Slash reveals how he really came up with the Sweet Child O’ Mine riff

(Image credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Sweet Child O’ Mine. It’s one of the greatest riffs ever written – one that both defined the sound of ‘80s rock music and helped confirm Guns N’ Roses as one of the greatest hard rock acts of their generation.

It’s an upper-fret fingerboard workout centered around the E minor pentatonic that doubles as both a smash-hit riff and, for some, an effective left-hand loosener routine, engaging almost every finger of the fretting hand as it dances round the box. Naturally, this has led some to speculate Slash first devised the riff as a quick-and-easy warm-up lick.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer,

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.