Though Guns N'Roses' 1987 debut album coincided with the rise of shred, Slash's influences were mainly from '60s and '70s blues/rock. 'The Who, Zeppelin, and Mick Taylor – the most underrated player – and Rory Gallagher,' he told us in 1995. 'The aggression side, though, that comes mostly from Aerosmith. I learned some of Brad Whitford's solos, and from Joe Perry I think I just picked up slam-bam dynamics.
'I've always worked hard towards being able to play what I hear in my head. I don't like to over-think. If something comes into my head, I want to be able to play it instantly. That's what improvising is all about, and that's why I go and jam a lot.'
Slash is modest about his abilities. 'You hear me, and it's pentatonic forever – and maybe some minor stuff, because I don't know what I'm doing,’ he grins. A little too modest, we think. But Exercises 1, 3 and 4, plus 6 and 7 are pentatonic-based; Exercise 2 looks at Slash's double stops in rhythm playing, and Exercise 5 uses the Dorian mode – essentially the pentatonic minor, plus the major second and major sixth degrees of the scale. Exercises 8 to 11 look at some chords used in his songwriting, and Exercise 12 illustrates the dropped D tuning used in Velvet Revolver's Slither.