Slash Amp Settings – Beginners’ Guide to Emulating His Guitar Tone!

Author: Dedrich Schafer | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Slash has been inspiring guitarist for over three decades now. Through his work with Guns ‘n Roses, Velvet Revolver, Slash’s Snakepit, and his solo career. He is a true modern guitar legend.

Today, I want to go over the gear he uses, and how his tone is created. And hopefully, give you an interesting insight into his take on the sound of rock ‘n roll.

Slash’s Guitars

If you are familiar with Guns ‘n Roses and Slash, you might already know what guitar he plays. Just like Jimmy Page, when you think Slash, you also think Gibson Les Paul.

Slash’s love for Gibson stretches all the way to the early days of Guns ‘n Roses, and probably even before. Their first album, Appetite for Destruction, was recorded on a Les Paul. That same ’87 Les Paul has been used and continues to be used by Slash to this day.

His partnership with Gibson has deepened over the years, though. Slash also has several signature Les Pauls like the Victoria Goldtop and the Limited Edition.

He does also play Explorers and Flying Vs from time to time. But his main Gibson is the Les Paul.

Epiphone also makes budget versions of Slash’s signature guitars. The Les Paul Modern is also a great alternative.

Apart from Gibson, Slash also has a love for another brand: BC Rich. When he isn’t playing a Les Paul, Slash can usually be seen playing a BC Rich Mockingbird or a Perfect 10.

The Perfect 10 is a 10-string guitar, but interestingly, Slash never uses the extra four strings. He usually doesn’t even have them connected.

While not an exact alternative, the ESP Max Cavalera comes pretty close in terms of a budget version of the BC Rich Mockingbird. It was designed for a heavier sound but can pull off a lower gain hard rock sound quite well.

Slash’s Amps

Like so many other Les Paul players, Slash has gone with the tried and tested pairing of Gibson and Marshall.

Slash uses two Marshall Silver Jubilee amp heads, along with a signature JCM. These amp heads then go through Marshall 4X12 cabinets.

He also uses the same amp setup for his clean tone. Except, it is a separate set of amp heads that have been modified with KT88 tubes and a 12AT7 preamp.

Of course, this is a very expensive setup. The ORI20H and ORI212 are a great budget amp head and cab combo. The DSL20CR is a great combo amp option. Both of these are more than capable of producing the Marshall tone and Slash’s.

Slash’s Pedals

Although Slash uses a number of different pedals, his setup isn’t too complex. He uses a number of different pedals to enhance and change his sound as he needs it.

His pedals are connected to the front of his amps, with the exception of his delay pedals that are connected to the FX Loop.

His pedals are also always turned on. He uses a Boss ES-8 Switching System to control his pedals if that is something you are interested in.

Boost and Overdrive

Slash uses an MXR MC-402 pedal. This is a combo boost and overdrive pedal.

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem like he ever uses the overdrive part of the pedal. This makes sense considering the amps that he uses.

This means that he really only uses the MC-402 as a boost pedal. The boost is only used during solos and sections that need a bit more oomph.

Since he only uses the boost, and the MXR can be hard to come by, you just need a good boost pedal. I would suggest something like the TC Electronic Spark or Wampler Tumnus. The Tumnus can also function as either a boost or overdrive.

Noise Suppressor

To clean up his sound, Slash uses the Boss NS-2. This is a popular noise suppressor among many guitarists.

Noise suppressors are great when you are playing with a lot of gain. They tighten up your sound, clean up the excess noise and help to prevent feedback.

Slash has the pedal set to reduction mode. This mode filters noise instead of gating it.

EQ

Slash uses an MXR 10-band EQ. This pedal is used to compensate for the Slash’s wireless system that changes his tone.

If you are plugging in straight to your amp or pedals, then you don’t need an EQ pedal. If you do want an EQ to shape your sound a bit, something cheap like the Behringer EQ700 would do fine.

Chorus

Slash uses a chorus pedal to add some extra color to his clean parts. The chorus pedal is especially important for songs like Paradise City to give its clean parts that iconic shimmer.

Slash uses the MXR M234, which is a fantastic analog pedal.

Delay

Slash has a few delay pedals set up in different ways. He has a Boss DD-3 that is placed before his amp, and two DD-500s placed in his amp’s effects loop.

The placement of delay pedals changes the sound of the delay quite drastically. Having the delay as part of the effects loop gives a much less pronounced sound than when it is placed in front of the amp.

It is a bit strange that he uses two DD-500s since they are already stereo pedals. The DD-500 is also quite expensive and I would recommend just using one programmable delay like the Zoom MS-70CR.

Octave Fuzz

For some solos, Slash uses an MXR SF01. The fuzz is set quite low, indicating that he mainly uses it for its octave effect.

This isn’t such a crucial pedal as he uses it on very few occasions and doesn’t even take it on tour sometimes.

Wah

Slash has two signature wah pedals that he uses. An SC95 that is used as just a standard wah pedal for pitch shifting, and an SW95 that adds distortion to the wah signal.

If you already have a distortion pedal, or you are using amp distortion, then I wouldn’t say the SW95 is necessary.

Slash’s Amp Settings

Dialing in your amp to Slash’s tone is actually quite simple. Not just because his tone is fairly straightforward, but because there are photos and videos showing what settings he uses.

This means that we don’t need to do any guesswork to figure out how to sound like Slash. We aren’t making do with a close approximation, but instead getting an almost exact recreation of his sound.

Of course, his amp settings aren’t static. They do change slightly from song to song, but they are fairly consistent.

For overdrive, everything is set to around halfway with the bass being slightly higher. Clean is just the opposite, with the treble turned up slightly, and the gain turned almost all the way down.

The amp settings should look something like this:

Dirty

  • Bass – 7
  • Mids – 5/5.5
  • Treble – 5
  • Gain – 5

Clean

  • Bass – 4
  • Mids – 5/5.5
  • Treble – 6
  • Gain – 1

From here, you should be able to dial in the settings for any Guns ‘n Roses song without too much effort. The bass or treble is usually just turned up or down slightly, with the mids adjusted to avoid a scooped mids sound.

Here are the settings for some of their most famous songs to give you a bit of an idea of how to adjust your amp settings:

Sweet Child O’ Mine

  • Bass – 4
  • Mids – 6
  • Treble – 8
  • Gain – 5

Welcome to the Jungle

  • Bass – 6
  • Mids – 6
  • Treble – 6
  • Gain – 7

Paradise City

Clean:

  • Bass – 4
  • Mids – 6
  • Treble – 6
  • Gain – 1

Distorted:

  • Bass – 6
  • Mids – 7
  • Treble – 6
  • Gain – 6

November Rain

Clean:

  • Bass – 5
  • Mids – 6
  • Treble – 6
  • Gain – 2

Distorted:

  • Bass – 5
  • Mids – 8
  • Treble – 8
  • Gain – 5

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Clean:

  • Bass – 6
  • Mids – 6
  • Treble – 5
  • Gain – 1

Distorted:

  • Bass – 6
  • Mids – 8
  • Treble – 6
  • Gain – 6

More Tips to Sound Like Slash

While the right gear can help you get pretty close to Slash’s tone, there are a few smaller things that you can do to get even closer to the real thing.

Using the same strings is going to be quite helpful. Slash plays .011-gauge Ernie Ball Paradigm strings. They are slightly heavier than standard strings because he plays quite aggressively and in a lower tuning.

Speaking of tunings, Slash generally plays with his guitar tuned down a half step to Eb (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb). Tuning isn’t so important for tone, but more to just make sure that you are playing in the right key.

And lastly, just study his playing. Try to understand his style of playing. How he bends, how he picks, how he strums. This will help you imitate his style, and by extension, his tone.

Final Thoughts

Learning about a guitarist’s rig is a great way to not only understand how they get their sound but can help you to develop your own.

It is also a great way to improve your understanding of guitars, amps, and pedals, as well as improve your understanding of music in general.

About Dedrich Schafer

Dedrich is a guitar player, songwriter and sound engineer with extensive music production and studio experience. He mostly listens to classic rock and punk bands, but sometimes also likes listening to rap and acoustic songs.

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