By Patrick

slash with 87 les paulOf Slash’s 90-plus guitars, the Les Paul that keeps following him around is this 1987 model he bought just before Guns ‘N Roses became a household name. The guitar features a mahogany body and 3-piece maple top with a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. Over the course of a few refrets by luthier Sammy Sanchez, the fingerboard radius – which probably began at 12″ – has flattened slightly to 14″ at the nut, rounding to 12″ at the end of the neck. The high Dunlop 6105 frets (measuring .055″ tall by .090″ wide) make for easy string bending. The string height at the nut is kept very low – about 1/64″ above the first fret.

adam day with lpTri Flow LubricantThe low nut height makes for easier playing and helps the guitar play in tune by lessening the distance the string must stretch to get to the fret. Slash’s longtime tech Adam Day pays special attention to keep the nut slots polished and lubed with Tri-Flow.

Even with tuning down a half-step and using Ernie Ball .011-.048 strings, breakage can still be a problem. To combat this, Day raised the tailpiece 1/4″ off the body, which lowers the string tension over the bridge and helps to minimize breakage. He also polishes the saddles regularly.

Les Paul 87Slash favors Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups in his Les Pauls. The neck pickup is kept low at 7/32″ from the strings, and the bridge pickup is at 1/8″. The neck is very straight, and the strings sit at a low and even 1/16″ above the 12th fret. The tuning machines have been swapped out for newer vintage-style Gibsons (with a screw-in top ferrule, not the press-in type), and the bridge has been changed to a Gibson Nashville Tune-o-matic.

The guitar’s neck has been broken in three different places: twice at the peghead and once where it joins the body. In spite of this – and the fact that this Patti is a factory second – it still remains a fantastic sounding and playing guitar.

Specs:

  • mahogany body
  • 3-piece maple top
  • mahogany neck
  • rosewood fingerboard
  • Dunlop 6105 frets
  • Ernie Ball .011-.048 strings
  • Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups
  • vintage-style Gibson tuning machines
  • Gibson Nashville Tune-o-matic bridge
  • Serial #: 81757532

Additional Pictures

1987 les paul

87 les paul
(source: Guitar Player October 2001 issue written by Gary Brawer)