Gibson TV’s The Collection series is always a treat, leveraging the brand’s long-running relationships to poke about some iconic guitar gear hauls. However, the latest episode features the most anticipated guest yet: Slash.
Among the instruments covered are his BC Rich Mockingbird [sidebar: don’t you love it when brands don’t try to airbrush rival manufacturers?], some stunning Flying Vs and his prized ’58 ‘First Burst’ Les Paul, among many others.
However, without doubt, the headline instrument is Jessica – the 1987 Les Paul Slash used throughout his time with Guns N’ Roses and has continued to be a mainstay in his touring line-up.
“I got it in ’88,” says Slash, of its origins. “I was on the road with Guns and I was retiring my two ’59 Replicas that I had, so I called Gibson and they sent me two guitars… [in a] a bright cherry sunburst – both of them were pretty identical – and I started using those on the road.
“Then I had them refinished so they were a little duller they became my main stage guitar and backup all the way through Guns N’ Roses and then on through Velvet Revolver and, now [again], with Guns N’ Roses.”
Host Mark Agnesi notes that the instrument is constructed with a three-piece maple cap, something that would have been considered far from the top-of-the-line at the time. “It’s a three-piece top,” Slash confirms, “It was [actually] a factory second that they sent me!”
It’s pretty astonishing to think that Gibson’s biggest present day ambassador was ever dished out factory seconds, let alone that the instrument would become the predominant workhorse behind his most iconic playing and writing. In the interview Slash reveals that the guitar is still used onstage to this day to play material from Appetite For Destruction.
“It’s more of a medium neck,” comments Slash, after Agnesi notes its comparative slimness. “And it’s interesting because it does really have a great unique sound. I take a lot of guitars out on the road and, with Guns, this has still got this very specific sound compared to all the other Les Pauls that I have out there.”
Despite its importance in his career, Slash is amusingly foggy about the origin of the Les Paul’s name: “I named this guitar when I was drunk,” he admits. “And I do not remember what the catalyst for that was!”
Slash and Agnesi also examine the first ever Slash signature model – a hand-carved 1996 Slash Snakebite Les Paul that was limited to a run of “20 or less” instruments and has custom abalone cobra snake inlays.
Elsewhere, there’s a Black Beauty build tweaked with a custom rosewood neck, prototype #2 of his 2017 Slash Firebird line, 1958 Korina Flying V, a 2020 Jimi Hendrix Flying V that he describes as a “fucking remarkable sounding guitar”, a 2013 Joe Perry Burst Aged (Slash owned the ’59 LP original for a while before he gave it to Perry), his 1980 BC Rich Mockingbird, as featured in the You Could Be Mine video and many more. You can watch the full clip above.
Alongside the video, Gibson is also launching its first book under its new Gibson Publishing wing, which documents Slash’s collection in full color photographs and multiple interviews with the guitar icon.
The limited edition tome, The Collection: Slash, is available in two formats (Custom and Deluxe) at a price of $999 and $249, respectively. Both editions include certificates of authenticity and are signed by Slash. You can pre-order The Collection: Slash now at Gibson.com (opens in new tab).