Learn To Play: Riffs In The Key Of Slash

The recently-announced Guns N’ Roses reunion to take place at Coachella has had social media and music news sites bursting at the seams with questions, comments and rumors about this historically huge and dysfunctional band. Who actually will be on stage? Will there be more shows? Is there a record on the horizon? One can only assume that Slash’s nod to the announcement on Twitter cements his position alongside Axl Rose for the first time in more than 20 years.

Slash

Slash

If Kurt Cobain unearthed an entire generation of people who wanted to learn power chords in the garage, then Slash was likely responsible for a gaggle of new musicians who wanted to dive right into soaring melody-focused solos and 100-watt Marshall stacks a couple years earlier. Slash’s undeniable prowess and understanding of the instrument and, more importantly, how it could fit into the big picture that is Guns N’ Roses has earned him spots on a countless number of “BEST GUITARISTS EVER!!!!” lists in the company of Hendrix, Page and Clapton.

In this installment of Learn to Play, Reverb’s Joe Shadid puts on his proverbial top hat and walks us through some of Slash’s most memorable riffs and leads. Follow the interactive tabs anchoring this video to try your hand (well, hands) at this particular brand of wizardry, then head over to Reverb Lessons to find a top-tier instructor in your area to bring it home.

Slash’s tone isn’t all just Les Pauls and modded Marshall stacks. While not exactly an effect-heavy player, especially by today’s standards, Slash has always brought some pedals and effects into the fold for solos and signature riffs. His masterful use of the Dunlop Cry Baby 535Q even spawned a signature model (the SW95) with additional EQ and distortion, designed to emulate the function of three pedals in one space- and cash- saving unit. For more out-there sounds that the Cry Baby can’t quite reach, a trusty Heil Talkbox can be heard on songs like “Anything Goes” and “Dust And Bones,” as well as a number of Velvet Revolver songs.

Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi-Wah

Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi-Wah

Dunlop Heil Talkbox HT-1

Dunlop Heil Talkbox HT-1

Dunlop Slash Cry Baby Classic Wah

Dunlop Slash Cry Baby Classic Wah

An early adopter of now-classic Boss pedals, Slash also relies on the Boss DD-3 for a slight delay and the tone-shaping and boost of the GE-7 Graphic EQ. This simple combination has been at the forefront of a number of definitive guitar sounds, and can do a lot more than just getting you one step closer to achieving Slash’s lead sounds.

Boss DD-3 Digital Delay

Boss DD-3 Digital Delay

Boss GE-7 Graphic EQ

Boss GE-7 Graphic EQ

What part of Slash’s rig do you think carries the most weight in his monolithic sound? Is it the guitars? The tasteful use of effects? Is it the shoes?

Want to learn more? Visit Reverb Lessons to connect with music instructors online.

comments powered by Disqus