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Why (and How) We Should Learn Slash's Guitar Habits

(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A crown is not always made of gold. Sometimes it’s made of black, majestic leather and sits atop a frazzled mane hiding a face we mere mortals are unworthy to completely glimpse.

Jet black spectacles further conceal the larger-than-life figure’s true identity, making him seem more like a super hero than a guitar hero.

A Les Paul as his scepter, he commands the stage as we bask in his glory. He has only one name: Slash.

While crazy attire certainly adds to the enigma of Slash, he didn’t become one of the most respected guitarists on the planet by playing dress-up. He developed a style that we can all learn from, and we should start by mastering his soaring vibrato technique. In every memorable Slash solo, there’s at least one moment where he hits a bend that splits the skies and fires a beam of white light from his guitar.

The mechanics rely on the popular “claw” grip that many masters of the frets have used, including Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. I’ve also identified a particular tonality Slash uses in his playing, which I’ve dubbed the “Slash scale.” It’s a combination of pentatonic and non-diatonic chord tones that breaks down the walls between blues and hard rock, forming a sound that many guitar players would eventually be influenced by, whether they liked it or not.

The guitar habits of Slash are outlined in the video below, but one thing that can’t be taught is his uncanny love of animals. Apparently, it’s normal for guitar gods to own 80 pet snakes. I’ll let you work that one out for yourself.

Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win. His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.