Most people swore Jimmy Page only used a Les Paul, but we now know about the Fender Telecasters. Jimi Hendrix apparently used a Tele on the Purple Haze solo. Virtually everyone thinks Steve Gaines used a Strat on Skynyrd’s “I Know a Little,” but it turns out it might have been a Les Paul.
Point is, our eyes and assumptions can deceive our ears. So it was with great interest that I went and listed to Velvet Revolver’s “Sucker Train Blues.”
I ran across a July 2004 Guitar One magazine (remember that one?…my favorite mag at the time) interview with Slash when Velvet Revolver’s first album, Contraband, was coming out.
In the interview, Slash says he used a Tele for the rhythm parts of “Sucker Train Blues,” and a Strat for the lead – “really unheard of for me!” he said. The question I had for myself was whether I could hear it.
That is, now that I know, I will hear it. But would it sound that much different than Slash playing a Les Paul – assuming the signal chain and amp was virtually the same? (Slash said he used his signature Marshall most of the time for that album, but also a couple of Fenders and a Vox.)
In other words, once again, is someone’s tone mostly in their fingers/style?
You be the judge. Here’s the studio version of the tune (the solo starts at 2:47)….
…and here’s a live version from 2005. Live, Slash seems to have played his signature BC Rich Mockingbird on this tune, presumably because it has a whammy bar.