by Jef | 3,2 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Gibson Kirk Hammett 1989 Les Paul Custom - No EMGs?

Gibson Kirk Hammett 1989 Les Paul Custom - No EMGs?  ·  Source: Gibson

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The Gibson Kirk Hammett 1989 Les Paul Custom is the latest release for the Metallica guitarist and Gibson serial signature guitar artist. It comes with a Murphy Lab-aged finish and surprisingly no EMG pickups.


Kirk Hammett 1989 Les Paul Custom

This Gibson Kirk Hammett 1989 Les Paul Custom is based on his ‘Blacked Out’ model that he customised himself. Originally, Kirk added active EMG pickups and removed all the gold hardware, replacing it with black hardware instead. He was often seen playing this guitar live with Metallica, and usually used the guitar when playing Fade to Black live.


Source: Gibson

Murphy Lab

The Murphy Lab has aged this new signature model to match Kirk’s original guitar, and the hardware is all black, as the original. However, it is missing one vital component when compared to the guitar that Metallica fans will all recognise instantly. Where are the EMGs? This new Custom Shop model comes with a Gibson 490R neck and 498T bridge pickup instead. Very odd.


Source: Gibson


Apart from having a set of passive humbuckers, this model does add a Fishman Powerbridge. This essentially puts a piezo pickup in the bridge, allowing for acoustic-like tones. The controls are 2 Volumes (for Neck and Bridge Pickups), a Master Tone, and a Fishman Powerbridge volume.



The construction is all pretty typical for the era and includes a one-piece mahogany body with a maple cap, a SlimTaper mahogany neck, and an ebony fretboard.  Thankfully, it is a nice-looking guitar, but for £8999 in the UK, is an expensive option for a Les Paul Custom.

Yes, you are paying the Hammett tax for it being a signature model, and yes, it will be a limited edition, etc However, I could go buy an original 1989 Les Paul Custom for half the money, swap out the gold hardware, and install a set of EMGs, and it would still be cheaper.


This isn’t the same type of instrument as Greeny and so it is not based on a vintage guitar, owned by many famous players. It is a Black Les Paul Custom with some aging and a Fishman Powerbridge, which is quite expensive. I guess we will see an Epiphone version in 12 months or so.

Available to preorder now on Thomann.

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Gibson Kirk Hammett 1989 Les Paul Custom - No EMGs?

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2 responses to “Gibson Kirk Hammett 1989 Les Paul Custom – No EMGs?”

    JP says:


    Invictus says:

    The original black 80s Les Paul Custom cost just half that. Even the aging is real… 😉

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