Epiphone confirms that future “Custom Shop-level” guitars will use the ‘open book’ Gibson headstock
The brand new Epiphone Kirk Hammett “Greeny” 1959 Les Paul Standard might be the first Epiphone guitar to sport the ‘correct’ Gibson open-book headstock, but the brand has now confirmed that it won’t be the last – and that more Epiphone Gibson-inspired instrument are coming with the ‘right’ peghead.
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Nestled in the official press release for the new ‘affordable’ – albeit still $1,500/£1,500 – recreation of Kirk Hammett’s (previously Peter Green and Gary Moore’s) Burst was a very telling quote from Gibson Brands’s newly minted Vice President of Product Mat Koehler:
“Kirk worked with us every step of the way to ensure this Epiphone Inspired by Gibson Custom Shop ‘Greeny’ model has the same sound and feel as his legendary original guitar,” said Koehler. “It was extremely important for him that we get it right. I know that we’ve done him proud because he couldn’t–and still can’t–stop playing the prototype. Our Epiphone and Gibson Custom Shop teams are continually collaborating and elevating materials and ideas, and our forthcoming Inspired by Gibson Custom Shop-level Epiphone models will also feature the open-book Gibson headstock shape. This version of ‘Greeny’ is undeniable, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring it to market.”
The emphasis there is ours to make sure that you read that right – Gibson absolutely loves to sneak out little teases for future models on social media or through its ambassadors (or its CEO), but this might be its most overt tease yet. Gibson is working on new versions of the popular Inspired By… series of guitars that we were so impressed with when they launched back in 2020… but for the first time ever with a genuine classic open-book style headstock.
It’s an interesting move given that the Inspired by… guitars debuted the ‘new’ Epiphone headstock that was closer to the Gibson one but still different – that was warmly welcomed at the time given how much fans hated the old one, but now clearly Gibson feels like there’s an appetite from guitarists to get even closer with the Epiphone replicas.
Of course, there’s an obvious sting in the tail here and that’s the price. Koehler makes it clear that the Epiphone guitars with the Gibson headstock will be ‘Custom Shop-level’ instruments, and given that the Greeny replica costs what it costs, you’d expect that the pricing would probably be closer to that than the $800 the first venture between Gibson Custom and Epiphone – the Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standard.
But both that first 1959 Standard and the new Greeny Les Paul shows that you’re likely going to be getting a lot more than an open-book headstock for your money – the original guitar sported USA Burstbucker pickups, and was hand-wired 50s-style with top-notch componenets including CTS 500k pots mounted directly onto the body and Mallory 150 tone capacitors.
The Greeny seems to have taken things to the next level by having a period-correct one-piece mahogany neck with the much-beloved long tenon, and a two-piece back with no veneer (most Epiphone Les Pauls have multi-piece backs with a veneer over the top to disguise it) – and we’d expect the new Inspired By Custom Shop models will include similarly high-end features.
Ultimately though, it means that just like with Fender and PRS, the lines between Epiphone and Gibson guitars are blurring – and that’s gotta be a good thing for guitar fans of all budgets.
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