Slash teases a new signature Les Paul based on his main Guns N' Roses stage guitar – the “factory second” plain-top named Jessica

Slash and Mark Agnesi with Jessica, Slash's main stage guitar
Slash with "Jessica" and Gibson's Mark Agnesi. The GNR guitarist has a prototype of a Gibson USA model (Image credit: Gibson / YouTube)

Slash’s collection of Gibson signature guitars looks like it is going to be growing in the near future after the Guns N’ Roses guitarist posted a picture of a prototype replica of his “Jessica” Les Paul Standard to his Instagram account.

Granted, this is not Jessica as we know her, the guitar that would become Slash’s main stage guitar since he took receipt of it in the late ‘80s – and one of the many stars in the Gibson Publishing book documenting his epic guitar collection

There are no cigarette burns on the front. But the plain maple top, with what looks like a visible seam that suggests it has a three-piece top just like Slash’s original. And given it is a prototype, there may or may not be some more changes to come. 

Slash, who is now a Gibson Brand Ambassador, draws a lot of water around Nashville these days but speaking to Gibson’s Mark Agnesi in 2022, for The Collection YouTube segment, he explained how Jessica was a “factory second” that the company sent him. Nonetheless, he soon put it into heavy rotation after retiring his two ’59 Les Paul Standard replicas.

“This guitar has been with me since 1988. It’s faded. I fucking dropped a cigarette and it stuck there,” said Slash, who says all the wear and tear you see on the guitar is totally natural. 

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When they talk about player’s grade vintage instruments, this is what they mean. Years of playing onstage with Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver has all but removed the finish from the back of the guitar in what is one of the most acute cases of buckle rash you’ll see. Nowadays, people pay very talented luthiers to make electric guitars look like that.

“You know when you buy used guitars and the neck is all worn off and you think about all the time and work that went into doing that? This is actually from me, so it’s a trip,” said Slash. Jessica was originally a “bright Cherry Sunburst”, and shipped with its doppelgänger, Stephanie. 

Gibson Publishing The Collection: Slash

(Image credit: Gibson)

Slash had it refinished to quieten down the colour but it was soon used as his main stage guitar during touring sessions for Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, the other used for his back-up Rig B. What is particularly noticeable about this guitar is that it has a three-piece maple top. “I was a factory second that they sent me,” said Slash.

Time will tell whether or not this Gibson USA model will be joined by a super-premium Custom Shop version, though you could well imagine Tom Murphy turning up to work with a spring in his step if making a replica of this was on his to-do list, or indeed if there would be a plain-top Epiphone version. 

Slash says Jessica has a skinnier medium profile neck as opposed to the fatter ‘50s profiles on his current signature line, and factory second or not, he says there is something about it’s tone that is hard to quit.

“It’s interesting because it does really have a great, sort of unique sound,” he said. If you catch Guns N’ Roses on this summer run you might see him playing some Appetite For Destruction and Use Your Illusion tracks on it. 

In other Gibson singlecut news, it looks like the Les Paul Supreme is making a return in 2023, after Gibson brand president and CEO Cesar Gueikian posted a pic from the factory floor with what looked like next-gen Supremes in production.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.