As we've said a few times before, it's hard to deny the look of the Gibson Les Paul. When you see that shape you instantly think of several legendary guitarists, and Slash is almost always one of the first to come to mind! Along with a top hat, sunglasses, and sometimes lack of a shirt, Slash has an image that is truly rock and roll. So when Slash wants to unplug from his Gibson and his (way bad ass) signature Marshall amplifier, what sort of acoustic does he turn to?
Well, it's not exactly what you would think; as in, not a Gibson or Martin or some other big name brand. But it DOES have all the exotic qualities you would expect out of an A-list rock star! Have you ever heard of JOI Guitars? Yeah, neither have we. But these fantastic luthiers from British Columbia met up with Slash after a Slash & Myles gig in August of 2014, and inquired about working on an acoustic instrument for him. The rest as they say, is history!
So when you talk to Slash, what sort of things is he looking for in a guitar that doesn't require an amplifier or the ability to have that fat neck pickup lead tone?! Well, Slash, as it turns out, is a pretty simple date. All he wanted, was something that "sounds amazing". Simple enough! And sure enough, Reuben Forsland and JOI was up to the task!
The main secret behind this guitar's sonic and visual beauty is a twisted Mahogany, a highly sought-after tonewood called simply THE TREE. From Honduras, this wood is a one-of-a-kind wood that Reuben was lucky enough to get a batch of! This wood which looks as amazing as it sounds, is totally out of this world. The wood pairs with a piece of 3,000 year old piece of Sitka from Alaska, which comprises the guitar's top. Petrified whale vertebrae will comprise the guitars tuner buttons (thanks to Slash's interest in dinosaurs), and the neck is quilted Honduran mahogany. Reuben decided to go with so much mahogany for both great tone quality and stability no matter the climate.
Are you still intrigued about THE TREE?! Well read up here:
JOI Guitars had this to say about the project:
The world re-knowned, grammy winning, rock and roll hall-of-famer, SLASH, of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver fame, has commissioned a custom built guitar from JOI Guitars. How excited are we???!!! Words can’t express!
This summer Reuben Forsland of JOI Guitars worked together with Symphontree Music owner Kevin Hennig to secure a contract to build Slash his own signature model acoustic guitar. Known for carrying some of the rarest and most exquisite woods and interesting materials for in-lays, JOI offered it all up for Slash, who has chosen an amazing combination.
The “Slash” Model will feature an Ancient (3000 years old) Glacier Spruce top, “The Tree ” back and sides, Ebony binding lined with sterling silver, beveled arm rest, Gotoh 510 tuners with petrified whale vertebrae buttons, figured Honduran Mahogany neck, sterling silver in-lay, 1¾″ nut width, 2¼″ string spacing, and choice of three different bridge designs including Pinless.
Among other awesome features on this small jumbo are a 25.4" scale, sitka/carbon fiber bracing, carbon fiber reinforced neck, dual action truss rod, ebony fretboard, custom Gotoh tuners, and plenty of ebony binding to match the fully ebony bridge.
Reuben also put a lot of artistry into the guitar's rosette, finding a piece of old electrical component inspiring him and reminding him of the volume pot on an electric guitar.
“I brought it home and shined up some of the rusty aluminum wires, which I then inlayed into the ebony around the rosette,” Forsland says. “I positioned the pieces in a circular manner with simple ‘humps,’ or ‘rises and falls’ of the wire, to create the feeling of energy, like in a heartbeat monitor. I then outlined the ebony rosette with fine [pure] silver.”
I mean, this thing is just stunning, check out these shots:
(check out those tuner buttons!!!!)
OK so do you want to see more about the process and design of this epic Slash guitar? Check out their site plus this great new video!