Appetite For Destruction, the debut album by Guns n' Roses, has sold in excess of thirty million copies. However, its success was not an overnight phenomenon, and when it came out in 1987 the band was still playing the clubs of Los Angeles. Then, little by little, the Guns got bigger and found themselves selling out the Tokyo Budokan by the end of 1988.
Facing that radical change of status, the members of the band consequently had to get extra gear. That is when Slash decided to add two Les Pauls to his arsenal. Before that, his main one was the famous 58 model with the cigarette burn.
The guitar hero got in touch with Gibson, and took possession of two sunburst plain top B stock (with slight defects) Heritages. Slash quickly discovered those were the best two Les Pauls among his collection at the time. He didn't like the original sunburst which was much too red for his taste, and therefore had them refinished in a hue that was much closer to his 58, a soft and luminous sunburst. He also had the pickups changed for Seymour Duncan Alnico II, which have always been his favorite. Slash then proceeded to take those two guitars on the road and one of them became his main stage Les Paul, hence its current sorry state from having been broken and fixed many times over.
This is the damaged guitar that the Gibson Custom Shop chose to copy in 2008 under the name Slash VOS, reverting it back to how it was just before the refin, without the scars. Only 400 guitars have been made, and those guitars are still very much sought after by fans for their understated looks and sound quality.
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.