Slash Wanted To Be A Bassist Before Picking Up Guitar
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
November 7, 2019
One of the world's most recognizable lead guitarists initially wanted to play the bass.
"When I first decided to go take lessons, I was actually intending on learning how to play bass," the Guns N' Roses icon recalled. "[Former GNR drummer] Steve Adler was the one that really turned me on to guitar in the first place..."
Slash didn't have a guitar or a bass when he showed up for his first lesson at age 10, so he and his instructor spent their time talking about music.
"...[A]nd while he was talking to me, he was playing guitar and he was playing some licks off of a Cream record, and I was like, 'That's what I want to do,'" he continued. "And he goes, 'That's not bass, that's lead guitar.' I was so ignorant, I had no real idea what the difference was, and so I went out and I got a guitar and I've been playing guitar ever since."
The future Global Brand Ambassador for Gibson Guitars went out and bought a guitar and began taking lessons. He did not like it.
But that's when his instructor made him a deal: if Slash (then known as Saul) learned the boring stuff that he didn't like, the teacher promised to show him how to play any song.
"So I did the lesson, I came back, he taught me how to play — think it was 'Tangerine' by Led Zeppelin," the guitar hero recalled. "He just put the record on and then listened to it and learned it, and then we did this again."
It blew young Slash's mind to learn that he could just learn to play songs by just listening to them. After several more lessons, he quit and started teaching himself by ear.
"Give full credit to — Robert was his name," Slash added. "I learned a lot of s--t, you know? ...And just watching him play, he's still one of the best guitar players I ever met, this guy, really f---ing great, very well-rounded guitar player."
For the first time in three years since reuniting with Guns N' Roses, Slash has the next several months off the road till his next batch of shows in South American in late-March 2020.
This past summer, Slash confirmed that the band plans to focus on new material during its time off. It's unclear whether the band is angling at doing a full-length album of new music, but the guitarist has also said his hope is to create another GNR LP.
Photo: Getty Images