In Flames Guitarist Reveals Why He Refused Gibson Signature Model and Went With Epiphone Instead

Björn Gelotte, the guitarist for Swedish metal legends In Flames, recently discussed his decision to go with an Epiphone signature guitar, despite Gibson offering him a more high-end model. While chatting with Guitar World, the musician reflected on why the decision to do a cheaper alternative by Gibson’s famous subsidiary brand was a much better option for him. When asked about his use of Gibson Les Paul Custom guitars and prototype Marshall amps that he’s known for and whether he used them on In Flames’ latest album “Foregone,” he replied:

“For these sessions, we were open to trying different things. I can’t play a lot of amps I use in the studio live because I need a lot of gain. I don’t want that typical Marshall sound, with mids that sound like tossing Lego on a tiled floor! I hate those frequencies. 

“The prototype Marshalls I own do not have that sound. I mixed them with other things, from 5150s for that beefy aggression to stuff like Oranges and Wizards. For leads, ever since [1996 album] ‘The Jester Race‘ I’ve always loved using a rack-mounted SansAmp, maybe some wah or delay. I’m not a gear nerd! I just know what sounds right for me.“

The topic of his decision to go with Epiphone instead of Gibson came up when he was asked what his main guitar was. He offered:

“I used my prototype signature Epiphone Les Paul Custom, which I recorded the last few albums with. It’s one of the first ones they made and such an awesome guitar. Before, I had been using my Gibson Custom. I refretted it once and it was time to do it again. I realized it wouldn’t make it much longer.”

Going further into the topic, he shared an explanation on this decision by saying:

“A while back, Gibson asked if I wanted to do a signature. I was flattered but it made no real point – most people who listen to our music won’t pay $4,000 for a guitar. I wanted something affordable.”

IN FLAMES - Björn Gelotte on his signature Epiphone guitar (EXCLUSIVE TRAILER)

“Epiphone said they could make it happen with a few adjustments. Basically, the coating is not the same and the headstock is different, but everything else is exactly like my Gibson.”

During the chat, Björn also discussed the direction of the band’s latest album “Foregone.” When reminded that it sounds less experimental and “more thick and metallic” compared to the previous one, he replied:

“I think mostly that comes down the production. We never really know what’s going to happen, the writing sessions turn into demo recordings and then we end up in the studio, where we’ll carry on writing. It’s a very organic thing.

IN FLAMES - Foregone Pt. 1 (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

“I think our last album ‘I, The Mask‘ was more rock-sounding because of the mix. This time we wanted to sound big and sound metal, and it ended up being possibly the best-sounding record we’ve done.“

When the band’s new guitarist Chris Broderick was brought up, who’s known for his work in Megadeth, Björn said:

“I don’t know how Dave Mustaine does it, finding these incredibly talented guys. Chris is insane, as is his replacement Kiko [Loureiro] who is doing a killer job right now. We’ve known Chris for over 20 years, since he was in Jag Panzer and Nevermore. He’s extremely hard-working. If he can, he’ll play eight hours a day… in between workouts! It’s been so inspiring.

Chris Broderick live playthrough of "Meet Your Maker" by In Flames (full song)

“I’ve never played as much guitar as I do now… my fucking calluses! It’s a bit like having a guitar teacher with me on the road. For this album, he didn’t do any rhythms, but I asked him if he wanted to do solos, and was happy when he said yes. He was super-prepared. He probably had it all written down on sheet paper. He’s funny that way, but very organised!”

Both Björn and Broderick were recently interviewed for Guitar.com when they touched upon the main differences between these two great bands, Megadeth and In Flames. Broderick said:

“I actually identify with Björn’s writing style quite a bit. He has a strong sense of melody but he also likes to present counter-melody, whether it’s within the rhythm line or whether you contain both an upper and lower melody within the rhythm line.”

CHRIS BRODERICK (Megadeth) - Tornado Of Souls

“That’s stuff I’ve always gravitated towards. For me, it was like putting on an old pair of shoes. Whereas Megadeth was more of a rhythm- or riff-oriented structure – you have these riffs, then solos, then riffs – this was much more melodic.”

During that chat, Björn also remembered how Chris came in at the last moment and saved the day when previous guitarist Niclas Engelin dropped out. He said:

“The tour was going to happen no matter what, so it was a weird position to be in. We asked our management if there was anyone available to fill in for Nick.“

Chris Broderick - "Everything's Gone" by In Flames

“We were presented with a bunch of names and, as soon as I saw Chris’s name, I knew, ‘We’re good!’ I’ve known Chris for so long; I know his skills and his qualities. He’s one of those students that can just absorb information and retain it.”

He also added:

“You need to take in a lot of information playing guitar in this band: not only the riffs but the melodies, the solos, the structures – everything. It’s intimidating if you’re not extremely proficient at your instrument. But I know Chris and what he’s capable of, so I was never worried.”

IN FLAMES - State Of Slow Decay (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

Asked about how he ended up being the one contacted by In Flames, Chris said:

“I have no idea. A friend of mine heard from their management that they had lost Niclas and asked if I was interested. I said yes in a heartbeat. Knowing Björn and Anders [Fridén, In Flames’ singer], I was definitely interested, and the music is phenomenal so I knew I’d have a good time.”

Photo: Alfred Nitsch (20170615-160-Nova Rock 2017-In Flames-Björn Gelotte)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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