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How To Sound Like Slash
 

     Every guitar player recognizes Slash's talent. He's one of the best guitar players of all time.
     Slash doesn't use music to express his guitar skills. He uses his guitar to express his feelings in his songs. Slash prefers to play melodic music rather than play
     fast stuff (although he can play fast).

     How to sound like Slash? If you want to play like Slash you don't need to be able to read music notation, music theory, .... You'll only need
     to know how to play some scales, chords and the most difficult part, put all your feelings into your guitar! I can help you with the first but the second is up
     to you. I mean, every guitar player that plays for 1 year can play Sweet Child O'Mine intro but the hard part is creating a beautiful intro like that, not to play it!
     Slash has also some difficult solos so you'll have to practice your picking technique and your fingers speed if you want to play them.

     First let's tune up. Slash uses standard tuning half step down ( 1 - Eb, 2 - Bb, 3 - Gb, 4 - Db, 5 - Ab, 6 - Eb).
     Sometimes Slash uses alternative tunings for playing slide guitar: the open G tuning half step down ( 1 - Db, 2 - Bb, 3 - Gb, 4 - Db, 5 - Gb, 6 - Db)
     like in Bad Obsession and open D tuning half step down (1- Db, 2 - Ab, 3 - F, 4 - Db, 5 - Ab, 6 - Db) like in Beggars & Hangers On, Rusted Heroes, ...

        Rhythm parts:

          Clean rhythms: Slash supports mainly is rhythm clean parts with major / minor chords. You must be able to play all the following major chords

 

          and minor chords.
 

 

         Rather than playing this chords open, Slash arpeggio them (like Paradise City intro, Sweet Child O'Mine, Yesterdays, Beggars & Hangers-On, Civil,
         War, Serial Killer, November Rain, Don't Cry, Back And Forth Again, ....)
         Ex: Back And Forth Again - Slash plays this rhythm in skip strings arpeggios of the D, C and G major chords.

          Distorted rhythms: Slash supports mainly is rhythm distorted parts with power chords. Power chords are two notes at an interval of a fifth.
          These notes are more frequently used on the 2 lower strings and produce a real aggressive sound very common in Hard Rock / Heavy Metal.
          Playing power chords is easy: you just have to memorize their shape (which is the same for chords played in the 5th or 6th strings) and play them
          all over the neck starting in the key you want (you may use an upper octave note of the chord you're playing like the next example):

 

         Ex: It's So Easy main riff:
                          Bb                      G                                   E
         |------------------- |------------------- |-------------------------------|
         |------------------- |------------------- |-------------------------------|
         |------3-----3------|------------------- |-------------------------------|
         |------3-----3------|------5-------5----|-------5-------5-----5----5-- |
         |------1-----1------|------5-------5----|-------7-------7-----7----7-- |
         |------------------- |------3-------3----|---0-------0--------------- - -|
 

       Solos:

          Playing solos is harder than playing rhythms. If you're not used to play solos than don't be to hard to yourself if you can't play some Slash solos because
          they're not very easy. But with time and lots of practice, you'll be able to play them! You have to push yourself to play things you've never played so you
          can improve your guitar playing. Slash doesn't know how to read music, music theory, intervals, ... Than how he comes up with those great solos?
          There are scales you can use for playing solos. A scale is 'a bunch of notes for one specific key :)' that when you play those notes, they always sound good
          to that specific key! It's the right combination between those notes (and between different scales) that produces beautiful solos. The hardest part when
          you play solos is to remember the shape of the scale that you're using. With practice this problem will be solved because you'll memorize all the scales.

          Before we start learning the scales, let's look at some "tools" that Slash (and every guitar player) uses:
          - Let's start bending notes: to bend a note, you just pick a fretted string and pull it up or down as you wish. It's very simple. You just have to be careful
            on the 1st string (you have to pull the string up because if you pull it down, it'll get out of the neck) and on the 6th string (you have to pull the string down).
            Slash mainly uses half bends (you bend 1 fret) and full bends (you bend 2 frets). You can also pre-bend a note and then pick that note releasing the
            bend - this is called bend release - and Slash mainly releases a full bend or a half bend. The last thing you can do is play a note, bend it and then releasing
            it ( bend and bend release). Here's the notation I'll use in my tabs:
                 B = Full bend
                 b = Half bend
                 rB = Full bend release
                 rb = Half bend release
                 Br = Full bend and release it
                 br = Half bend and release it
          - The next thing is doing Hammer On: you just pick a note and when it's still ringing, you fret an upper note on the same string. In the opposite
             there is the Pull off which is done by picking one note and when it's still ringing, you take your finger of the fret. Here's the notation I'll use in my tabs:
                 h = Hammer On
                 P = Pull off
          - The next thing is scratch. To do this, you just put any of your hands over the string without fretting the notes and pick the string. Here's the notation
            I'll use in my tabs:
                 sc = Scratching
          - The next thing is slide. You just pick a string (fretted or not) and slide your hand over the frets to the desired note on the same string.. Here's the
             notation I'll use in my tabs:
                 s = Slide
          - At last (but definitely not least ;) is the vibrato. You just have to play a fretted note and then pull the string up and down while the note is still
             ringing. Slash uses a lot this technique so I wont assinalate this technique in the tabs. Use it when you feel like you need to use it.
 
 
          Scales:
          ALL DIAGRAM SCALES PICTURED HERE ARE IN THE A KEY - To play them in other keys just apply the scale diagram to the desired key.
                                                                                                                         The Blue Dots are the key of the scale.

          Let's start with the A Scale Major:

 

          There are lot's of notes so it will be very difficult to memorize all of them right? A trick you can use is to memorize it by frets, like first memorize all
          the notes in the 4th ,5th, 6th and 7th frets (this is called box positions - Slash uses this trick), then 8th, 9th, ... and then link them all on the end.
          Believe me, this looks harder than it really is. With practice, you'll be fine! Slash uses this scale to play major progressions (like Rocket Queen final.
          solo, Sweet Child O'Mine first solos, Used To Love Her, Beggars & Hangers On, Patience, Knocking On' Heavens Door, ...).
          Ex: Sweet Child O'Mine Intro uses the D Major Scale:
                   D      (repeat this twice)                           C  (repeat this twice)                                G    (repeat this twice)
         |----------------------15------14-------|----------------------15------14---------|---------------------15-------14-------|
         |-------15------------------------------ |-------15-------------------------------- |-------15------------------------------ |
         |------------14--12-------14------14-- |------------14--12-------14------14---- |--12-------14--12-------14-------14--|
         |--12----------------------------------- |--14------------------------------------- |------------------------------------- -- |
         |------------------------------------ --- |--------------------------------------- -- |------------------------------------- -- |
         |------------------------------------ --- |-------------------------------------- --- |------------------------------------- -- |
 

          Let's move on to the scale that Slash uses most: The Blues Scale:

 

          This scale produces a very bluesy sound. This is the most used scale in Hard Rock. Once again, memorize this scale by boxes and then link it all. Slash
          uses this scale in almost every solo (or part of the solo) he does. Just listen to every single Appetite For Destruction song, Reckless Life, Move To The
          City, almost every song from the Illusions albums and Snakepit albums, guest appearances, ...
          Ex: The following part of Welcome To The Jungle solo uses the C# Blues Scale:
                 C#                           B                             C#                    B                        C#                          B    .
         |-----------------|---------------------|----------------|-------------- ---|--b7--------------|-------------------- | ......
         |-----------------|---------------------|-----5-----b7--|--7--rb7--5--7--|--b7--rb7--5- - --|------------5----5--| ......
         |-----------------|------------- --4----|--6-----6--- -- |----------------- |---------- -- --6--|--4----s-6----6---- | ......
         |-----2------b4--|--4- ----4-s-6-- --- |----------------|----------------- |------------------ |-------------------- | ......
         |--4-----4---- - -|---------------------|----------------|----------------- |------------------ |-------------------- | ......
         |-----------------|---------------------|----------------|----------------- |------------------ |-------------------- | ......
 

          The next scale is the Minor Relative Scale:

 

          Slash uses a lot this scale. If you already memorized the Major Scale, it's very easy to memorize this scale since it's exactly the same as a major scale!
          The only difference is the key where this scale starts which is a minor third down of the major scale. For example, playing the C Major Scale it's the same
          as playing the A Minor Relative Scale. Anyway, what you need to know is if you want to use this scale, use de Major Scale starting in the key located 3
          frets up the key you're using (A Minor Relative Scale = C Major Scale, ... , E Minor Relative scale = G Major Scale, ....).
          This scale is used to produce bluesy sounds with a kind of a dramatic sound. Slash uses this scale in most of his solos (or in parts of the solos).
          Ex: The following part of Sweet Child O'Mine Solo uses the E Minor Relative Scale:
                                                                                        A
             |-----12-h-14-h-15-p-14-p-12-------14------12--h--14--p--12-------12---------------------|
             |----------------------------------15------15-----------------------15-------Br15--12--B15--|
             |------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
             |------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
             |------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
             |------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

          The last scale I'll present here is the Minor Harmonic Scale:

 

          This Scale produces a very exotic sound and isn't much used by Slash but you can find some examples of Slash using this scale like part of Neither
          Can I Solo, part of Sweet Child O'Mine, Obsession / Confession and one another song that I'll tell you later.
          Ex: Sweet Child O'Mine - part of the solo that uses the Minor Harmonic Scale of E:
                                                                                                         A
                 |-----------------------------------7-h8-p7-h11--7-h8-h11-s-12--11-h-12-h14-s-15--12-h-14-h-15-p14-12--|
                 |----------7-h-8-p-7-----7--b11---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
                 |---8--9---------------8------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
                 |------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
                 |------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
                 |------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
          Do you know were else Slash uses this scale? When he plays the Double Talkin' Jive Solo. If you want this scale to have a spanish sound it's very easy:
          the process is very similar to the Melodic Minor Scale <=> Major Scale. You just have to use the Minor Melodic scale starting in the Key 5 frets up
          the key you're using. For example, if you're playing in the E key, you should use the Scale Minor Harmonic of A (like in Double Talkin Jive).
 

      Well, this is pretty much it. Take some time practicing (or jamming with records like Slash did) all this chords and scales and you'll be using the same
      'tools' Slash uses when he plays guitar. Don't forget that as important as your technique is the feeling you put to your playing. That's the big difference between
      Slash and most of other guitar players. Playing guitar is not a race or an acrobatic show of your fingers! It's not as fast as you can play that matters, it's the
      quality of the expression that makes the difference!
 

      Some Slash quotes:

      "I don't practice. The way I learned was playing with other musicians that  played 10 times better than me."
 
     "Guitar.com: When youíre not working on something specific do you have a practice regimen?
      Slash: No. Iím fucking terrible. Iím really disciplined when Iím focused on something, when I know what Iím doing butÖ Hereís a classic scenario: Iíll be
      sitting there watching TV and thereís not fuck-all to do, and I wonít hang out with anybody and Iím just watching the food network and Iíll keep looking at the
      guitar case. So Iíll open it, and take the guitar out and sit it standing up. I have to go through this whole ritual -- and then once I have it with me I donít put it
      down and maybe Iíll write somethingÖ I make myself play because I have to do it, but when it comes to just practicing, the best thing for me is to go out and
      do  a fuckiní physical full-out rehearsal. Thatís when the whole physical thing comes into it and you realize that ten hours a day of practicing doesnít mean shit
      because the whole thing is completely different. I learned that a long time ago. No venue is the same, and playing in your bedroom is not the same as playing in
      front of people. Playing at rehearsal is not the same as playing in front of people and playing with [one group of] people is not the same as playing with some
      other different people.
      Guitar.com: So you play every day?
      Slash: Either that or I donít play at all."

     "Sweet Child O' Mine was a joke. It was a fluke. I was sitting around making funny faces and acting like an idiot and played that riff. Izzy started playing the
      chords that I was playing, strumming them, and all of a sudden Axl really liked it. I hated that song because it was so stupid at first (laughs). I hated the guitar
     part. Now I really like it because I've gotten it to the point where it sounds really good when I play it live, and I'm so used to the song so I like it a lot more.
     But it definitely wasn't something I hummed out of my head. It was more like me f***ing around with the guitar."
 
 
 
 


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