Epiphone unveils pair of stunning and generously spec’d Jerry Cantrell signature Les Paul Customs

Jerry Cantrell
(Image credit: Epiphone)

Jerry Cantrell’s collaboration with Gibson brands continues apace as Epiphone has unveiled a pair of signature guitars for the Alice In Chains guitarist. 

One is a premium-build version of his legendary ‘Wino’ Les Paul Custom, which was given a Murphy Lab Custom Shop release by Gibson last August, and the other is a Prophecy Les Paul Custom model in Bone White. These models join a pair of Gibson Jerry Cantrell signature Songwriter acoustics which were unveiled in February.

The silhouettes and the fundamentals of these new Les Paul Customs are quite similar. Both have weight-relieved mahogany bodies (the Prophecy Ultra Modern, the ‘Wino’ nine-hole) with a maple cap, glued-in mahogany necks and artist profile necks topped with 12” radius ebony fingerboards. 

Their fingerboards are bound, with multi-ply binding on the body and headstock, and you’ll find both come fitted with an LockTone tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece. Cantrell’s name is on the truss rod cover and his JJ logo is on the headstock’s rear.

But these are quite different guitars. The Prophecy model promises a more contemporary feel courtesy of its 22 jumbo frets (the Dark Wine Red model’s are regular medium jumbo), and a wider range of sounds courtesy of its multi-voiced Fishman Fluence humbucker pairing.

Like the other Prophecy models, this Cantrell Les Paul Custom has a two volume, two tone setup and the customary three-way pickup selector mounted on the shoulder, but there are alternate voices available for the pickups, with a push-pull on the pots splitting the coils and accessing a more classic sounding PAF-style electric guitar pickup sound.

The Bone White model is a bold look. Where the ‘Wino’ model has traditional block inlays on the ebony ‘board, this has the Circle in Diamond custom inlays that reference the Jerry Cantrell Songwriter acoustic electric guitar, and the knurled metal control knobs give it a more metal vibe. That, after all, is what the Epiphone’s Prophecy series is all about.

As for the ‘Wino’ model, it looks the part in Dark Wine Red. The gold hardware might lack the locking Grover Rotomatics of the Prophecy, but we still have a set of stable Rotomatics here with kidney bean-style buttons.

At this price point, it’s no surprise we don’t have the Fishman Powerbridge piezo and the stereo dual output jack of the Murphy Lab model but then that is a little niche. 

What we do have is a dual-humbucker pairing of an open-coil 98T Pro in the bridge and an Alnico Classic Pro at the neck, with the typical two volume, two tone control setup.

The ‘Wino’ has a single-ply pickguard and Speed Knobs in black. Both guitars ship in a hard-shell case with Cantrell’s name stencilled on the front. It will be interesting to play both side by side to see how the feel compares, and in particular what effect the different weight-relief patterns have.

The Jerry Cantrell ‘Wino’ Les Paul Custom is priced £749 / $849. The Jerry Cantrell Prophecy Les Paul Custom is priced £1,049 / $1,149. 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.