Slash picks the two British masters of the blues


Slash appears to be among the greatest guitarists in America. His combination of bombastic bursts of hair metal noise and grooving, blues-oriented riffs propelled Guns N’ Roses to superstardom. These elements are an integral part of the band’s sound. Taking the lead from Mötley Crüe and Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses created a new all-American sound during the pre-grunge era. This distinctive fusion helped solidify the band’s status as one of the greatest acts of the late 1980s.

Despite being extremely divisive, it didn’t take long for Slash, Axl Rose, and the rest of Guns N’ Roses to establish themselves in the annals of American rock with songs like “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “Civil War,” and even their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” There was no better outfit to take MTV by storm in an era of rampant commercialism. Drugs, sex, and leather jackets were still highly sought after.

Slash is undoubtedly one of the greatest American guitarists, and his Gibson Les Paul model captures the raw spirit of rock. However, despite their respect for the blues, America’s most important musical export, British players with dynamic styles also had a big influence on Slash. This connection makes sense because Slash holds dual citizenship, having been born in London and raised in a Stoke-on-Trent suburb. His parents later moved to Los Angeles.

While Slash owes much to many great fretboard masters, two British legends—Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page—occupy the top spot in his estimation. He has frequently complimented the two friends and former Yardbirds bandmates. Nevertheless, he offered one of his most insightful perspectives in an interview with Esquire in 2014. He talked about how their interpretation and mastery of the blues sound resonated with him. This influence was significant while he was developing his own unique lead guitar sound.

He stated: “I grew up listening to a group of British guitarists who were the forerunners of lead guitar in rock ‘n’ roll during the 1970s. Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page are two distinctly different guitar personalities.

Slash revealed that the first time he heard Led Zeppelin, he was only seven years old. Page’sWhole Lotta Love” fire opened his eyes to the possibilities that the guitar world had to offer. The blues’ expansive twist had a particularly powerful effect. He described his sound as the most sleazy and primordial thing his young ears had ever heard, strongly hinting at how it came to be.

That was also Slash’s first encounter with hedonism. Years later, he would be wreaking havoc outside of his musical exploration and tearing up the Gibson Les Paul fretboard. He was unaware at the time, but he was emulating the man from Led Zeppelin. They would, like Page, comprise the two most noteworthy sections of his story.

Slash made a much stronger point about Beck even though his discussion of him was much shorter. “To me, Jeff Beck is without a doubt the greatest lead guitarist of all time,” he clarified.

Although the late Londoner was best known for his work on the Fender Stratocaster—a guitar that over time became so jazzy that Slash would eventually stop listening to it—many of the Guns N’ Roses guitarist’s greatest compositions derived from the expressive, blues-infused style of his early work. This includes the hard-rock crunch of “You Could Be Mine” and the solo from “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”

It’s safe to say that America would have lost one of its most sought-after players. Slash, as we know him, might not have risen to such extraordinary heights without both British blues masters.

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