a 58 Burst in tobacco sunburst, a simple and excellent model which Slash describes as everything he could ask from an instrument. Consequently, the guitar hero immediately took his Bazilian Dreams out for the tour that followed the album release, starting with a TV appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. This superb guitar is number 39 out of 150 guitars made in total, and it comes with a cap signed by Slash himself.
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.