Complete Guide to GN'R 'Welcome to the Jungle'

Everything you need to know about a story behind the song, amp and pedal settings as well as used guitar techniques.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
Complete Guide to GN'R 'Welcome to the Jungle'
54

Today, we’re testing a new song learning format where everything (and by everything I mean tablature, techniques, song info and amp setting) can be found on one page. We think that one of the best ways to spread the knowledge is to do it in articles, well, kinda like a lesson. It's something new for UG so, will be waiting for your feedback.

For the first time we took "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses. There are reasons to why we chose this song. First, it’s one of the bands Ultimate Guitar started from. Secondly, Appetite for Destruction turns 30 this year which is a considerable milestone. And thirdly, that’s a damn good song after all.

Guns N' Roses 'Welcome to the Jungle'

Writers: Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan
Producer: Mike Clink
Album: Appetite for Destruction (1987) (UG score is 9.5)
Released: September 28, 1987
Label: Geffen
Genre: Hard rock
Length: 4:31

Additional Information:
Billboard Hot 100 - #7
Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time - #473

Story behind the song

This song is actually about Los Angeles. It exposes the dark side of the city many people encounter when they go there to pursue fame. Guns N' Roses knew this side of the city well: in 1985, they lived in a place on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles that they called "Hell House." The house was often filled with drugs, alcohol and groupies.

Slash said: "I was at my house and I had that riff happening and Axl came over and he got those lyrics together, and then the band sort of arranged it. We got an arrangement for the whole band, 'cause that's how we work. Someone comes in with an idea and someone else has input and in that way everyone's happy. That came together really quickly too, that was arranged in one day." “It was really the first thing we all collaborated on,” he continues. “And it’s really a combination of everybody’s input. The song had a heavy swing to it – a dirty, nasty groove. But there was also a mid-section in which the band pulled back a little, easing the tension. This breakdown was lifted from a song called The Fake, which McKagan had written in 1978 when he was a member of Seattle punk band The Vains. “I don’t want to say the word ‘bluesy’,” Slash says, “but it had a really cool kind of soulful feel. There was no analyzing this stuff – writing a song was something that happened spontaneously. But in that whole ‘discovering ourselves’ period from eighty-five through eighty-six, when we were living very haphazardly and getting together and jamming, there was something going on that not a lot of people had. And this song just had this natural feel that was very cool.”

There are different stories to where the famous lyrics origin. Axl said it originated when he spent a night in a Queens schoolyard before joining the band. "This black guy said, 'You're in the jungle! You gonna die.'

Jake Query a friend of Axl Rose, gave a different account, saying: "when Axl Rose hitchhiked to Los Angeles, California, on the last leg, a truck driver drove him to Los Angeles, and when Rose got out of the truck, the truck driver said 'Welcome to the Jungle!’

Official Music Video

YouTube preview picture
 
Gear and settings

Guitar

Slash - Kris Derrig build 1959 Les Paul and MAX build 1959 Les Paul replica with Seymour Duncan Alnico II pickups.
Izzy - In the official "Welcome to the Jungle" video, he is seen using a black Gibson ES-137 (UG score 8.9).

The middle Les Paul replica is Slash's first from luthier Kris Derrig. The guitar on the right was built by Peter "Max" Baranet. The instrument on the left is purportedly Slash's second Derrig model.

Amplifiers

Marshall 1959 SuperLead Tremolo Metal Plate (A.K.A. SIR Stock #39) modified by Tim Caswell - used for the "Appetite for Destruction" rehearsals.

Marshall 1959 SuperLead Metal Plate (A.K.A. SIR Stock #36) and the exact replica of #39 mod, done by Frank Levi and Glenn Buckley - this amp was used for the "Appetite for Destruction" recording sessions. 

2 Marshall JCM800 - used for the first leg of the AFD tour.

Amp settings

(dirty) Presence: 7, Bass: 7, Middle: 4.5, Treble: 7, Output Master:6, Lead Master: 10, Input Gain: 6.5

(clean) Presence: 0, Bass: 9, Middle: 3, Treble: 5.5, Output Master :10, Lead Master: 0, Input Gain: 6.5

Effects 

Boss DD-3 Digital Delay (UG Score 9.5)


Delay settings

Level: 80% 
Feedback: 85% 
Delay time: 85%
Mode: 800ms

Tablature

These are top rated by UG community tabs:

Tab version: Welcome to the Jungle tab
Interactive versions: Guitar Pro, Tab Pro

Tuning

Half-step down tuning (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb)

Techniques

General

In this song, Slash uses slide technique and a lot of bends and double stops.

Intro

A dotted eighth delay effect is used in the intro. The delayed notes sound in-between the notes the guitarist plays which makes it sound more complicated than it actually is.

To get this sound:

  • set your delay repeats to 4-5
  • set your delay time to follow the tempo (around 200-300 ms)
  • plug your delay pedal BEFORE your distortion pedal
  • put your distortion at the max

YouTube preview picture
 
Slash talking about his famous "Welcome to the jungle" echo/delay  

To produce a muffled sound in the intro use palm muting.

In the rhythm part to the introduction to “Welcome to the Jungle” Izzy plays a bunch of power chords followed by slide.

In the main part of an intro riff, there are mostly slides and bend/releases.

Verse 1

Based on the same techniques as intro with the additional use of dead notes.

Chorus

Chorus is played with bend/release and palm muting.

Guitar Solo

The guitar solo after the second chorus is played with slide, hammer-on and pull-off techniques.

Interlude

It ends with a guitar solo, that brings a vibrato technique in.

Bridge part

It comes after the guitar solo and the bass plays the main role while one of the rhythm guitars uses long slides and bends/releases and the second plays power chords with dead notes.

The song ends with a long slide.

Recommended lessons 

Intro, verse, chorus riffs and Slash’s first guitar solo
YouTube preview picture

Slash’s second guitar solo and final choruses riffs
YouTube preview picture


Isolated guitar part played by Izzy, except two solos which are played by Slash
YouTube preview picture

45 comments sorted by best / new / date

    axeslinger0u812
    Now THAT is some quality shit, UG. Not a fan of the short news snippets that release daily coming from the same interviews, and the click bait titles used in a lot of the articles, so this is refreshing. The exact kinda content a guitar tab oriented site should focus on. Well done.
    h0spid
    Any suggestions?
    axeslinger0u812
    Well, for one, notice that people appreciate this post, regardless of its length. If we're interested, we will read the entire interview at one time. I'm not opposed to news and interviews on here. Secondly, this article is a very thorough rundown of the song. To include the settings, equipment, and video examples to compliment the tab allows us to grasp exactly what's going on and how the sound is achieved. The background of the song is really just a cool and interesting addition. When it comes to similar ideas, I think a lot of people really enjoy seeing how an artist recorded an album. Watching them perform in a more behind the scenes/making-of type setting helps us identify with them. When you watch them practice their performance and see them do take after take, it's something we do. So I would suggest, when possible, an article series similar to this that goes in depth in the making of a song or album, with comments from the artist themselves, or an interview, that accompanies studio footage. You could also do this with live performances, involving the equipment, pedal boards and settings. granted, this is harder to accomplish then what you have started here, as you need to find the footage first. But it's what came to the top of my head first. You guys often ask these type of questions in the interviews you do, so maybe when you find footage from the studio and get a chance to ask the band members, build the article through that? Magazines often have similar articles, but the digital medium allows for video and sound supplementation, and a richer experience overall. That was long. Apologies.
    hudsonstradlin
    Excellent, seriously awesome article! Here's a suggestion I have: For rock songs (as opposed to metal songs), I find it useful to be able to visualise something while playing it so that I get it right. It's an irrational behaviour that gets the right output. So basically, what the key to getting the right feel for the song? For example, when I play "Yellow Ledbetter" by PJ, I HAVE to have my eyes closed.
    WholeLottaIzzy
    So no mention of Izzy? What about that YouTube video of just izzy's track? You very rarely hear Izzy's part played right. Particularly what he plays behind Slash's solos. Sorry. Izzy fan boy. Excuse my butthurt. Good job otherwise! If love to see one of these on Hotel California.
    GhostHost13
    Sweet. always wondered about the delay on the intro.
    GhostHost13
    I hope these kind of articles are a recurring thing, that was very helpful.
    Shura_FYI
    This is the exact thing we are testing right now =) What to add, where to improve... if it's even interesting
    joaquinnorambue
    The delay is wrong, on the recording he used a Roland SRV-2000 digital reverb unit. Yes, Digital reverb. And it had a "delay mode" that can be activated booting the unit and pressing some buttons (for real).
    Karabiner07
    Finally something fresh and actually proper of a site called "Ultimate-GUITAR". Loving the idea and for the admins, if you're reading this, I have a couple of things to note. First the positive ones, then the negative ones and suggestions: + The details of the song's background are awesome, even more so if the song has a special something to it, be it because it's well known or because there's some crazy or cool anecdote about it. + The gear description is also great, along with some tips of how to get the specific sound for one or more parts of the song. + The lessons at the end of the post are obviously appreciated as well. - Now, one thing I think you should let go of is the whole description of the techniques involved in the entire song. I don't think people are interested in knowing what techniques are being used in every single part of the song, you can download the guitar pro tab or watch the lesson for that. Rather, I'd suggest that you only add a paragraph, or more, for the bits of the song which are tricky or to which there are common misconceptions. Say for example that the guitarist does a prebend and then goes to the original note instead of what most people think is a slide off from one note to one a tone below it, you could make a brief note of that. * Also, a couple of videos, or at least links to them, would be appreciated. One of the earliest live performance of the song, another of the latest, and maybe another of a great cover. Keep up the good work, uncle UG!
    MaggaraMarine
    Yeah, I agree. The description of techniques for the individual parts of the song felt a bit useless, and as you suggested, it would make more sense to focus on the tricky parts or parts that many people play incorrectly. Then again, if they wanted to talk about the individual parts of the song, it could go a bit deeper than just describing some of the techniques.
    zappp
    Thanks for the feedback! Looks like we are on the right path (this time)
    sparky996
    Okay, this is rad. I used to do things like this on notebook paper, filling in the margins and every inch with info on one song. Nice to see it posted.
    cbx47
    This article is amazing! Don't change anything for next articles, keep including the overall techniques and background of the lyrics and song. Fucking perfect.
    Concrete Jesus
    That is fantastic! I can't wait to see the next one. I would love to see Metallica song, but Sandman, or something that has been done to death. Give me something like Battery or Damage Inc. Maybe a newer song from Death Magnetic. Oh, how about Pantera? This great. Keep up the good work, UG.
    tomp19
    i don't think i can make it simpler than this... DO MORE OF THESE PLEASE!!!!!
    Shaggy91
    Great Job UG, this was easily the best article ive read here in a long time. i would love to see more content just like this!
    shanejkenny
    This is brilliant UG.I'll keep coming back and back for this sort of stuff. Wouldn't really matter if I like the song or not. Just give us more of this please!!
    Marcus 90
    This a great idea, and really helpful for learning songs, hope to see many more articles like this
    karstaag666
    The thing I don't like about when Guns N Roses AFD tutorials are made is that they often mix up the Slash and Izzy parts. Most of the time this means all the lead parts are Slash's, and Izzy is just pure lead (which is an understandable mistake). When I was in a GNR tribute act, we watched video after video after video, rare footage included, just to figure out exactly who's part is who's and found Izzy plays a lot of those lead parts in Welcome to the Jungle. Example: The intro, Slash plays that iconic scale run down, Izzy plays the melody ontop, leads into powerchords (using the Db, Gb, Bb strings might I add), and then it is Izzy that plays that run up the scale just before the main riff hits (Slash still does the slide at the end though).
    MaggaraMarine
    Yeah. I think the easiest way to figure out who is playing which part on AFD is by listening to the panning. All Izzy's parts are panned to the left (even when he plays lead - for example listen to the first solo on "Nightrain" and the solo on "Think About You", they are panned to the left which means they are played by Izzy). Slash's rhythm parts are panned to the right and his leads are on the center.
    lagofala
    If you guys hired guys to research and maybe add a community edit part to every song, you guys would destroy every other guitar site out there. This is some amazing stuff.
    ArthurSungward
    Great stuff, more of this please! There's just a typo, in techniques-> intro it says to set the delay at 2-3ms. That's way too short, was it supposed to be 200/300ms?
    xoldxno7x
    Wow, this is an amazing format, well done guys! More complicated stuff than GNR would be amazing ( Jason Becker, Fridman, Malmsteen, Vai etc)
    Deders
    Would have loved to have seen what Izzy plays under the first solo.
    XcessFiber
    fantastic..loved the article..totally want more..can you please do Soundgarden/AIC next?
    javathemocha
    This is indispensable journalism. Thorough and properly researched. More stuff like this please.