Get The Slash Tone On A Budget Guitar Lesson
Many classic albums have acquired volumes of folklore about how the particular guitar sound was produced - few more so than Guns 'n' Roses' Appetite For Destruction. In a perfect world, if your heart was set on replicating the sound, it would be simple. You'd jump in a conveniently placed time machine, go back a year or so and buy one of the, then new, limited edition Marshall AFD Slash heads (reviewed in this issue) get yourself a brand spanking new Gibson Slash Les Paul and, given you could manage the man's technique, away you'd go! Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, most of us don't have that sort of money, so what hope is there for someone with more modest means? We've put together a very affordable rig, which Jamie Humphries is using to show how close you can get without spending megabucks. I should add that we've decided to settle on the Peavey Vypyr 60 as our bedrock test amp for these 'on a budget' features. For a guitar in this test, we simply had no choice but to use the phenomenally good Vintage AFD Paradise. There are plenty of twin humbucker driven guitars on the market, many quite close in appearance to a real Gibson Les Paul - and some of them bearing Gibson's sister brand's Epiphone label. However, in a direct shoot-out last year between a Vintage and an Epiphone, we found we preferred the former, so it was to Vintage that we turned again for a review model this time around for our budget test. And if we thought we liked the previous Vintage...! Slash's Rig Let's start with guitars. Slash is probably one of the most famous Les Paul players in Rock. He has a huge collection of Les Pauls, but probably his best known and best loved is actually a 1959 replica, built by Kris Derrig. The guitar was bought for Slash by his manager for the recording of Appetite, due to the fact that Slash was struggling to get a good tone. The guitar came with Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups and quickly became Slash’s main guitar. Another Les Paul that Slash is famous for using is his '87 Les Paul, bought just prior to the Appetite sessions. This guitar has been used on countless tours and recordings and is also loaded with Duncan Alnico Pro II pickups. There have also been various Gibson Les Paul Slash signature models, dating back as early as the late '80s, with a limited run of Slash models sporting black hardware. In 1997 Gibson released the “Snakepit” Les Paul, which featured Slash’s Snakepit graphic on the body, and a stunning snake motif on the fingerboard. Other popular models include the 2008 VOS Aged Les Paul, a perfect replica of Slash’s '87 Les Paul that came ready 'aged'. The most recent addition to the long line is the stunning “Appetite” Les Paul, which is also available with an aged finish. Slash also tours with various prototype Appetite signature Les Pauls, all of which include the Duncan Alnico II slash Signature pickups. Amplifiers Slash has always been associated with Marshall amps and has used various models over the years, including various signature models, including the original 90’s version with “Snakepit” logo, and the current Marshall “AFD” model, which captures the perfect tone from the Appetite era. There is endless of speculation about the exact Marshall that was used for the Appetite session, but whatever it was, it is seen as producing his classic tone and Slash himself has tried to reproduce that tone with his current signature head. Most probably, the amp in question was a modified Marshall 100 Watt 1959 Super Tremolo, owned by S.I.R, a rental company in LA, and it was known as “Stock #39”. The amp had previously been rented by George Lynch for the Under Lock and Key album, and had been modded by Tim Caswell, who basically used the amp's unused tremolo circuit, with its additional pre-amp valve, to produce more gain. Also added to the amp was a master volume control. Effects Slash isn’t renowned for using too many effects, although he does have his own signature Dunlop Crybaby wah, and an octave fuzz pedal. He also uses delay, which splits his live rig in stereo. Slash also uses and MXR EQ pedal to boost his mids and also various other modulations, including tremolo and phaser. The Budget Rig To get our version of Slash's sound I used the Vintage AFD Paradise guitar and a Marshall style amp model on the Peavey Vypyr 60 for both the clean and dirty tones. I based the clean tones on Knocking on Heaven’s Door, and Fall to Pieces. The clean should be rich and full, using the neck pickup on the guitar, with the volume backed off slightly. Also try adding some chorus, as well as some subtle delay. I also used some digital reverb, which should be dialled in to taste and choice. For the crunch tone I used the same Marshall style model, but set to crunch, with the addition of a boost to add more saturation and also exaggerate the upper mids and presence of the tone. Don’t use too much gain, but remember it is a hard rock tone. Also make sure you boost the mids and try to keep the low end rich and full. For effects I used more delay and reverb. I dialled in a little extra delay for ambience. Be sure to study the accompanying video, and also check out my suggested tracks that I used to base the tones on. I think we got pretty close. You could do much the same with many twin humbucker equipped guitars and a few tube amps (Marshalls being the obvious choice) - but not a lot closer than we got on this sort of budget. Good Luck!