GUNS N’ ROSES DUFF MCKAGAN On How He Became A Bass Player: ‘I Had Sold My Drum Kit; My Guitar Was Taken By The LAPD, And I Had This Yamaha Bass.’

Guns N’ Roses Duff McKagan talked during an interview at NAMM show where he told about his early days. Take a look:

“I had an older brother, Bruce, who’s a left-handed player. I write left-handed, so I was originally a left-hander because he had a left-handed bass. He taught me ‘Birthday’ by The Beatles, which is the major blues scale, basically.

“That was all I really [knew], but that’s enough to get you through a long time. He left the house, and I bought a Gibson EBO bass when I was 13 with paper-route money from the Seattle Times. $125 bucks. I’m sure it was stolen.

“I got a guitar sometime after that. I was a drummer also at the time. I played somebody else’s drum kit and finally was able to scrape together the money to get a drum kit when I was probably about 17. So I had a bass; I had a guitar; I had a drum kit.

“The decision was made to save up the money to come to LA and try my hand down here. My drum kit was a piece of shit, so I sold that in Seattle. I had some money from work that I’d saved up. By this time, the Gibson EBO, I don’t know what happened to that thing…

“I got a Yamaha bass, and I had B.C. Rich double-cutaway, Les Paul Junior-type of guitar. I moved down here and pawned my guitar a couple of times. It turns out that guitar was stolen from LA five years prior to me coming to LA. The cops came to my apartment and took the guitar away, so all I had left was a bass.

“I had sold my drum kit; my guitar was taken by the LAPD, and I had this Yamaha bass. That was right about the same time that I met Slash through an ad in the Recycler, and Izzy [Stradlin] had moved across the street.

“Bass was basically what I was going to play whether I liked it or not. That’s all I had, and things lined up for me perfectly that I was going to be a bass player. When Guns started was when I really started paying attention to bass players.”

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