Get Jazzed about Guitar: Slash

slash

Slash

Saul Hudson (born July 23, 1965), better known by his stage name Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the former lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During his later years with Guns N’ Roses, Slash formed the side project Slash’s Snakepit. He then co-founded the super-group Velvet Revolver, which re-established him as a mainstream performer in the mid to late 2000s. Slash has since released three solo albums, Slash (2010), featuring an all-star roster of guest musicians, Apocalyptic Love (2012) and World on Fire (2014) recorded with singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, along with rhythm section Brent Fitz and Todd Kerns, known on the album as The Conspirators.

Slash has received critical acclaim as a guitarist. Time named him runner-up on their list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009, while Rolling Stone placed him at No. 65 on their list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” in 2011.Guitar World ranked his solo in “November Rain” No. 6 on their list of “The 100 Greatest Guitar Solos” in 2008, and Total Guitar placed his riff in “Sweet Child o’ Mine” at No. 1 on their list of “The 100 Greatest Riffs” in 2004. In 2012, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with other members of Guns N’ Roses.

If you are a guitarist you have to learn Slash’s riff for “Sweet Child o’ Mine”. No if ands or buts!

November Rain

Sweet Child O Mine

In 1979, Slash decided to form a band with his friend Steven Adler. The band never materialized, but it prompted Slash to take up an instrument. Since Adler had designated himself the role of guitarist, Slash decided to learn how to play bass. Equipped with a one-string flamenco guitar given to him by his grandmother, he began taking classes with Robert Wolin, a teacher at Fairfax Music School. During his first lesson, Slash decided to switch from bass to guitar after hearing Wolin play “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones. His decision to play guitar was further influenced by one of his school teachers, who would play songs by Cream and Led Zeppelin for his students. As a result, Slash stated, “When I heard him do that, I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.” A champion BMX rider, Slash put the bike aside to devote himself to playing guitar, practicing up to 12 hours a day. In an article in Guitar Player magazine, Slash has stated that anyone familiar with his guitar playing ‘can trace a direct line to Jimmy Page.’

I love this, “Slash put the bike aside to devote himself to playing guitar, practicing up to 12 hours a day.” That is a music teacher’s dream!

Timeline

  • 1981: Slash joined his first band, Tidus Sloan
  • 1983, he formed the band Road Crew
  • 1985–1996: Guns N’ Roses
  • 1994–2002: Slash’s Snakepit
  • 2002–2008: Velvet Revolver
  • 2008–present: Solo career

Points of Interest

In 2001, at the age of 35, Slash was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a form of congestive heart failure caused by his many years of alcohol and drug abuse. Originally given between six days and six weeks to live, he survived through physical therapy and the implantation of a defibrillator. Slash has been clean and sober since 2005, which he credits to his wife Perla. In 2009, following his mother’s death from lung cancer, he quit smoking.

Slash has received recognition for his longtime contributions to establishing environmental welfare programs. He is a board trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and has long supported the Los Angeles Zoo and zoos around the world. Slash’s love of reptiles was for many years a notable aspect of his public persona—with several of his many snakes appearing with him in music videos and photo shoots—until the birth of his first son in 2002 forced him to re-home his collection.

Slash is an honorary board member of Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit that works to restore and revitalize music education programs in disadvantaged public schools. He has visited Little Kids Rock students, jammed with them and donated instruments and his time. Slash’s passion for music is evident in his charity as well as his art. “Being a musician is something that is good for the character because it teaches you a lot about discipline,” Slash said. “I think it’s a really great creative outlet.”

 

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