DJ Ashba on Gibsons and Gigs
DJ Ashba regularly play Gibson guitars on stage, and in the studio. It’s rare to see him on stage with Guns N’ Roses without a Les Paul in hand. Gibson recently released the DJ Ashba Signature Les Paul, The guitar is quite unique in that it is wired to Ashba’s own specifications. The guitar has a master volume, and the pickup selector switch has been installed in place of the second volume knob for easy access. A kill switch has been installed in the normal pickup selector toggle location. The Ashba Les Paul comes with a super-slick profile maple neck which make soloing easier across its entire length, and makes for more comfortable chording - great for beginners, and guitarists who want to add some speed to their playing!
Here we’ve collected a few quotes from DJ Ashba himself about what he likes in a guitar, his songwriting techniques, and how he came to join Guns N’ Roses.
On how he likes to re-wire his Les Paul guitars, as told to Guitar World : “Gibson has been insanely good with me. It’s really weird. I always recorded with Gibson because, as funny as it sounds, I never got the two-volume-knob thing. It was really awkward to me. I’d be turning one down and it’d still be one. The way I did it, I had them all rewired and had the three-way (pickup selector) put where the second volume was. It keeps it simple. Then I kept the two tone knobs so I could roll one back on the neck pickup for songs like ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine.’ Then I just put a kill switch where the pickup selector was. Once I set them up like that, I had my dream guitar.”
Ashba talked to Guitar International about what guitars he brings along on tour, and the honor of getting his own signature Les Paul: “I have well over 100 guitars and I take about 17 Les Pauls with me. [...] But the cool thing is, I just got a call from Gibson and they are now working on a Signature DJ Ashba guitar. That’s really just a dream-come-true for me; it’s just a big honor to have Les Paul make a guitar for me.”
On working with Neil Diamond, as told to Rock Cellar Magazine : “Neil Diamond is just a super close friend of mine and I’m such a fan. And to co-produce his Christmas record with him and write some songs and stuff for him, it was just awesome. I just couldn’t say enough nice things about the guy.”
In an interview with Westword, DJ Ashba talked about how Neil Diamond actually was the one who encouraged him to take the gig with GN’R: “When I got the call to join Guns, I got a phone call from Neil. It was kind of a big career move, and he encouraged me and said, ‘You have to do this. This is going to be really big for your career, and it's going to open up a lot of doors. I personally think they couldn't have picked a better guy for this.’ So he gave me really good words of encouragement, kind of like my dad, you know? When I joined, he sent me over a ukulele signed to congratulate me.”
In that same interview DJ explained how he was chosen as Guns N’ Roses’ new guitarist: “What happened is that I got a call, basically saying -- I got a call at Sixx: A.M., and we had a number one hit at the time, and it said: ‘Listen, Guns has been auditioning guitar players for about a year and a half on the down low. They can't seem to find the right guy.’ Then they asked if I would be interested in coming down and checking it out. And I said, ‘Yeah, I'll definitely come down.’ I guess Axl got wind that I was going to come down, and he called management and said, ‘If he even shows up in the room, he has the gig.’ So it was kind of that easy.”
Ashba spoke to Guitar World about his songwriting techniques: “I prefer writing on acoustic. I always have. The clarity of the notes allows me to hone in on good melodies. It’s not about chords when I write. It’s about melody. People remember the melody, not ‘The G chord under that was awesome!’ I always choose a great melody and change my parts to create that melody.”
Want to add a cool looking and versatile guitar to your collection? Check out the DJ Ashba Signature Les Paul today!