Slash is known for slinging a Gibson Les Paul, but he now has a new guitar in his arsenal, and it’s not even an electric. It’s a jumbo steel-string acoustic made of quilted Honduran mahogany from The Tree, an extremely rare and unusual specimen renowned for its gorgeous, intense figuring.
The guitar was made for Slash by Reuben Forsland of JOI Guitars, located in Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Slash and Forsland first met after the guitarist’s August 2014 concert with his band, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Slash’s main stipulation was that the guitar should “sound amazing.” Forsland had a set of wood from The Tree, which Slash requested for the guitar’s back and sides.
Working to Slash’s specifications, Forsland created a monumental instrument. The “Slash” acoustic guitar is a small jumbo with a 25.4-inch scale. It has back and sides of Honduran mahogany from The Tree, which are paired with a top made from rare, 3,000-year-old glacier sitka spruce.
The guitar has sitka/carbon-fiber bracing, dual-laminated sides for strength, a carbon-fiber-reinforced quilted Honduras mahogany neck with a dual-action truss rod, 1 3/4-inch nut width, and 2 1/4-inch string spacing. Other features include a custom JOI Guitars pinless ebony bridge, ebony binding with pure and sterling-silver borders, an ebony fretboard, sterling-silver encased marble for fret markers, and Gotoh tuners with petrified whale vertebrae buttons and 21:1 gear ratio.
The guitar’s rosette is a design that Forsland created specifically for this guitar. His inspiration for it came while on an ocean-side walk, where he found a rusty electrical part among the rocks. The way the sun shone on it reminded him of an electric guitar’s volume dial.
“I brought it home and shined up some of the rusty aluminum wires, which I then inlayed into the ebony around the rosette,” Forsland says. “I positioned the pieces in a circular manner with simple ‘humps,’ or ‘rises and falls’ of the wire, to create the feeling of energy, like in a heartbeat monitor. I then outlined the ebony rosette with fine [pure] silver.”
The guitar was further customized with a beveled arm rest, a shallow heel that provides easy access to the 19th fret and above without requiring a cutaway (Slash did not want a cutaway), and a custom-shaped neck made to the guitarist’s specific width and thickness request, as well as an offset to facilitate string stretching. A custom K&K Pure Mini and undersaddle pickup, and a custom Hoffee guitar case completed the package.