Epiphone launches the Joan Jett Olympic Special, a stripped down rock machine based on her number one stage guitar

Epiphone Joan Jett Olympic Special
(Image credit: Epiphone)

Epiphone and rock legend Joan Jett have teamed up for a signature guitar inspired by her favourite stage six-string. The Epiphone Joan Jett Olympic Special arrives in Aged Classic White with a black pickguard, and is a minimalist electric guitar with no shortage of character – not to mention a couple of tricks up its sleeve. 

Comprising a lightweight mahogany body with a wide and shallow double-cutaway design, and a set mahogany neck, Jett’s Olympic Special is a kissing cousin of the Gibson Melody Maker that Jett become forever associated with since the late ‘70s. It, too, is built to play hard, and has a single pickup format, with a PowerHammer Pro located in the bridge position. 

The fuss-free control setup features just a single CTS volume pot to control the pickup and – like her signature Gibson – a kill-switch toggle which can be very useful for muting the guitar while delivering a vocal, or for adding some staccato slicer-style effects that always sound cool through an overdriven guitar amp.

Epiphone Joan Jett Olympic Special

(Image credit: Epiphone)

The Gibson DNA is carried over into the 24.75” scale length and the 12” fingerboard radius, but as with the others in Epiphone’s contemporary lineup, we have an Indian laurel ‘board. Dot inlays further add to the throw-and-go vibe.

The narrow-style Olympic Special headstock bears Jett’s signature on the back and is fitted with a set of sealed die-cast tuners. Eschewing a tune-o-matic bridge, Jett instead plumps for a wraparound bridge and tailpiece that is easily adjustable. 

This being a celebratory collaboration to mark Joan Jett and the Blackheart’s landmark 2021 releases, I Love Rock ’N’ Roll and Bad Reputation, the Olympic Special is a limited edition and comes in a custom premium gig-bag.

Which, when you factor in the quality components – CTS pot, the Switchcraft 1/4” output jack – makes it quite a special release for Epiphone, and any player who has lost a few bucks to any jukebox bearing Jett’s back catalogue. 

The Joan Jett Olympic Special is available now, priced £489 / $549. 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.