Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Names the Best Version of the ’Greeny’ Les Paul Today: It’s Epiphone

While we can keep discussing which exact Les Paul model works the best, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett recently revealed his favorite version of the “Greeny” LP. After all, Kirk is the one who currently owns this legendary instrument, whose previous owner was Peter Green and Gary Moore. And, interestingly enough, his favorite version is none other than Epiphone’s budget-friendly variant.

In an interview with the Guitarist magazine, he said:

“I have to tell you, man. 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.” 

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

Gibson subsidiary Epiphone recently announced the cheaper alternative to Gibson’s re-issues of this unique instrument, giving it a more affordable reworked edition. Although it still isn’t officially out, Hammett obviously got the chance to try it out. And the new Gibson CEO Cesar Gueikian has confirmed that the guitar is planned to come out as a commercially available variant. Hammett added:

“It’s just on all levels. This was two or three weeks ago. 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.”

While the Epiphone version still doesn’t have its price tag, we’re absolutely certain that it will be noticeably cheaper compared to Gibson Custom Shop and the standard Gibson prices — $50,000 and $3,199 respectively. Metallica guitarist added:

“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.”

Gibson Kirk Hammett 'Greeny' Les Paul Demo

“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.”

As of this moment, Metallica are on tour supporting their newly released 11th studio album “72 Seasons.” And speaking of which, there have been some differing opinions on the album, particularly its lead guitar parts.

Are Gibson Joking? Gibson Kirk Hammett Signature Les Paul Greeny Demo and Review

After some public criticism and even some alternate versions by now-popular guitar-oriented YouTubers, Kirk spoke up on the matter, explaining:

“Yeah, my fucking friends down the street could probably play a better solo than ‘Lux Æterna’ – but what’s the point. For me, what’s appropriate is playing for the song and playing in the moment.”

“I was just laughing the whole time. I could string together like six or seven three-octave arpeggios in 16th notes, sit there every day and practice it and go, ‘Hey, look what I can do!’ but where am I gonna put it? That won’t work in any Metallica song!“

Are Gibson Joking? Gibson Kirk Hammett Signature Les Paul Greeny Demo and Review

“Arpeggios? Come on! In a guitar solo, mapped out like a lot of people do, four or five chords with a different arpeggio over each one? It sounds like an exercise. I don’t want to listen to exercises and warm-ups every time I hear a song.” 

“The only guys out there who I think convincingly play arpeggios as a means of expression are Joe Satriani, Yngwie [Malmsteen], and Paul Gilbert.”

“Sweeping to me is a weird thing to begin with because sweeping’s incredibly easy but it sounds incredibly hard. That’s cool once or twice, but I mean, why do it? When it first came out in the late ’70s, by the early ’80s everyone was doing it. By not doing it, you stood out.”

Metallica: 72 Seasons (Official Music Video)

“I know my modes, Hungarian scales, symmetrical scales, I know all that shit. Is it appropriate? Maybe earlier in our time, but not now,” he says. “What’s more appropriate is coming up with melodies that are more like vocal melodies. And guess what? The best scale for mimicking vocal melodies is the pentatonic.”

“I love from the heart playing, and I’ve heard real technical playing that’s from the heart. Allan Holdsworth, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Yngwie – they all play from the heart, but for a lot of guys it’s just like sports or the Olympics.“

“Music is to reflect beauty, creativity, feeling, life. There is a place and there’s an audience for all that stuff, but I feel there comes a time when people just get tired of that.“

“Today, you know, people are doing really interesting stuff with technique. Technique is reaching new boundaries and I love that, but I have to stress it’s important to play for the song. If you do that, your music will have that much more integrity and lasting power.”

Photo: Raph_PH (Metallica – The O2 – Sunday 22nd October 2017 MetallicaO2221017-93 (37187886214))


  • 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, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.