I’m going to cover the simple ingredients necessary for dialing in Slash’s guitar tone. And it’s easier than you might think. Even after moving on to Velvet Revolver and the occasional collaboration with Myles Kennedy, Slash’s gear and tone have stayed pretty consistent.
Les Paul electrics, Marshall amps - you know the drill. Let’s first list all the guitar gear he uses and compare it to what I had to work with.
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With my gear I addressed both the clean and distorted sounds he gets from his rig.
I used a Line 6 Spider IV 150 watt amplifier to come up with the settings but, I’ll showcase them here with screen shots from the Amplitube 4 software from IK Multimedia.
An Overview of Slash’s Rig
My take on Slash’s gear is based primarily on two sources:
- Moshcam Interview with Ace, Slash’s guitar tech
- Guitar.com Rig Diagram of Slash’s gear (looks like this site moved somewhere - I'll update the link when I can find out where)
Before we jump into settings, here’s a look at the Guitar.com graphic of Slash’s 2011 setup, much of which he still uses today:
Check out more diagrams: Original Guitar Geek rigs
Slash uses his signature Marshall AFD 100 head, a JCM 800 head and several Marshall cabs.
His guitar tech keeps two of each amp head as a backup.
Thus, a Marshall amp would be ideal but, if you can emulate a bright, shimmery Marshall-esque tone on a different amp, that will do in a pinch.
Small tube amps probably won’t do the job.
You’ll need something with a good deal of edge and saturation to it.
If you watch the interview from Moshcam, Ace (Slash’s guitar tech) takes us through all the details of the two amplifiers, including the settings themselves.
He points out that both amps have all the EQ knobs set at six and that they make adjustments depending on where Slash is playing.
That’s where we’ll start.
Slash Amp Settings
Like I’ve already said, we’ll take this in two parts; the dirty channel and the clean channel.
The settings are different for each, so you’ll have to either make use of a two channel amplifier, save presets (if you have an amp that does that like the Line 6) or just manually change them.
It’s a bit of a hassle but, what can you do? Slash has two channels.
Let’s start with the clean channel first.
In Amplitube 4, I used the Marshall JCM Slash amp model.
On my Line 6, I left the the EQs at six (per Ace’s advice) and turned the gain down to about 20%. On some amps, you might want to go no gain but, in my situation, I thought the extra push made it a little more “Slash-like.”
The most significant difference between the clean and dirty channel would be the change in bass and gain.
For the dirty channel, we cut the bass back a little bit (to make Slash’s solos brighter) and push the gain nearly all the way up.
Here are the numbers I used for each channel:
Bass: 6 / Mids: 6 / Treble: 6 / Gain: 3
Dirty (high gain) Channel
Bass: 4 / Mids: 5 / Treble: 6 / Gain: 8
Keep in mind that emulating Slash’s sound has a lot to do with how you play and where you’re at with your technique.
At the same time, you can get your amp to cooperate as much as possible, say if you’re covering a Guns N’ Roses song or just trying to play some of Slash’s cool solos.
The absence of a Gibson Les Paul and Marshall amp head will make it more tricky but, not impossible.
While you might not get Slash’s tone down to a science, you can definitely get close.
Your Thoughts and Questions
Have thoughts or questions about Slash’s amp settings?
You can leave a note in the comments section below.
We’ll see you there.
Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of Zippa