Sound Like Slash: Amp Settings and Gear Guide

If you’re a musician, then you know that finding the right amp settings is essential to getting the sound you want. Slash is no exception, he’s famous for his killer electric guitar tone, and a big part of that comes from his amps.

Guns N’ Roses has been a very popular band for decades because of a legendary tone created by unique Slash amp settings and guitar playing. But this can be recreated for anyone who is a fan of the band.

In this article, we’ll look at some of Slash’s favorite amp settings and see how we can apply them to our own playing.

What is the Slash Sound?

The Slash sound is a hard-rocking, distorted guitar tone that is often imitated but never quite duplicated. It’s a signature sound that has become synonymous with the band Guns N’ Roses, and it all starts with Slash’s amps.

His guitar of choice is the Gibson Les Paul which produces a warm tone with fullness and body which is then run through Marshall amps.

Slash’s most used amp settings are:

  • Gain: 7
  • Treble: 7
  • Mids: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Presence: 5
  • Master: 8

Slash uses a variety of different amplifiers to create his signature sound, but there are a few that he is most commonly associated with.

What Equipment Is Needed For Slash’s Sound?

In order to get the Slash sound, you’ll need a few things that are exclusive to his unique rock tone.

Want to learn how to get great rock-tone amp settings, click here!

Guitars

slash signature les paul

Part of Slash’s trademark look is a Gibson Les Paul hanging from his shoulder. This guitar has always been his first choice because of its warm, full and rich tone that has great sustain. It’s perfect for lead playing and is as aggressive as he would need.

He now has his own signature Les Paul models that are standard guitars but with Slash’s personal requests to make them his own. They come with burst-bucker alnico pickups, orange drop capacitors, and Slash’s signature and logos on the instrument. They come in two finishes, appetite and November burst, and are a great start to getting Slash’s sound.

Amplifiers

Slash is most commonly associated with Marshall amplifiers. He’s used them throughout his career, and they’ve become synonymous with his sound. He has his own signature Marshall amplifier called the JCM Slash 2555SL head. This amp is essentially a reissue of the JCM 2555 Silver Jubilee with some voicing tweaks as requested by Slash himself.

He has also used amplifiers like the JCM 800 and other Marshall heads. If you have one, then you can get his tone with the amp settings in this guide.

Speaker Cabinets

Slash also has his own signature speaker cabinet called the 4×12 Supreme. This is a Marshall 1960A angled cabinet that’s loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. These speakers are known for their tight low end, thick mids, and smooth top end.

This cabinet is the perfect match for Slash’s amplifiers and helps to create his signature sound. But if you have a cab loaded with V30 speakers, you will be fine, even if it’s not made by Marshall directly.

Guitar Pedals

Boss DD-3 delay

Slash is also well-known for his use of effects pedals. He has a few that he always uses when he’s performing or recording.

The MXR M234 Analog Chorus is one of his favorites because it adds depth and dimension to his sound. The clean tone in Paradise City uses this chorus pedal, which gives it the sound we know and love about it.

He also uses the CAE boost by MXR. This is a boost as well as an overdrive, but Slash only uses this pedal for the boost it offers. There are many great boosts that can also do this well, so the CAE is not mandatory.

You will also find the Boss DD-3 delay and MXR 10 band EQ in his pedal board. The DD-3 is used to add delay to Welcome to the jungle and Rocket Queen, while the EQ is used to boost certain frequencies.

These are some of the key components that you’ll need to get Slash’s sound. Let’s now take a look at how we can set up our equipment.

Find great AC/DC amp settings here!

Amplifier Settings Rundown

Slash amp setting infographic

Now that we know what equipment we need, let’s take a look at how we can set it up to get Slash’s sound.

Gain Control

The gain control is going to be one of the most important settings on your amplifier. This will determine how much distortion you get in your sound. For Slash, we’re going to want to set this to around 7 for most tones.

This will give you a good amount of distortion without making it too muddy or buzzy sounding. If you have an amplifier that doesn’t have a ton of bass, you can set this relatively high. But if your amp is very bass-heavy, you will be limited to how high this control can be set without becoming boomy.

EQ Settings

The next thing we need to do is take a look at the EQ settings. This is where we sculpt the sound to our preferred settings. These controls are very important, especially when going for Slash’s tone because they will provide the bass and treble we need to get close.

  1. The bass control is an important control. Because the Les Paul electric guitar is already somewhat warm sounding, the bass needs to be set so that it is full but not muddy or boomy. When adjusting this control, finding the right gain setting will need to happen first.
  2. Next, the mids setting will need to provide thickness to the sound without being too thin. This is done by setting the control at roughly noon, then adjusting to taste. Slash doesn’t have a scooped sound, so don’t turn it too low.
  3. The treble knob will need to be turned up somewhat high. This is because of the very warm-sounding guitar. You want your tone to have some cut in the mix and be present, so turn this up to around 7 and fine-tune it in small amounts.

Check out our awesome Van Halen amp settings, click here!

Popular Guns N’ Roses Songs And Slash Amp Settings

In order to nail Slash’s tone, you will want to practice setting your amp according to the Guns N’ Roses songs that you know and love. This way, you can get a feel for what his sound is and how to achieve it.

To help you out, we’ve included some of the most popular GNR songs and the amp settings used to create them.

Welcome To The Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle is one of the most iconic GNR songs. It has a very raw and in-your-face sound that is perfect for cranking up loud.

For this tone, you will want to set your amplifier to the following settings:

  • Gain: 7
  • Bass: 6
  • Mids: 5
  • Treble: 7
  • Presence: 5

Add delay to this song using your effect pedal and set it to taste based on how it sounds in the video.

Sweet Child O’ Mine

Sweet Child O’ Mine is another classic GNR song that has a very signature sound. This tone is a bit cleaner than Welcome to the Jungle, but still has that raw edge to it.

For this song, you want to set your amp up accordingly:

  • Gain: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 7
  • Presence: 4

This song uses a lot of reverb, especially for the intro. Set it somewhat high until you feel it is close to the song. It needs to be adjusted to taste, as every amp has a different reverb sound. A wah pedal is also needed for this song.

Paradise City

Paradise City is another one of those great rock songs that Slash is known for. This song has a bit more of a clean sound to start off, but then packs the punch right after.

Set your amp like this to get the tone right:

  • Gain: 6
  • Bass: 6
  • Mids: 5
  • Treble: 7
  • Presence: 5

This song uses a lot of delay, so set it to taste. You might want to add some chorus as well to thicken up the sound.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is a great ballad that Slash is known for. This song has a very clean and emotive sound that is perfect for those who want to practice their lead playing.

For amp settings, I recommend:

  • Gain: 8
  • Bass: 6
  • Mids: 5
  • Treble: 7
  • Presence: 4

This song uses a pinch of reverb and high-gain settings for the solo. The sustain you need will require a higher setting. But for the rest of the song, simply roll down your volume to get a lighter gain tone.

Slash Tone Tips

If you have worked on the gear and some settings but are still trying to get your sound to match that of Slash, here are some tips.

  • Your choice of guitar is very important, Slash uses a Les Paul for good reason. The tone is warm and full, with a good amount of aggression. The controls are also very versatile, which is helpful. But the big thick mahogany solid body is part of this tone!
  • Your choice of guitar strings will also contribute to the Guns N’ Roses tone. Slash uses Ernie Ball Paradigm strings with a gauge of 11-48. These are thicker strings, which gives him a thicker and more aggressive sound.
  • Your choice of amplifier is also important. Slash uses Marshall amps, but there are others that can come close. If your amplifier has a more British sound and is somewhat bright, then it may work. If your amp is very dark and bass-heavy, it might be more difficult.
  • When your sound is too thin, take advantage of the tone controls on your guitar. While most players set these to the max and forget about them, they are great tools to help shape your tone.
  • Maybe your tone is too muddy and boomy. In this case, you will want to back off the bass and maybe even the gain control to find the right balance of good low end and distortion.

Conclusion

There are many factors that go into getting the Slash tone. But with the right gear and a bit of practice, you can get close. Just remember to have fun and experiment with different settings until you find what works best for you!

FAQs

Which guitar picks does Slash use?

Slash uses Dunlop Tortex Standard, which are medium-gauge picks. He prefers the 1.14 mm size, but you can experiment with different gauges to see what works best for you. With his more aggressive strumming and pick attack, these are a great choice.

Does Slash use a Noise Gate Pedal?

Yes, Slash uses a noise gate pedal to help control his sound. This is especially important when using high-gain settings on his amplifier. The MXR Smart Gate is a great choice for those who want to get the Slash tone. We also suggest the Revv G8 as it’s also a great noise gate!

Which pickups does Slash use?

Slash uses a Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 in the bridge position. These are great pickups for those who want to get a thick and warm sound. They are also good for those who want to experiment with different tones.

Which wah pedal does Slash use?

Slash uses a Cry Baby 535Q Multi-Wah pedal. This gives him a lot of control over his sound and allows him to get different wah tones. You can also try the Dunlop Cry Baby Classic or the Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah for similar results.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!