Gibson Slash Appetite Les Paul Electric Guitar Review

Gibson''s high-end recreations of Slash''s famous Les Paul copy is reviewed.

Download Example 1
Clean - Toggle between neck only, neck and bridge, bridge only. Recorded direct into Pro Tools.
Download Example 2
Distorted - both humbuckers on, recorded through Eleven Rack into Pro Tools
Download Example 3
Riffs - Bridge Pickup. Recorded with PRS Sweet 16 head & cab, Shure SM57, Pro Tools.
Download Example 4
Solo - Neck Pickup. Recorded with Eleven Rack with Treadplate Red preset.
Whether you like Slash as a guitar player or not, you can’t deny the fact that he brought Les Pauls back into the spotlight at a time when pointy guitars with Floyd Rose tremolos were the in thing. When it seemed like every other rock guitar player was playing a million miles an hour with their hammer-ons and arpeggios, Slash’s guitar playing reintroduced the bluesy element that seemed to be missing from rock.

A major part of Slash’s tone was his trusty Les Paul. In 1987, Slash was recording the basic tracks for Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, and he was having a hard time getting a good sound. The band’s manager, Alan Niven, bought a Les Paul for Slash to use in the studio. Slash promptly fell in love with it and it ended up being his main guitar for years. It’s no secret that this guitar was not actually a Gibson, but a replica of a ’59 Les Paul that was handbuilt by a California luthier named Kris Derrig. Back then, Gibson didn’t make reissues, so this was the closest to a ’59 Les Paul that Slash could get.

Over the years, there’s been huge fascination about the gear Slash used on Appetite, and that gritty, warm overdriven sound has become somewhat iconic. Slash has said that so many fans have asked him about the Les Paul he recorded with that he felt it was a good time to recreate the guitar for those die-hards.

Under the Microscope
The Gibson Slash Appetite Les Paul incorporates many of the most sought-after features of the original Les Paul Standards from 1958 to 1960, such as a slim, ’60s-style neck profile and a body based on a 1959 Les Paul, just like Slash’s original guitar. It also features the new Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Slash signature humbuckers, a gorgeous, AAA-grade figuredmaple top with a nitrocellulose finish, and a rosewood fretboard with traditional trapezoid inlays. Hardware includes a TonePros Tune-o-matic bridge and a stopbar tailpiece. The Slash graphic on the headstock and case show the world how proud you are of your cool axe.

One of the major thrills in receiving a brand-spanking new guitar is just opening the case for the first time, and this guitar did not disappoint. The finish on Paul was absolutely stunning! The highly flamed, two-piece maple top features the exclusive “Appetite Amber” or “unburst” finish, which replicates how the sunburst finish fades over time and leaves only a deep amber glow. I love the way this finish looks and it really gives the guitar a vintage vibe. Further, the guitar I received definitely had one of the nicest tops I’ve seen on a Les Paul.

After just admiring the guitar in its case for a little while, I had to pick it up and play it! I noticed a couple things right away. First of all, I like the slimmer ’60s profile neck. It felt really comfortable in my hand. And the guitar was perfectly set up right out of the case—easy playing and smooth fretting, with low action. Just how I like it. You can definitely dig in and do some wide bluesy bends, but you could also play fast and shred if you wanted to. The Appetite Paul is a bit lighter than some other Pauls I’ve played. Like all current Pauls with binding (like the Traditional and the Standard), it has nine strategically routed holes in the mahogany body. When I first heard about these weight-relief holes, I was concerned about how they could affect sustain and tone. However, Gibson says it has done extensive testing showing that, as long as the holes aren’t near the bridge or tailpiece, they don’t adversely impact tone. It’s pretty evident with the Slash guitar, too, because there was plenty of sustain and resonance, even when playing the guitar unplugged.

The Ultimate Test
I plugged the Appetite Paul into a variety of amps, but naturally chose my Marshall cabinet first for instant gratification. The classic-rock sound just poured out of the speakers. All the elements of the Les Paul/ Marshall rock tone were there—thick, chunky, deep tones when playing chords, and long, singing notes when playing leads. I own a 2008 Slash Les Paul with Alnico II pickups, so I was able to compare them to these new Slash signature pickups. I noticed that the new humbuckers have a brasher, more aggressive sound with a dirty tone, and a greater dynamic range that’s really evident with a clean sound. These pickups definitely have a boomier low end, smoother mids, and a brighter, crisper high end than the Alnico IIs in previous Slash models, which seemed to have more of a midrange tone.

Although I’ve been a fan of earlier Slash Les Pauls, I will admit that I was a little skeptical about this Slash model at first, if not simply because it can be considered a replica of a replica. However, if you take away the back story and just look at the guitar for what it is, you’ll discover that it really is a great guitar worth checking out. It’s a well-built, high-quality Les Paul with flawless playability and gorgeous looks. Some players may not be crazy about the Slash logo on the headstock, but it is his signature model after all. Price-wise, it is comparable to other Gibson USA Les Pauls. And while that price may be out of reach for some guitarists, you do get what you pay for. The Gibson Les Paul is a classic for a reason. And with its traditional specs and a few modern enhancements, the Gibson Slash Appetite Les Paul is an instant classic.

Buy if...
if you are a die-hard GNR fan or just need a fantastic Paul.
Skip if...
you don’t have an appetite for destruction and aren’t crazy about the specs.

Street $2900 - Gibson USA -

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