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Epiphone and Matt Heafy of Trivium have teamed up for the third time to spec up a series of Les Paul Customs that takes the iconic single-cut electric guitar design and adapts it for metal players.
Not only does Heafy’s new signature guitar come strapped with custom Fishman humbuckers, a speedy neck profile with a sculpted heel, there’s even a seven-string version – an act of total iconoclasm but very practical for putting super-heavy low-end riffs within reach.
The Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origins Collection offers the guitars in Bone White and Ebony finishes, with left-handed models available for both guitars. The six and seven-string guitars in the collection are all but identical but for the longer scale on the extended-range model.
Both have weight-relieved mahogany bodies and maple tops, glued-in SpeedTaper D profile mahogany necks, and 12” radius ebony fingerboards. The seven-string has a slightly longer 25.51” scale length, while the six-string is a typical 24.75”.
Epiphone and Heafy have deployed custom-voiced Fishman Fluence humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions, offering players a number of different core sounds. At the neck, the active Alnico humbucker offers “crisp, clean and fluid” tones, the sort that make easy work of sweep-picking high-gain arpeggios, with a coil-tap offering “a glassy, scooped, hi-fi single-coil sound”.
In similar scenarios, that active ceramic bridge pickup is all about modern metal tones, but it has range, too, with alternate modes allowing you to run it is a high-output truly passive ceramic humbucker, or as an overwound single-coil.
All of these are controlled via push-pull functions on the familiar dual-volume, dual-tone complement of dials you would find on a regular Les Paul.
There are some subtle aesthetic differences. There is no poker-chip style washer on the shoulder mounted pickup selector, and the control knobs are knurled metal rather than Gibson speed-style.
But nonetheless Heafy does hew close to the classic aesthetic of the Les Paul Custom, with block inlays, multi-ply binding on body and headstock and a bound neck completing the LP-in-a-tux vibe.
“With the timelessness of the Les Paul Custom and the look of the Les Paul Custom, I didn’t want to deviate too far,” says Heafy. “I never have either, I’ve never wanted to go full-blown artwork on the guitar itself other than the classic look.
“I’ve always felt there is something classic about that black-and-gold Les Paul Custom, that white-and-gold Les Paul Custom. I always do have the concept of, whether someone is a Trivium fan or not, I want them to like the instrument.”
Other player-friendly details include the sculpted heel and the locking Grover Mini-Rotomatics, a Graph Tech Tusq nut, and there’s an Epiphone LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and tailpiece.
The Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origins Collection ships in a custom hardshell case and is priced £999 / $1,099 for the six-string models, and £1,099 / $1,199 for the seven string.
See Epiphone for more details.