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The Secrets Behind Slash's Guitar Sound on GNR's "Welcome to the Jungle"

Slash in action in the Eighties.

Slash in action in the Eighties.
(Image credit: Eddie Malluk/AtlasIcons.com)

“WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE”

Guns N' Roses, Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Guitarist:
Slash

With its gutter-punk attitude and the raunchiest dual-guitar attack since Aerosmith’s Rocks, “Welcome to the Jungle” was the perfect choice for the first U.S. single release by Guns N’ Roses in 1987.

The song made a potent first impression, mostly thanks to Slash’s dramatic delay-driven intro, massive power chords and blues-infused solos, which made a perfect foil for Axl Rose’s wailing vocals.

Slash’s tone throughout the song comes courtesy of the timeless Les Paul/Marshall combination. While metal guitar tones of the time were all about scooping out the midrange, Slash’s tone is predominantly mids. A Frank Levi–modified Marshall 1959 Super Lead head (#36) rented from L.A.’s Studio Instrument Rentals provided boosted gain crunch and additional midrange honk. For the clean section in the middle, Slash simply rolled down the guitar’s volume control (low/medium-output pickups and a non-master volume amp are key for this approach).

For most of “Jungle” Slash’s tone is bone dry, but on the intro and for a few special “stab” and slide effects, producer Mike Clink employed a favorite secret weapon—the Roland SRV-2000 Digital Reverb. While the SRV offers outstanding reverb effects for guitar, it also can convert into a dedicated digital delay unit by holding down a “secret” control button configuration when powering on, which Clink used for the intro.

The SRV unit plays a crucial role in Slash’s sound throughout Appetite, including the intro to “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”

ORIGINAL GEAR

GUITAR: Mid-Eighties Kris Derrig ’59 Les Paul Standard replica with Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro humbuckers (bridge pickup)

AMP: 1977 100-watt Marshall Super Lead model 1959 with “Superkill” modification by Frank Levi and Glenn Buckley (Presence: 8, Bass: 5, Middle: 8.5, Treble: 7, Volume 1: 10; guitar plugged into Channel 1 top input)

CABINET: Marshall 1960 4x12 with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers

EFFECTS: Roland SRV-2000 Digital Reverb (set to “secret” delay mode: hold down Reverb/Non Linear, Write and Room Simulate buttons while powering on; Delay Time: 318ms, Feedback: 30, Output: 50)—used on intro only; for “stabs” and slide part increase delay time to 425ms and pair with an additional SRV-2000 in plate A reverb setting.

STRINGS/TUNING: .010–.046 Ernie Ball Slinky/Eb Standard (i.e. tuned down half step to Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb)

PICK: Dunlop Tortex 2.0mm

GET THE SOUND, CHEAP!: Marshall DSL5C combo, Epiphone Les Paul Traditional PRO-II, Boss DD-3 Digital Delay

TONE TIP: Place the delay in the Marshall’s effects loop and set the controls for a dotted-eighth note delay, about five-to-six repeats and a 50/50 wet/dry mix for a combination of rhythmic delays and reverb-like decay.