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A guide to Slash’s forgotten guitars

Izzy Stradlin and Slash of the rock band 'Guns n' Roses' perform onstage at the Troubadour where the "Appetite For Destruction" lineup played together for the first time on June 6, 1985 in Los Angeles, California.
(Image credit: Marc S Canter/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Okay, so the BC Rich Mockingbird we all remember – and is still in rotation – but what about the Warlock? And the Telecasters? Slash has more than just Les Paul Standards in his locker. 

Here, we dip into the archive for the electric guitars that the Guns N' Roses guitarist has used over the years, and the acoustics – including one double-necked Guild that combines electric and acoustic guitar in the most rudimentary way possible.

Ah, and for more on Slash's A-list rig, check out our guide to Slash's guitar gear: everything you need to nail the Guns N’ Roses legend’s sound.

BC Rich Warlock

Slash’s main guitar before getting signed was this decidedly '80s beast, which appeared at 18 early GN’R club shows.

It’s immortalised on the live tracks from GN’R Lies, recorded in 1986. It was missing for 30 years before appearing at auction in 2016, where it fetched $96,000. 

Gibson Flying V

In Total Guitar's recent interview, Slash waxes lyrical about his ’67 Hendrix reissue Flying V which appears on two tracks on new album 4. Turns out he’s got history with Vs, having used a phenomenally rare 1959 Korina model for lead parts on Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Live And Let Die

Gibson ES-335

Appearing only with Velvet Revolver, particularly for live versions of The Last Fight, was Slash’s black 335, with block inlays and Les Paul Custom-style diamond headstock inlay. Uncovered humbuckers (black, of course), completed the Slash look. 

Travis Bean 1000

Slash poses for a portrait in his bedroom with his guitars and a Marshall halfstack amplifier in 1983 in Los Angeles, California.

Slash poses for a portrait in his bedroom with his guitars and a Marshall half-stack in 1983 in Los Angeles, California – you can spot the Travis Bean model perched next to his right leg. (Image credit: Marc S Canter/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

These rare beasts have a neck and hollow body all milled from a single piece of aluminium, with a solid wood top. Slash’s heroes Keith Richards and Joe Perry have both used one live.

The aluminium’s stinging resonance is great for slide, which Slash exploits on Shine from the second Slash’s Snakepit album, Ain’t Life Grand.

Guild Crossroads double-neck

Slash owns at least four of these, but arriving in 1993 they came too late for Guns N’ Roses’ heyday. The Tele-inspired hollow body has an electro-acoustic upper neck and a lower neck with twin humbuckers. It’s been recently seen on performances of Anastasia.

Fender 1965 Stratocaster

Slash with a Strat seems wrong somehow, like when Michael Jordan played baseball. Still, Slash has called the Strat “hands down, probably one of the best, most versatile guitars there is.” His Olympic White ’65 model made it onto GN’R’s Yesterdays and So Fine as well as Velvet Revolver’s Sucker Train Blues.

Fender 1956 Telecaster

While the Strat gave Sucker Train Blues its solo, Slash opted for his ’56 Telecaster for the rhythm parts. So, unbelievably, the first song on the first Velvet Revolver album does not feature a Gibson at all. Yeah, we don’t know how to feel about that either. 

BC Rich Mockingbird

Okay, maybe you did know Slash played this, appearing as it does in the video for GN’R’s highest charting single, You Could Be Mine. He still whips it out live whenever he needs a whammy bar, and it featured heavily on Velvet Revolver’s Libertad tour.

Fender 1965 Bass VI

With its short scale and standard guitar tuning, the Fender Bass VI is popular with guitarists: George Harrison and Joe Perry played classic riffs on them. Maybe it’s no surprise then that Slash got into them during his time playing in the Snakepit lineup.

Gibson SG

Before Slash met his destiny in the Les Paul, he tried an SG. They were not soulmates. Arriving at the studio one day, Guns N’ Roses’ manager looked at their van and saw “a fucking SG through the windscreen, neck-first.” Still, Slash’s SG rhythm track survived on My Michelle.

Slash will always associated with Gibson’s classic singlecut. These are his best-known Les Pauls... 

Derrig

When Slash’s Jackson wasn’t cutting it during the Appetite sessions, GN’R manager Alan Niven found a Les Paul replica made by luthier Kris Derrig. Unlikely as it may seem, if not for this twist of fate we might today associate Slash with a pointy headstock.

Jessica

One of two Les Pauls Slash received on signing his first Gibson deal in ’87, this standard is recognisable by its distinctive three-piece plain maple top. Featured on every GN’R tour to date, Jessica’s headstock once snapped clean off during a neck bend.

’87 Goldtop

Slash’s second ’87 Les Paul was a goldtop. It was used on the Use Your Illusion world tour video, notably for his legendary rendition of the Godfather theme. It was stolen in the '90s by someone called Victoria, hence the name of his 2020 signature goldtop. 

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Jenna writes for Total Guitar and Guitar World, and is the former classic rock columnist for Guitar Techniques. She studied with Guthrie Govan at BIMM, and has taught guitar for 15 years. She's toured in 10 countries and played on a Top 10 album (in Sweden).