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 Epiphone Bjorn Gelotte Les Paul Custom Outfit

Enough flair to ring the bell for fans of Gelotte?

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

 

We’ve all been there… you’re onstage, you’re getting ready to rip, and you reach for an icy refreshment to loosen up before you swing your way into the opening chord. Gasp! It’s one of those pesky (but delicious) microbrews that isn’t a twist top! You try the ring trick to no avail, end up chipping a tooth trying to crack it open with the brute strength of your mouth, and infuse the night’s set with true, tortured pain as you ponder during tunings whether or not your manager actually is paying in to your dental insurance.

 

I’m sure none of that happened, but it was a fun scenario to create when evaluating the Epiphone Limited Edition Björn Gelotte "Jotun" Les Paul Custom Outfit’s built-in stainless-steel bottle opener on the back of the guitar.

 

The Björn Gelotte "Jotun" Les Paul Custom Outfit is the second Epiphone release of a Björn Gelotte artist model, taking the Les Paul platform, dressing it up with a “bone white” finish and contrasting ebony fretboard, and upgrading it for serious metal with EMG Metalworks active pickups and Grover Roto-Matic tuners. The kit comes complete with the aforementioned bottle opener, a signed certificate of authenticity, and a custom hard-shell case.

 

What You Need to Know

 

The Björn Gelotte "Jotun" Les Paul was built with In Flames inspired aesthetics; cream-and-black five-later binding on front and back of the Bone White mahogany body. The rounded custom ’59 neck carries the mahogany forward framing the 22 medium jumbo fretted ebony fretboard with single-ply cream binding and block pearloid inlays.

 

It’s a Les Paul style body, so don’t look for light-weight wear, but it was entirely in-line with similar mahogany Les Paul’s I’ve played, and lighter than many. As with most Les Paul’s I’ve played, the guitar was well balanced and sat comfortably with a shoulder strap.

 

Stepping into the modern world, the Jotun is powered by a pair of EMG Metalworks active pickups, with an EMG-85 USA humbucker in the neck position and an EMG-81 USA humbucker in the bridge position. Powered by a 9v battery, the pickups are punishing and full-bodied exemplified by a strong-but-musical high end that invites harmonic feedback when fed into high-gain pedals or amps. The pickups have much more immediacy in their attack and a stronger sustain than their vintage counterparts while maintaining more balance across the frequency spectrum.

 

I wasn’t too familiar with Gelotte’s work prior to evaluating the Jotun, but a quick listen through his catalog confirmed that, yep, the Jotun nails his tone (especially his more recent work) in spades. That said, I didn’t find it to scream “I must play metal!” in aesthetics nor tone. Sure, it does that trick really well, but I would be happy to throw the Jotun on for pretty much anything that didn’t require single coils or the vintage sponginess of PAF-style pickups.

 

Limitations

 

None that I can find.

 

Conclusion

 

In my opinion, artist guitars can be a mixed bag, with some so customized to the artist that they don’t have much flexibility to go beyond that and others essentially a signature on the headstock and extra 20% tacked on; the Björn Gelotte "Jotun" Les Paul Custom Outfit isn’t one of these. It’s a cool, understated guitar that can stand in nearly anywhere, with just enough flair to ring the bell for fans of Gelotte. For the person looking for a hot-rodded Les Paul that’s modern while retaining classic Epiphone playability, I would recommend the Jotun as a strong contender.  -HC-

 

Resources

 

Epiphone Björn Gelotte "Jotun" Les Paul Custom Outfit Product Page

 

Buy Epiphone Björn Gelotte "Jotun" Les Paul Custom Outfit at Sweetwater (MSRP $1,332.00, Street $799.00)

 

____________________________________________ 

 

Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 

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JEV1A  |  May 31, 2019 at 8:10 pm
Someday I would like to see a review and a walkthrough of the building of guitars in the USA market vs the Asian market. Why the radical price differences and how exactly the quality is different. Epiphone has a modern reputation of being a poor man's Gibson but most players seem to disagree. Somebody needs to end this discussion for good! JV -Sights & Sounds Films
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