Epiphone’s much anticipated new Jared James Nichols signature guitar is officially here and available to buy and the Blues Power Les Paul Custom is as handsome a single-pickup singlecut as you’ll see.
Well, maybe Gold Glory would want a word with that but today it is all about the Aged Pelham Blue, and the Les Paul Custom finery that gives this rock ’n’ roll machine the look of a high-end electric guitar – albeit one you can pick up for 999 bucks.
If you have been following Nichols' career you will appreciate the simplicity to this design. There’s nothing you don't need here. You’ve got one single pickup so no messing around with selector switches.
But what a pickup. It is Nichols’ signature Seymour Duncan Silencer JJN P-90B, a P-90 that’s also hum-cancelling so you can look forward to taking that vintage-voiced P-90 sound into high-volume, high-gain scenarios with confidence.
This is dressed up as a Les Paul Custom, and so there is seven-ply binding on the guitar’s top, five-ply on the back and headstock, with single-ply binding along an ebony fingerboard with pearloid block inlays.
The split diamond inlays on the headstock complete the look, with Blues Power engraved on the truss rod plate to let you know just whose guitar this is and what it is built for. Nichols' signature is found on the back of the headstock.
The hardware is brushed nickel and comprises a Wraparound Lightning Bar compensated bridge and Grover Locking Rotomatic tuners with kidney bean buttons. Unlike most Customs, where you would typically find Gibson’s Speed Knobs, here we have black ‘Top Hat’ volume and tone controls with silver inserts that look very cool against the Pelham Blue.
The fundamentals are classic. Solid mahogany body, a glued-in mahogany neck with a fairly heft ‘50s profile giving you something to grab onto. As per Nichols’ style, he likes an instrument you can really mangle the sounds out of when necessary, working that dynamic from whisper-quiet blues guitar to in-the-red hard rock.
The Blues Power Les Paul Custom has a 24.75” scale, a 12” fretboard radius, 22 medium jumbo frets, it has a Tusq nut and has been given a spritz of gloss poly to keep that finish safe. Similarly, Epiphone is shipping this in an EpiLite soft-shell guitar case.
If you want to hear this in action, you’re in luck, because last week Nichols sat down with Guitarist magazine to offer an in-depth video masterclass in his style, and of course he chose his Blues Power model for the job.
It’s required viewing for any blues-rock player who might be thinking of ditching their guitar pick for good. Nichols, a southpaw player all but forced to play right-handed as a kid a la Mark Knopfler et al, explains how his reversed dexterity on the instrument made more sense without on, and that by using his fingers he had more options available to him.
“When I had my fingers on the strings it felt like I was in control,” said Nichols. “What I noticed about it was a freeing feeling, and it almost was like I could take parts of songs that I liked and when I started finger-picking them it would just feel different. It felt like I was kind of saying it my own way.”
You can check that out above. And you can learn more about the Jared James Nichols Blues Power Les Paul Custom at Epiphone. Priced £/$999, it is available now.