|From the Editors of Guitar Player (mag):
MASTERS OF METAL AND HARD ROCK
GUNS Ní ROSES Slash
WITH HIS TEXTBOOK ROCK AND ROLL LOOK, SLASH IS POSSIBLE ONE OF THE MOST UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED GUITARISTS EVER. ITíS NOT AS IF HE DOESNíT HAVE THE CHOPS TO BACK IT UP, HOWEVER. WITH A STYLE THAT SPORTS A VOLATILE MIXTURE OF SIMMERING BRITISH BLUES WITH A SASH OF L.A.-INFLUENCED FLASH, SLASH IS THE PERSONIFICATION OF THE TERM ďGUITAR HERO.Ē
How did you get started?
My first guitar was a one-string Spanish acoustic that was lying around the house. I taught myself a U.F.O. song and ďSmoke on the Water.Ē My grandmother was really sweet Ė she bought me a Gibson Explorer copy that I flipped out on. Unfortunately, it was a piece of crap. Then I got a Memphis Les Paul copy. At rehearsal one day, I ended up sticking it through a wall neck first, because I could not keep the thing in tune!
Were you bitten by the Van Halen bug?
Van Halen had just come out when I started playing, but I didnít think about how good Eddie was Ė to me the music just sounded great and gave me a certain kind of energy. When I started playing guitar, I did what I wanted to do. I wasnít intimidated by any of that stuff, ever. When Guns ní Roses was about to start, there was a certain point where G.I.T. suddenly became a big thing in Hollywood. Guitar players were doing this very technical playing. I never went for that.
Did you practice a lot?
I was a workaholic, playing 12 hours a day. I picked it up really quickly because I was naÔve in a way. I wasnít star struck, and I wasnít so flipped out by other guitar players that they intimidated me. I didnít feel like I was trying to reach some goal Ė I was just learning. A lot of people go, ďItís gonna take me 10 years to reach this place, ď and it freaks them out. Iím real single-minded, so once I got into guitar, thatís all I did. It basically replaced school.
Did you practice scales?
No. I mean, I must have learned pentatonic scales in a few positions, but as soon as I really started getting into lead guitar, scales went out the window.
Then how do you approach your solos?
I know what key Iím in, but itís more the note Iím looking for. You automatically adhere to certain patterns because the notes are there. It wasnít until the Use Your Illusion album that I really branched out and started using more passing tones in my solo.
Whatís the secret to playing a great solo?
The most important thing is to be able to hear it in your head and apply it through your fingers to your neck in a split second. Thatís what people miss out on. Instead of playing patterns, hear the melody youíre going for. You need enough experience to know where it is on the neck. Iím still learning this; itís something that very few guitar players of my generation even paid attention to. You have a better chance of reaching your goal if you hear the solo before it happens, rather than just flipping around.
Thanks Gypsy for the article.