Kirk Hammett says he prefers the Epiphone Greeny to the $20k Gibson Custom Shop version – here’s why

Kirk Hammett favors the Epiphone Greeny Les Paul over its Custom Shop equivalent
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz / Contributor)

Kirk Hammett has said that he prefers the Epiphone version of the Greeny Les Paul to its Gibson Custom Shop counterparts, revealing he’s played it far more frequently than the other more expensive models.

Speaking in the new issue of Guitarist about the storied Greeny Les Paul, Hammett discussed the various replica options of the electric guitar hitting the market recently.

“I have to tell you, man,” says Hammett. “I’ve tried the Gibson Custom Shops. Those Greenys are great. Tom Murphy Greenys are really great. The Gibson USAs are great, but my favorite version of Greeny is probably the Epiphone…

“The Epiphone Greenys, just by themselves, sound great and play great, and I was amazed at how I was playing an Epiphone and I didn’t want to put it down and it was delivering for me.” 

The Epiphone model has not been released – or even detailed yet – so we don’t know the production specs of the model, although Gibson’s acting CEO Cesar Guielken has confirmed it is in development.

“It’s just on all levels. This was two or three weeks ago,” says Hammett. “That Epiphone Greeny is now my couch guitar and I reach for it when I’m watching TV, like most guitar players are apt to do.”

Gibson Custom Shop Kirk Hammett 'Greeny' 1959 Les Paul Standard

Gibson Custom Shop Kirk Hammett 'Greeny' 1959 Les Paul Standard (Image credit: Gibson)

The Metallica guitarist acknowledges that part of the reason he’s so inspired by the Epiphone guitar is because of its more universal potential. 

Hammett might not be short of cash himself, but he clearly still recognizes that –quite apart from the $50,000 Collector’s Edition Greeny and $20,000 USA Custom Shop Greeny builds – the $3,199 price tag of the USA Standard Greeny Les Paul will prove prohibitive to many players.

“I guess I’m most excited about that Epiphone because it makes the Greeny mythology, the Greeny influence, the Greeny inspiration available to everyone around the world who was motivated to get it,” says the guitarist.

“For me, it’s a super-powerful thing because I might be helping some young musician get a Greeny in their hands to play heavy blues like Peter Green or Gary Moore or come up with a song like Oh Well or Albatross or something... 

“Those are my intentions. It’s not fucking status. It’s not finances. It’s not to see my name out there. My motivation is mainly musical and to go out there and put guitars in the hands of musicians who will make music that hopefully I will like in 10 or 15 years time.”

Greeny is not the only special Gibson Les Paul to occupy a space in Hammett’s collection. Back in March, he revealed he’d purchased a one of the rarest Les Pauls ever made – a Factory Black ‘59 Les Paul Standard.

To read Kirk Hammett's full interview about the original Greeny Les Paul, pick up Guitarist issue 499, over at Magazines Direct.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

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