Perhaps the most striking signature guitar released at this years NAMM was the Gibson Zakk Wylde Vertigo Les Paul. Gibson consider the legendary Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist one of their most famous and high profile endorsees, and that’s saying something! His previous signature models for both Gibson and Epiphone have been very popular and it’s easy to see why. The new Vertigo Les Paul is a rendition of possibly his most iconic guitar the ‘Bullseye model’ and it’s likely that this is what Wylde first envisioned for the original guitar.
The Gibson Zakk Wylde Vertigo Les Paul is in many ways similar to the original Zakk Wylde Bullseye. The body contains the same combination of mahogany with a carved maple top, whereas the neck, unusually for a Les Paul, is a maple ’50s profile with a natural satin finish. The new Vertigo goes even further with the addition of a maple fingerboard.
Wylde’s iconic Bullseye finish has become a trademark and to the surprise of many people, it appears it was an accident. The story goes that Zakk asked his friend Max to design the graphics, a spiral based on ‘Vertigo’ the famous Hitchcock film to promote it at a photo shoot. However he was in a hurry so Max rushed the design and Wylde continued with the photo shoot and from then on the relationship was built. The new Vertigo Les Paul aims to be closer to the intended design Wylde had for the guitar.
Now the most important bit, how it sounds. The Zakk Wylde Vertigo Les Paul has the same high-output EMG humbucker pickups found on the original. It has an EMG85 at the neck for the warm, rich tone and the more intense EMG81 at the bridge giving cutting tones and epic sustain. There is a stopbar tailpiece and chrome tune-o-matic bridge with matching Grover Kidney key tuners for a more typical Les Paul feel.
What this guitar gives you then is powerhouse worthy of Zakk Wylde himself. It offers a great balance with a light tone yet ruthless EMG pickups. It’s a well-constructed guitar and not to mention the finish that Wylde originally wanted. Safe to say this is a really cool guitar!
This article was written by Steven Williams.
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