GEAR EXPO SUMMER 2022: Gibson may seem relatively absent in the electric and acoustic categories this year, but it’s working overtime with its signature line of guitars. Adam Jones, Jerry Cantrell, Joan Jett, Dave Mustaine, BB King and even Mana’s Sergio Vallìn have received new signature big G designs in 2022.
However, it may be Fender who gets the scoop with their replica of Nile Rodgers’ iconic and monstrously successful Hitmaker Strat.
Elsewhere, a wide variety of weird and wonderful things are on offer through the combined imagination of artists and luthiers. From no-frills metal riffing machines to rotary pickups and pitch-perfect vintage emulations…
Reverend Billy Corgan Signature Z-One
Corgan’s third collaboration with Reverend produced a signature model designed to handle the heaviest parts in the Pumpkins catalog.
As such, it retains the winning offset shape of its predecessor the BC-1, but features an alder body, roasted maple neck, aluminum pickguard, locking tuners and dual pickups. Railhammer Z-One.
Learn more about the Reverend Billy Corgan Signature Z-One
Charvel Sean Long Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HH HT M
£1,069 / $1,199
If Sean Long’s signature looks like a black canvas, it’s very intentional. The guitarist likes to write about his instruments and his signature offers an inspiring minimalist starting point, in more ways than one.
It’s a rock-solid hardtail construction, with Charvel locking tuners, a super fast compound radius neck, Luminlay side dots and a pair of EMG 66 and 57 pickups, the latter finished in a distinctive neon yellow. A no-frills platform for greatness.
Learn more about the Charvel Sean Long Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HH HT M
Epiphone Jerry Cantrell ‘Wino’ Les Paul Custom
£749 / $849
Epiphone’s more affordable take on Cantrell’s Murphy Lab signature drops a few features (notably the dual output and Fishman Powerbridge piezo).
However, it nails the Dark Wine Red and Gold hardware aesthetic and the tones available from the dual humbucker setup (a 98T Pro in the bridge and an Alnico Classic Pro in the neck) should do a growling job nonetheless.
Learn more about the Epiphone Jerry Cantrell ‘Wino’ Les Paul Custom
Wild Customs Billy F Gibbons Standard Special Edition
£5,216 / $6,882
The Wild Customs Gibbons Signature Standard Edition is about $3,000 off the original Artist’s Edition of $9,000. However, it retains the innovative Gyrock system, which mounts three pickups on a rotating stand – you just need to roll it to change pickups. Meanwhile, the brackets can be easily swapped out and replaced with other sets.
It comes with six pickups, including Seymour Duncan Antiquity Strat Texas Hot, Lipstick Tube, Red Devil BFG signature and Pearly Gates BFG signature, plus Wild Customs Grizzly humbucker and Jalapeño P90. The whole is mounted on an alder body, with a Canadian maple neck and a Pau ferro fingerboard.
Learn more about the Wild Customs Billy F Gibbons Special Standard Edition
Gibson Adam Jones Les Paul Standard
Last year, Tool guitarist Adam Jones was honored with a limited-edition Gibson Custom Shop rendition of his Silverburst 1979 Les Paul. However, at $5,999 it was out of reach for many fans and not least because it sold out quickly.
Now the instrument has entered Gibson’s main line in the US and, although still expensive, seems much more accessible. As you’d expect from an LP, it’s a solid mahogany construction with a maple top and mahogany neck, with a rounded ’70s-style profile. However, there’s an ebony fingerboard, hand-wired electronics and a unique pickup pair of a DC High-Gain Humbucker and BurstBucker 1 – ideal for big Tool-like sounds.
Learn more about the Gibson Adam Jones Les Paul Standard
Jackson Pro Series Signature Jeff Loomis Soloist SL7
£1,299 / $1,699
Loomis’ new signature seven-string is a minimalistic beast that looks like it could chew up tour dates at a knot pace.
The solid basswood body is topped with sandblasted ash, while the three-piece maple neck is reinforced with graphite and complemented by a 12″-16″ compound radius ebony fingerboard.
It’s equipped with a pair of Loomis signature Seymour Duncan Blackout pickups, as well as a Floyd Rose 1500 tremolo, die-cast tuners and Luminlay side dots. A blacker road warrior.
Learn more about the Jackson Pro Series Signature Jeff Loomis Soloist SL7
Gibson Custom BB King Lucille Heritage
The Gibson Custom Shop salutes the King, with this new Lucille model. Along with fancy gold hardware and luxurious mother-of-pearl inlays, there’s a pair of Gibson Custombuckers, a Varitone switch, and nitrocellulose-finished figured maple/poplar construction.
The electronics are pretty special too, with Audio-Taper 500K CTS potentiometers, Bumblebee paper-in-oil capacitors, and a hand-wired harness.
Jake E Lee Signature Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS HT RW
£1,369 / $1,299
This Jake E Lee is exciting for two reasons. First off, it exudes classic Charvel cool, with a smooth S-style alder body, maple neck, and fast 12-16” compound radius rosewood fingerboard.
Secondly, we love that it features both DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan pickups on the same model, with a pair of SDS-1 DP111 single coils from the former to the mid/neck and the JB Humbucker from the latter to the bridge.
It’s all chained together with a five-position selector and unique volume control – a utility system that still offers flexibility.
Learn more about the Jake E Lee Signature Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS HT RW
Gibson Custom Shop Sergio Vallin 1955 Les Paul Gold Top
Yes, it’s another very expensive Gibson Custom Shop signature, but guitarist Maná Sergio Vallìn’s 1955 Les Paul Gold Top is there because, well, it’s gorgeous.
It’s loaded with a pair of Custombucker humbucking pickups at the bridge and P-90 at the neck and equipped with a Bigsby B7 tremolo. It was finished in Gibson’s Murphy Lab for a beautiful aged look. One for the “one day, maybe” list.
Learn more about the Gibson Custom Shop Sergio Vallìn 1955 Les Paul Gold Top
Fender Nile Rodgers Hitmaker Stratocaster
According to Fender, the value of songs produced by Nile Rodger’s Hitmaker Strat exceeds $2 billion. Now the production line model of Rodgers’ legendary six-string hits the shelves.
It’s an alder body in a slightly compact 1960s silhouette, with a chrome-plated brass pickguard, ’59 profile neck, and custom single coil set. Tuning stability comes through the hardtail bridge and Sperzel locking tuners. Everything comes in a hard case – to protect your Hit’.
Learn more about the Fender Nile Rodgers Hitmaker Stratocaster
Gibson Dave Mustaine Flying V EXP
Combining Gibson’s iconic Flying V with an Explorer headstock, Gibson’s first Mustaine signature model is a high spec beat machine.
It’s fitted with a pair of Mustaine’s signature Seymour Duncan Thrash Factor humbuckers, Grover Mini-Rotomatic tuners and a solid hardtail bridge. The neck is also interesting, spanning a longer 25.5-inch scale and replacing a compound-radius ebony fingerboard with the traditional 12-inch radius.
Learn more about the Gibson Dave Mustaine Flying V EXP
Epiphone Joan Jett Olympic Special
£489 / $549
This Joan Jett signature model is based on the rock veteran’s well-worn Melody Maker and represents a great value, bringing some high-end components to Epiphone’s affordable lineup.
There’s a single Powerhammer Pro humbucker in the bridge, controlled by a CTS volume pot and on/off rocker switch, plus a pickguard-mounted GraphTech nut and Switchcraft output jack. The body is mahogany but it is a relatively light construction. All in all, an appealing mix of simplicity and quality hardware at an equally attractive price.
Learn more about the Epiphone Joan Jett Olympic Special
ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte Camo
Metallica’s rhythm god Snakebyte ESP and LTD signature models have been redesigned for 2022 with a new camo finish. The LTD version still costs a lot of changes, though.
However, it is an all mahogany body and neck, with a Macassar ebony board. There’s also a Tone Pros locking TOM bridge and it’s installed with Hetfield’s own EMG JH humbucker set.
Learn more about the ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte Camo
Gibson Custom Shop Noel Gallagher signature ES-355
Noel Gallagher recently posted a teaser clip of the Gibson brand on Instagram. The video featured a montage of stills of Gallagher with his favorite ES-355, alongside the text “August 2022…” The accompanying hashtags read: #No1 #GibsonCustom #ComingSoon – confirming all but existence of an upcoming signature model.
Details are otherwise scarce, but it looks like we won’t have long to wait. In the meantime, you might want to read about it (and how the Gibson ES-355 that broke Oasis sold for £325,000) below…
Learn more about the Gibson Custom Shop Noel Gallagher signature ES-355