Epiphone unveils Kirk Hammett ‘Greeny’ 1959 Les Paul Standard – a top-tier collab with the Gibson Custom Shop and “amazing opportunity for more players to experience the spirit of Greeny”

Epiphone Kirk Hammett 'Greeny' Les Paul Standard
(Image credit: Epiphone)

After some high-profile sightings in the wild, on Gibson big boss Cesar Gueikian’s Instagram page and at a Metallica stadium show in Detroit, Epiphone has officially launched its replica of Kirk Hammett’s ‘Greeny’ 1959 Les Paul Standard – and it is one for the ages.

These top-tier Epiphone signature guitars are big news in and of themselves, offering pro-quality specs and closing the distance between their entry-level Gibson USA counterparts. But Hammett’s Greeny takes things one step further by debuting an actual Gibson USA headstock on an Epiphone build. You might even call it a Gibson in all but name; and the spec and the price would back that up.

At £/$1,499 street, Hammett’s new Greeny is marginally more expensive than, say, a Gibson Les Paul Tribute. But you get a lot of guitar for your money. This comes equipped with Gibson USA Greenybuckers, with the reverse-mounted neck pickup’s reverse polarity magnet allowing players to access those those out-of-phase sounds from the pickup selector’s middle position. It is a big part of what makes the original so distinctive.

Following the super-limited edition Custom Shop models, then a Gibson USA version, this presents Greeny to a wider audience than ever before, which is in keeping with Hammett’s whole philosophy with the instrument.

Greeny is a guitar of the people and this is an amazing opportunity for more players to experience the spirit of Greeny

Kirk Hammett

Famously owned by and taking its name from the late Peter Green, then owned by the late Gary Moore, Hammett bought the famous ‘Burst in 2014 and made a point of playing it all the time. It is the electric guitar he plays the most. The people deserve to hear it played, he said. Now they are able to get their hands on one.

“I think Greeny is a guitar of the people and this is an amazing opportunity for more players to experience the spirit of Greeny,” said Hammett.

The project was a two-hander between the Gibson Custom Shop and Epiphone. The level of detail extends to the mismatched control pots, the aged gloss lacquer on the Greeny Burst finish, the original brown hard-shell guitar case with pink interior, but is especially trained on the essentials, such as the Custom Greeny Profile neck. You want this to feel like the original, too.

Our forthcoming Inspired by Gibson Custom Shop-level Epiphone models will also feature the open-book Gibson headstock shape

Mat Koehler, Gibson

Mat Koehler, Gibson’s VP of product, says that Hammett was involved at all stages of the build, and has some good news for those who have been waiting to see Gibson open-book headstocks on high-end Epiphone models. They are coming...

“It was extremely important for him that we get it right,” said Koehler. “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.”

Kirk Hammett

(Image credit: Brett Murray)

As for the fundamentals, we have a solid mahogany body with a AAA flame maple veneer, a mahogany neck that’s glued to the body with a long tenon. Single-ply cream binding is applied to the body’s top and fingerboard.

The fingerboard is Indian laurel and has a 12” radius as you might expect. The scale length is 24.75”. There are 22 medium jumbo frets, mother of pearl trapezoid inlays, and there is an Epiphone LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and tailpiece. Another point of difference?Those Grover Rotomatics with the nickel spade-style buttons.

As per other premium Epiphone signature models – see Bonamassa, Joe, and his 1963 SG Custom – there are premium components throughout, with Switchcraft output jacks and pickup selectors, CTS pots and Mallory capacitors. The wiring loom draws upon the ‘50s blueprint. 

And that is what this guitar is all about. It’s a high-end replica of Gibson’s holy grail 1959 Les Paul Standard, but one that passed through the ownership of two late blues and rock icons, got modded along the way, and has ultimately ended up in Kirk Hammett’s collection.

You can now add it to your own. The Kirk Hammett ‘Greeny’ Les Paul Standard is available now. 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.