Epiphone and the Gibson Custom Shop team up for the exquisite Adam Jones 1979 Les Paul Custom – a Gibson in all but name?

Epiphone Adam Jones Les Paul Custom
(Image credit: Epiphone)

Adam Jones’ latest signature guitar has been unveiled and it is the one many have been waiting for – a 1979 Les Paul Custom in Antique Silverburst that Epiphone designed in partnership with the Gibson Custom Shop.

We’ve had the Gibson Custom Shop, the Adam Jones Art Collection. But not everyone can afford the former, and not everyone wants graphics on their guitar. The Gibson USA model was cool, but that was an Adam Jones Les Paul Standard. The Custom is what we associate with Jones. And this is the one. 

It's certainly one of those signature models that anyone in the market for a top-tier Epiphone Les Paul would do well to check out, and it is further evidence that good things happen when the Epiphone R&D team gets to work with the Gibson Custom Shop. 

This latest Epiphone x Gibson Custom Shop collaboration is what made Kirk Hammett’s Greeny Les Paul Standard a high-water mark for Epiphone electric guitars, and it is what makes for another pro-quality Epiphone model that can more than hold its own with entry level Gibson USA. This, as they say in corporate circles, is synergy. 

The Adam Jones 1979 Les Paul Custom is not a million miles away from the limited edition Art Collection models that have been steadily released over the past year or so. The Antique Silverburst remains a Top 10 Gibson finish, and is perfectly framed with that multi-ply binding on the body. 

Epiphone Adam Jones Les Paul Custom

(Image credit: Epiphone)

The core recipe is similar, with a solid mahogany body, a three-piece maple neck glued to the body with a long neck tenon. There’s the ebony fingerboard with block inlays and 22 medium nickel-silver frets, and neat little signature details such as the chrome pickup switch tip.

But there are a few upgrades here – reflected in the higher street price, £1,549 for this new Les Paul Custom, £1,349 for the Art Collection.

The big ticket items are the pickups, with the Seymour Duncan Distortion bridge humbucker now complemented by a Gibson Custombucker, which is the Gibson Custom Shop’s go-to ‘bucker for its Historic Reissue guitars. It is a PAF-alike, designed around an Alnico III magnet, with 42 AWG wire and unbalanced coils.

This pickup is reverse-mounted, so you’ll get a slightly different sound from the Custombucker – less Historic Reissue and more Tool, for those occasions when you want to slip the guitar into Drop D and get to work over some complex rhythms. These pickups are hooked up to a control circuit wired with CTS pots and Orange Drop capacitors, with the typical dual volume, dual tone complement of dials.

Then you have that Gibson-approved open-book headstock, bringing it closer in appearance to its siblings in the Gibson lineup. 

Epiphone Adam Jones Les Paul Custom

(Image credit: Epiphone)

Top to bottom, there are quality details. The neck has been meticulously reproduced from Jones’ original 1979 model – “one of my top favourite guitars of all time”.

There is a Graph Tech nut, an Epiphone LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop bar tailpiece, and the whole thing ships in a Protector Series hard-shell guitar case, inside which you’ll find a 2” convex mirror which might give you a moment’s pause until you realise you can mount it on the headstock like Jones, and create some cool reflections when playing under stage lights.

The Adam Jones 1979 Les Paul Custom is available now, priced £1,549 / $1,499. See Epiphone for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.