Slash names the guitarist that “nobody else came close to”


The rock scene desperately needed a change by the end of the 1980s. The Los Angeles hair metal scene began promisingly in the late 1970s. By the end of the next decade, bands like Winger were playing songs that were too obvious for fans to take seriously. The scene had outstayed its welcome. Slash wasn’t trying to play conventional rock guitar scales. Even though Guns N’ Roses might have been grouped in the same category.

Compared to the virtuoso playing occurring at the same time, Slash explored the depths of rock history to uncover the essence of his passion. A lot of the guitar playing on the band’s debut album, Appetite for Destruction, was entirely new and featured Slash’s lightning-fast leads on songs like “Paradise City.” The band was influenced by everyone from Joe Walsh to Joe Perry to Eric Clapton.

However, Slash had to contend with some of the biggest names in the local scene while honing his signature sound. Since the latter part of the 1970s, fans have continued to hold respect for musicians such as Randy Rhoads. And they have drawn inspiration from his classical style to write songs.

Even though the classical side of the instrument had never interested him. Van Halen’s debut album took Slash aback upon first hearing it. Eddie Van Halen was changing the definition of a guitar god before any of the hair metal mainstays had even begun to emerge. He popularized the practice of tapping the fretboard with the strumming hand to produce wild runs of notes.

Slash never claimed to play in the same manner. But he acknowledged that he had to honor Eddie’s meticulous attention to detail in his craft.  Eddie Van Halen approached the instrument in a manner akin to Slash during the band’s development. He did so by crafting catchy hooks rather than using them as a stage for solos on songs. The solo songs like “Hot For Teacher” and “Eruption.”

Slash stated, “When I started getting into guitar playing, everybody was trying to emulate Eddie. They were all sort of focusing on the obvious techniques and the fucking finger tapping and the harmonics and the tremolo bar stuff.” However, Slash believed that no one could match Eddie’s skill level. Yet, no one after him ever came close to playing the guitar in the same way. He ingrained his method in his personality and melodic sensibility.

Slash’s bluesy delivery helped him stand out from the crowd in the early Guns N’ Roses days, almost being more of an answer to Jimmy Page than Eddie. However, he could have focused solely on that style of playing if he had wanted to. No matter how many musicians have attempted to outshine the master, Slash continues to insist that Eddie Van Halen’s heart, not his technical prowess, is the source of all the magic.

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