Slash says he still gets self-conscious playing in guitar stores

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Having graced some of the biggest stages in the world with one of the most successful rock bands of all time, Slash is probably the last person you'd expect to get nervous playing in front of a crowd.

But as he explains in the new issue of Guitar World, he still experiences nerves, and not just when playing in front of thousands of fans. As it turns out, the Guns N' Roses guitarist even gets self-conscious when playing in guitar stores if there are other customers around.

“When I was 17 or 18 I used to work in [a guitar store],” Slash told Guitar World's Richard Bienstock while browsing six-strings at Norman's Rare Guitars in Tarzana, California.

During his time at the store, Slash remembers, “All these guys used to come in while I'd be working, pick up guitars and play their latest Randy Rhoads stuff for two hours, just sitting on an amp. It was crazy. I was never that guy.”

“[I] never liked playing in front of people in a store,” he continues. “So when I did go to a store, I was always looking for something specific. Then I'd tinker with it for a second and put it down, because I felt very self-conscious if anybody was there. I'm still like that.”

Guitar World writer Richard Bienstock goes guitar shopping with Guns N' Roses legend Slash

Richard Bienstock goes guitar shopping with Guns N' Roses legend Slash in the latest issue of Guitar World. (Image credit: Future)

Elsewhere in the conversation, Slash says that he doesn't “buy guitars just to have guitars”, despite amassing a collection of around 400.

“It has to be something I'll actually use,” he explains. “I do have a couple of guitars that are outside of my normal thing that you're used to seeing me with, but I find that they only interest me for a second, because they sound like ‘that’.

“Whatever it is they are, that is what they sound like. Which is not really what I'm going for. I'm trying to sound like me. So I end up not buying anything too crazy.” 

He does, however, concede that “guitar stores can be dangerous” from a financial point of view. “You go in looking for one thing,” he says, “and then you see something else that you don't necessarily need, but you feel you have to have it... and you end up buying it.”

Slash and the Gibson Les Paul might be one of the most iconic guitar-guitarist relationships in history, but the GNR man maintains that his go-to six-string remains a '59 replica built by late guitar builder, Kris Derrig.

“I recorded Appetite for Destruction with it and I've done pretty much every record with it since,” he told Metro last month. “It has a unique tone and personality to it.”

Read the full interview with Slash in the new issue of Guitar World. Head to Magazines Direct to pick up your copy.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.