Why Slash Reached Out To His Old Guitar Teacher After Guns N' Roses Fame

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

November 9, 2022

Photo: Getty Images North America

Slash didn't like guitar lessons very much as a teen and he didn't take them for long, but he is nevertheless thankful for the insight he gained from his old teacher, Robert Wolin.

Looking back with Loudwire Nights at what he gained from formal guitar lessons, Slash credits Wolin with facilitating two major breakthroughs.

Firstly, it was because of Wolin that Slash began playing the guitar at all; the young musician showed up for his first lesson thinking he wanted to play bass. Secondly, when Wolin noticed his student was bored be the lessons in his beginner guitar book, he was flexible enough to switch up the program.

"He goes, 'I'll tell you what — you pick a song that you really did and I'll learn it for you and teach it to you at the end of every lesson. That way, it'll keep you motivated,'" Slash recalls his teacher bargaining.

The next lesson proved to be all the formal instruction Slash needed.

"So I went and I did that, I brought in a song and I sat there and watching him listen to the song and play it and figure it out on the guitar. And I was like, 'F--k, I can do that.' So I subsequently quit my lessons and started playing, that's basically how I learned."

Something clicked when Slash saw up close how musicians learn songs by ear. From there, he used his record collection to teach himself.

But Slash didn't completely lose touch with Wolin. After Guns N' Roses released Appetite for Destruction and began having some success, he got back in touch with his former teacher.

"I gotta give him a lot of credit," Slash added. "And I told him that after Appetite came out. We were on the road and at some point I got in touch with him. He was aware of the fact that I'd taken off, it was pretty cool."

Guns N' Roses is celebrating its landmark Use Your Illusions I & II albums this month with anniversary edition reissues.

Slash said in October that the band has a few more new singles to release in the coming months before touring next summer and getting back into the studio next fall to possibly record a new album.

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