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Slash's 10 Favorite Guitar Riffs of All Time

February 10, 2010  |  9:46am
Slash's 10 Favorite Guitar Riffs of All Time

For the first time in Slash’s career, the long-locked and top-hatted ex-Guns N’ Roses/current-Velvet Revolver guitarist will be releasing a solo album (which features a reunion of four out of the five original GNR members—we’ll let you guess who isn’t showing). He also could help you cut an EP, if you win the “Guitar Center Presents: Your Next Record With Slash” competition he’s hosting. Since riffs are his specialty, and he’s certainly playing a lot of them these days, we figured we’d give the guy a call and pick his brain for his 10 favorite guitar riffs of all time:

1. “Black Dog” – Led Zeppelin
“This one seems obvious, I guess. This song is just fuckin’ monstrous. Real, real heavy.”

2. “Over Under Sideways Down” – The Yardbirds
“You can’t not love the blues on this one, how it kinda bops back and forth with the beat. But its also a little bit menacing too. I like that.”

3. “Purple Haze” – Jimi Hendrix
“You take it for granted because you’ve heard it so many times, but this is just such a well-structured, almost perfect riff. It’s very unique, just in terms of structure and technique. Very original for a rock ‘n’ roll riff.”

4. “More of that Jazz” – Queen
“Brian May wrote amazing fuckin’ riffs all throughout Queen’s career. When I first started playing guitar, Jazz had just come out, and this song blew me away. It’s almost completely overlooked too.”

5. “Life in the Fast Lane” – The Eagles
“Killer riff, absolutely killer. God, I must have first heard this song when I was in elementary school. Shit, was it really that long ago?”

6. “Disposable Heroes” – Metallica
“This one’s off of Master of Puppets, which is the ultimate Metallica album of all time. I love the rhythm and timing on this one, and it’s got a real sinister drive to it, too. Like you just know something bad’s about to happen.”

7. “Superstition” – Jeff Beck
“The sound this group gets out of the wah wah bar and the distortion pedal, it’s a little bit funky but it still rocks real fuckin’ hard. One of the best rock guitar sounds of all time.”

8. “Show Your Love (I’m the One)” – Van Halen
“Some bands come out with the perfect first album, and that first record is so indicative of the band’s unique sound. Van Halen’s one of those bands that had it down pat on their first record. It’s raw, and beautiful, and it’s got a real energy, like a fuckin’ in-your-face guitar tour-de-force.”

9. “Back in the Saddle” – Aerosmith
“I think this was one of the first guitar riffs I ever learned. I was screwing around when I heard this riff, I think I was over at some girl’s house. And then this came on the radio, and I realized that I had more important things to deal with. This was one of the sexiest, sleaziest guitar riffs to come along since ‘Whole Lotta Love.’”

10. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” – The Beatles
“It’s trippy, it’s bluesy. It’s light, and then it gets real heavy. And it’s all because they had two separate recordings that weren’t going well, so they mashed ‘em together. Classic.”

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