Slash’s Guitar Riff From ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ Wasn’t a Warm Up

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There’s always been an urban legend surrounding Guns N Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O Mine.’

Before it became a Guitar Center staple, the story goes that Slash originally used the lick as a warm-up exercise. Now he’s saying that history didn’t really go down like that.

During a Behind the Music segment, drummer Steven Adler had talked about the song being a joke to warm up his fingers at first saying,

“We were rehearsing at Guitar Center and {Slash} started playing this circus kind of a thing. And then I said ‘Man play that again.”

In a recent interview with Eddie Trunk though, Slash talked about the true origins of the riff saying,

It wasn’t a warm-up exercise. I was sitting around the house where Guns used to live at one point in ’86, I guess it was, and I just came up with this riff. It was just me messing around and putting notes together like any riff you do. You’re like, ‘This is cool,’ and then you put the third note and find a melody like that. So it was a real riff, it wasn’t a warm-up exercise.”

Even when the band was jamming on the riff for a while, Slash never envisioned it being the classic it is today saying, 

“At the time, it was just a song. Nobody had any designs for it to be a big hit or anything like that. It was just a song that we put together that was cool before we actually made the Appetite for Destruction record.”

While the fans might like the story of the song being a joke from the jump, Slash is still proud to have written something like that saying,

“We’re sort of blessed that we have something that’s become as memorable as that. You can’t really mock that. You have to appreciate that you have something like that in your career that you have a song that is really that effective.”

It might not have taken that long to write, but that one lick has been etched in rock history these days. 

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