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How different would GNR's sound be if something other than a Les Paul was used?


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I know that other guitars have been used in GNR's music (I.e. Slash using a Mockingbird, Izzy using a Telecaster, Fortus using an ES-335 and for whatever reason, BBF uses a double-neck which seems really unneeded when you have two other guitarists), but I've always considered the Les Paul to be an integral component of the GNR sound. That wonderfully fat tone is everywhere from the intros of SCOM to Better and the November Rain solo and just about anywhere else.

Even in today's lineup, it's not terribly uncommon to see three Les Pauls lining the stage at the same time. But what if instead of the Les Paul headlining a song, it was a Strat or a Flying V or a Thunderbird or some other guitar? Would it offer a fresh new take on the music or would it butcher it?

I personally wouldn't mind it, assuming the playing is competent and it can change the song in a way that doesn't kill it. I love Richard's ES-335 and would want to see that more. Also for whatever reason, BBF strikes me more as an Explorer guy than a Les Paul guy. I think all of them could play SG's; they'd add an awesome growl. And a Strat could go a bazillion ways.

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In a huge arena, any electric guitar with humbuckers will sound identical when played through the same setup (same pickups, pedals, amps).

Trust me. I'm a musician, and I own one of each of the "classic" guitar models. Les Paul said it best himself: a guitar is just a piece of wood with six strings.

The reason all the cover musicians in GNR play les Paul's is that slash defined that look for GNR. Had slash been an SG man, you can bet your ass that DJ and bbf and fortress would all be running around on stage with SGs.

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In a huge arena, any electric guitar with humbuckers will sound identical when played through the same setup (same pickups, pedals, amps).

Trust me. I'm a musician, and I own one of each of the "classic" guitar models. Les Paul said it best himself: a guitar is just a piece of wood with six strings.

The reason all the cover musicians in GNR play les Paul's is that slash defined that look for GNR. Had slash been an SG man, you can bet your ass that DJ and bbf and fortress would all be running around on stage with SGs.

I know that. I'm just asking what the sound would be with a different gee-tar.

That's one great thing about this band, the serious guitar porn going on. Love Richard's Tele.

Edit: not forgetting Ron's Korina Flying v in 07!

Are there any videos of this? Would love to see it.

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That's one great thing about this band, the serious guitar porn going on. Love Richard's Tele.

Edit: not forgetting Ron's Korina Flying v in 07!

Are there any videos of this? Would love to see it.

He plays an acoustic guitar up until the break for his solo (6:45) then switches to his Flying V

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I have played some GN'R songs on guitars other than a Les Paul and they don't sound right at all. Playing the November Rain solos on an Ibanez, which I use also, sounds disrespectful to the originals quite honestly. I can't imagine myself playing anything other than a LP if I'm going to jam some GN'R, but if someone else wants to use a different guitar, by all means do it, but it ain't gonna sound the same.

And that video is proof.

Edited by SlashisGOD
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I have played some GN'R songs on guitars other than a Les Paul and they don't sound right at all. Playing the November Rain solos on an Ibanez, which I use also, sounds disrespectful to the originals quite honestly. I can't imagine myself playing anything other than a LP if I'm going to jam some GN'R, but if someone else wants to use a different guitar, by all means do it, but it ain't gonna sound the same.

And that video is proof.

I thought the solo was pretty true to the original.

But hey, I'll take your all's word for it. Would the rhythm guitar being changed make a significant difference? Richard already plays an ES-335.

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With a Les Paul you get a nice thick, warm tone that gives a nice crunch with the right settings on your amp. This is partly due to the body of the guitar. A LP is a solid body guitar which is why you can hold a note forever and it helps with that trademark sound. My Ibanez has a naturally more trebly tone which doesn't work well when trying to play GN'R songs. Too metallic I suppose. You want a good mid range sound which the LP gets. Of course the amp you use also plays a part in getting the GN'R sound. Slash used a Marshall JCM800 head which is the best you can find (my opinion) if you want a good hard rock/metal tone. I'm not sure of his settings on AFD and UYI but apparently he can't even get that sound anymore as per his own words. His tone on UYI is sublime.

So even for rhythm tracks I don't think it would sound right with anything but a Les Paul. This thread has actually inspired me to take some videos of me comparing my LP and my Ibanez to see just why a LP is the only choice if you want to do justice to GN'R.

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I think playing the songs with a single coiled guitar would bring the most difference for iconic parts like Sweet child etc. A strat wouldn't be that bad if it was a HSS or HSH. Pretty sure Slash used a super-strat on the illusions tour for dust N' bones (at least in some of the clips from Tokyo). If one of the guys played a strat it would probably be cool for some songs.

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With a Les Paul you get a nice thick, warm tone that gives a nice crunch with the right settings on your amp. This is partly due to the body of the guitar. A LP is a solid body guitar which is why you can hold a note forever and it helps with that trademark sound. My Ibanez has a naturally more trebly tone which doesn't work well when trying to play GN'R songs. Too metallic I suppose. You want a good mid range sound which the LP gets. Of course the amp you use also plays a part in getting the GN'R sound. Slash used a Marshall JCM800 head which is the best you can find (my opinion) if you want a good hard rock/metal tone. I'm not sure of his settings on AFD and UYI but apparently he can't even get that sound anymore as per his own words. His tone on UYI is sublime.

So even for rhythm tracks I don't think it would sound right with anything but a Les Paul. This thread has actually inspired me to take some videos of me comparing my LP and my Ibanez to see just why a LP is the only choice if you want to do justice to GN'R.

Please do the video, me and some of us would love to see it.
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The amps used matter more. Like said earlier, as long as they use humbuckers it's pretty irrelevant what the guitar model is.

Finally, some sense in here ;)

I love my Les Paul, all $1500 of it. I also know that when playing live, it will sound no different from my Strat with identical humbuckers when played through the exact same pedal and amp setup.

When recording? Well, that's a different story, but still not massively huge.

EVH's tone on his first album? Thick as anything GNR ever did, perhaps thicker. And that was done by throwing an old Gibson humbucker into a piece of shit Superstrat which EVH bolted together himself.

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