For 130 years, Gibson has shaped sound across generations and genres of music, becoming one of the most relevant, played, and loved guitar brands around the world. Gibson Custom Shop is proud to unveil its next global release in partnership with Kirk Hammett, legendary guitarist of the multi-platinum-selling and Grammy Award-winning band METALLICA. The Gibson 1989 Kirk Hammett Les Paul Custom is available worldwide at authorized, premium Gibson Custom Shop dealers and on www.gibson.com.
“This black 1989 Les Paul Custom is actually the first Les Paul I ever played live on stage and on tour,” says Hammett. “I got it when we were on the ‘…And Justice For All’ tour, specifically for ‘Fade To Black’ because I really wanted that big, fat, creamy Les Paul sound for the intro. I loved how fast the neck was and after my tech modified a bunch of the hardware, making it ‘none more black,’ it ended up being a great live metal guitar. It’s a very dependable and reliable guitar, and I’ve used it for decades. I hope you all will enjoy it as much as I did!”
To fans of metal, Hammett needs no introduction. Longtime fans will also no doubt be familiar with his “blacked-out” 1989 Gibson Les Paul Custom, which he has used on numerous METALLICA albums and tours. Now the Gibson Custom Shop has recreated this renowned guitar in exquisite detail. Like the original, the Kirk Hammett 1989 Les Paul Custom features all-black hardware, and per Kirk‘s wishes, it comes equipped with uncovered-Type pickups, along with a Fishman Powerbridge piezo bridge pickup system with a Fishman Powership preamp and volume control that bring simulated full-bodied acoustic tone to this versatile Les Paul Custom. Artfully aged by the Murphy Lab to match the look and feel of Kirk‘s original 1989 Les Paul Custom, it is a fitting tribute to a metal guitar master and one of his favorite instruments.
One of the most iconic rock guitarists of our generation, Hammett has been the lead guitarist and a contributing songwriter for METALLICA since 1983. Before joining METALLICA, he formed and named the metal band EXODUS.
When Hammett‘s partnership with Gibson was first announced in 2021, Kirk said about the collaboration: Yes, it’s official. I have become an official Gibson endorser and it’s been a long time coming. I’m really, really happy about it. And when I think about it, I’ve been playing Gibson, really, since the late ’70s when I bought my very first black Flying V, in 1979. I could barely play it and it felt funny putting it on because of the V wings. But I knew that it was the guitar for me, and within three or four days, I was just inseparable from that guitar. And I still have it to this day. Gibson guitars have been with me for pretty much 95 percent of my musical life. I’ve revered so many Gibson players in my life too, and the Gibson sound has been so inspiring to me. And at times, I didn’t even know it.
“I remember when I first started playing guitar, I was just blown away by the sound of Jeff Beck‘s guitar — ‘Let Me Love You’, off [the 1968 JEFF BECK GROUP debut album] ‘Truth’. Pretty much the opening lick, I was just, like, ‘How did he get that sound?’ And I remember it was one of the very first guitar licks I learned, very simple lick, G position, blues lick, but I could never get it to sound the way that sounded with that tone, that attack, that distortion… And it wasn’t until decades later that I realized it was because he was using a certain guitar, it was a Les Paul Standard. And then it all made sense to me.”
Hammett went on to say that the time was “right” for his partnership with Gibson.
“When I really think about it, Gibson guitars have been on every single METALLICA album,” he said. “And primarily on the first three albums. It was all Gibson-powered because all I had was my Flying V, and then I had a Strat copy, and I had a Jackson. The Jackson didn’t really come to me ’til ‘Master Of Puppets’. That Gibson Flying V was a real workhorse in the studio for the first four or five albums, and then after that, I started playing vintage Gibsons from ‘Load’ on, and I started playing Standards almost all the time.”
Kirk added that he loves Flying Vs. “I think I have almost every ’70s Flying V, from ’79 to ’81,’ he revealed. “I really like that particular run of Flying Vs. There are a lot of cool colors, and I like the design, I like the weight, I like the sound. I have one of the very first Flying V’s from 1957, a prototype.”
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