LATEST UPDATE – Added a new link to a site about his signature Marshall amp.
He’s one of the most iconic guitarists of our time, and as you may have gathered from all of the fangirl bletherings in my blog, he’s my favourite guitar player.
Saul Hudson was born in Hampstead, London in 1965 and moved to California at the age of 11, where after learning to play a guitar that only had one string and acquiring the nickname ‘Slash’, he went on to become the rock guitar legend he is today. He and schoolfriend Steven Adler played in several bands on and off, including the one that eventually became the mighty Guns N’ Roses. After Guns, Slash formed Slash’s Snakepit, and Slash’s Blues Ball, and is now rocking like never before along with Scott Weiland, Matt Sorum, Dave Kushner and Duff McKagan in the excellent Velvet Revolver.
His signature Les Paul and Marshall Amp combination are as much part of him as the top hat and the cigarette, but he does play other guitars – a B.C. Rich Mockingbird, a Guild doubleneck, even a banjo (on the Use Your Illusion 2 track “Breakdown”).
Find out more about Slash’s Equipment here:
- Gibson Guitars – Guitars as iconic as Slash himself.
- Marshall Amplification – The official site for the home of Loud.
- Slash Marshall – All about Slash’s signature amp and other equipment he uses.
Adam Day has been Slash’s Guitar Tech for over 16 years. It’s his job to make sure everything’s plugged in, switched on and tuned up, both on tour and in the studio.
From an interview in Marshall Law Magazine: >”The big question is how on earth do you get to be the guitar tech for a mega star like Slash?
>That’s definitely one of those sixty four thousand dollars questions! When I got my break, luck definitely played a part. I knew a guy who worked for Guns’n’Roses from the very beginning and every time I would see him anywhere I’d always say: “Hey, if anything comes up, gimme a call”. That’s what you say when you’re a working tech jumping from tour to tour – you put the word out that you’re looking whenever you can. And, in this instance, it paid off. Guns ‘n’ Roses made some crew changes near the end of the Appetite For Destruction tour when they were opening for Aerosmith, Slash had heard that I’d worked for George Lynch [of Dokken fame] and apparently he was into George’s playing at the time so that, along with referrals from other guys on their crew who knew me, got me the gig. I started at the end of ’88 and the very first week I was with the band, the album went to number one which made me go ‘hello!’ And, to be able to stay on like I have, what can I say? It’s been great. I mean, I’ve been with Slash for nearly nine years now.
>How did you get started in the guitar tech game?
>How did I start teching? Well, ‘teching’ is a relative term I guess! I used to haul peoples’ gear around in the back of my dad’s truck when I was in high school to make some money and eventually one thing lead to another. One of the guys I’d been helping out got the guitar playing gig with Aldo Nova [star in America during the early ’70s] so I ended up looking after him and Aldo for a couple of US tours. I was 19 years old at the time and I didn’t have a clue! I was literally thrown into the fire so I just ran with it. I didn’t know how long I was gonna last, I just decided to do what I can.
>By virtue of the fact you’re still a tech some 15 years later, It’s fairly safe to assume that you did OK though!
>Yeah, I guess! the early years were the toughest because I was winging it for the most part but I got through them OK. Then, it was kind of an evolution process. Once you finally get your foot in the door professionally then every new band you work for is something new to add to your resume. Then, its only a matter of time before somebody says, “Oh, you worked for him, him and him – you must be OK.” Which, as I’ve already said, is basically how I got the shot with Slash.
>From watching you set-up Slash’s rig, its clear you’re a player yourself. Has this fact proven useful in your job?
>Absolutely. But, having said that, it’s not an essential pre-requisite to the gig as there are some really good techs out there who can’t play a single note! Thanks to my playing background I knew how to string, stretch [new strings] and tune but anything more technical than that I’ve basically learned over the last fifteen years, which is a lot.
>Did you ever have any serious aspirations as a player yourself?
>No, it was purely done for fun. I used to play in a garage band that performed at parties but we wouldn’t accept money, only beer! We were pretty horrible actually [laughs], we’d take a Top 10 hit and put it in the low 200s! We’d make ’em wish they never wrote it!
> What would your advice be to anyone who’d like to follow in your footsteps?
>What I always say to anybody starting out as a tech is this : ‘make sure you have a spare of everything’. You may not know how to fix it but make sure you know how to replace it. Your job is to do whatever it takes to make sure that your guy always has a guitar with six strings on it that are in tune and always has noise – or should I say sound [laughs], coming from his amp! That’s something I’ve always looked at regardless of how technical the gig or equipment might have been : ‘how do I keep it up and running?’ After all, that’s the bottom-line when you get right down to it. You don’t have to be able to fix a blown amp on-the-spot, you just need the common sense to keep your guy going, no matter what.”
More about Adam Day:
Total Guitar summed up Slash’s sound completely in their Top 100 Guitar Solos countdown, when they described Slash’s solos in Paradise City:
>”Slash’s solos delivery what so much sleazy hair metal had failed to: the sentiments of the lascivious and sexually predatory lyrics delivered via a guitar. Slash never bothered too much with Van Halen-style tricks, he just tore notes off his axe as only an alpha-male with a bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand knows how.”
And that, my friends, is what makes me a Slashaholic.
Getting the Sound
- How To Sound Like Slash
- Contraband Album Tab – Tabulature for Velvet Revolver’s fantastic debut album.
- Slash feature in Total Guitar – An excellent article about Slash and his sound from Total Guitar, reproduced here on the Velvet Revolver fansite.
Want more Slash?
I don’t blame you. Here’s a selection of some of the finest sites out there.
- Velvet Revolver fansite – the definitive VR site.
- The World According to Slash – a Guitarist article on the Velvet Revolver fansite.
- Guitar Pr0n – Sexy guitars plus sexy guitarists equals guitarpr0n.
- Slash Guitar Page – everything you need to know about the technical aspects of Slash’s guitar playing.
- Slash’s World – excellent blog run by members of the official forum.
- Snakepit – the official Slash fansite
- Slash Online – Slash’s official website