Here is a detailed look at one of My Guitars, in this case the Gibson Slash Appetite Les Paul. For info, I sold this guitar in 2013.
This is a Gibson Slash Appetite Les Paul, the “Standard” version rather than the very limited edition and expensive VOS model, introduced by Gibson in 2010 in a limited run of 600 examples. Thanks to the huge demand from buyers, Gibson eventually doubled the production run to 1200. At the time of writing (September 2012) the model is no longer in production. A full rundown of the guitar’s tech specs can be found on the Gibson site.
Before I get stuck into this review, please note two things:
- No, I’m not a Slash wannabe. I do, however, appreciate his playing and sounds, and he has definitely been an influence on my own playing from time to time over the years.
- I’m not usually a great fan of “signature” gear – it’s either too individual in terms of sound and features, or too wacky in terms of looks – or too plain expensive. In this case, the guitar looks and performs just like a standard Les Paul and, like a standard Les Paul, can be used in many different musical styles. Also, it’s worth pointing out that 99.9% of non-guitarists would never recognise this guitar even if it walked up to them and slapped them in the face…
Guitar was brand new, purchased from Musix.ch, and was supplied with a black “Slash Appetite” hardcase and fabric dustcover. The finish on the guitar is excellent, the nitro-cellulose giving a shiny but deep lustre to the beautiful tiger stripe maple top. My photos don’t really do this justice, but the maple top is very nicely done and doesn’t look quite as lurid in the flesh as the photos may imply.
Guitar neck dimensions are critical for me and, happily, the Slash Appetite Les Paul has a 60’s slim profile which suits me fine. (No 50’s baseball bat necks for me, thanks.) I would say that it is slightly chunkier than my Les Paul Classic (a 60’s neck profile), but only very slightly. The carve profile also feels slightly different in comparison to the Classic, the Slash Appetite having more of the feel of the asymmetric curve that Gibson uses on recent Les Paul models (post-2008). I think I’m correct in saying that this carve is a custom 60’s profile selected by Slash.
The fingerboard is nice and smooth and the frets have been nicely dressed. According to Gibson these are jumbo frets – but they look and feel like the usual medium frets found on recent Les Paul’s. The Tonepros bridge adds another touch of class to the appointments, together with the very handy addition of Dunlop straplocks, the sum of which adds up to a very nice looking and functioning guitar indeed.
Sound-wise, there’s a real liveliness and resonance to the guitar – more so than any LP I’ve owned or played. Even when played unplugged, the guitar is loud, tonally balanced and no dead spots. The action is a touch higher than I would like, but that’s the problem with being a longtime ESP player – one gets used to a very fast, slinky action… I’m sure a little time on the workbench would enable me to lower the action a touch and keep the guitar’s acoustic clarity.
Plugged-in, no surprises here. Full, solid, thick (I’m running out of adjectives here) Les Paul sound and, although these Alnico II pickups are relatively lower output, running this guitar into a Marshall-style pre-amp produces a familiar classic crunch that we’ve all come to know and love. Excellent. As you can imagine, the combination of this guitar and the Marshall AFD100 amp always tempts me to run through every G’n’R riff I know. The neck pickup sounds particularly good on single note runs, even when played through a high gain amp.
Compared to my Les Paul Classic, this guitar has a better bottom and top end, and feels livelier in the hand. Fingerboard is smoother too, and the jumbo frets make excursions above the 12th fret more rewarding.
I’m still in two minds about the Alnico II pickups. I usually prefer a hotter pickup for the bridge position, but admit that the Alnico II is very nice in the neck position. If I keep this guitar I may swap out the bridge pickup for something spicier. We shall see…
Check out this Guitarist magazine video to hear this model in comparison with a Gibson Les Paul 59 VOS and an Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus. Also, Musicradar (home of Guitarist magazine, and others) has a good review of this guitar on their site.
Overall opinion? I think it’s a great guitar and “better” than recent Les Paul standards I have tried out (or owned).
I have to confess that I’ve not yet used this guitar live, or even in rehearsal with the Phazys. We’re not really a classic rock band and so I feel that the ESP is more suited to the band’s musical style. However, who knows? Never say never, as the expression goes, and it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for this guitar to be used on a future Phazy recording. On verra…