Björn Gelotte has been with In Flames from nearly the beginning, joining as a drummer shortly after their second album, later solidifying his role as a guitar player – and he’s been killing it ever since. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a “Greatest Metal Guitarists” list that doesn’t include him.
In Flames has been a fundamental band in the metal community for almost 30 years now. They’ve worn various labels from metal to melodic metal to Swedish death metal – and with twelve studio albums in their arsenal, it’s safe to say they’ve earned every sub-genre of metal you could place them in.
His love for guitar, and the Les Paul, in particular, has been with him since he was a child, looking up to guitar icons like Slash & Zakk Wylde; now he sits right up there with them. And what do all these guitar players have in common? A signature model.
In 2015 Gelotte teamed up with his friend and luthier Alex Markusch, and also Jim Rosenberg of Epiphone, to work out the prototype for his very own signature guitar. A guitar he could be proud of, a guitar that in his words, “he would actually use.” That signature model was such a success he decided to team back up with Epiphone to release a second edition. He recently called into the AMS office to tell us all about it.
“I’m super proud of it and I really love it,” Gelotte began, calling in from West Valley Recording Studios in L.A. where the band is working on their next release. “The color scheme is fantastic, the gold plated pickups really pop, it looks absolutely amazing, and it’s really easy to play too. Epiphone did a fantastic job. It’s a lot like my first signature, just a couple of added features.”
Features of the Gelotte Les Paul
Some of those features include a stainless steel bottle opener on the back of the body, gold plated EMG-81/85 USA “Metalworks” Active Pickups, rounded Custom ‘59 profile neck, headstock featuring In Flames’ iconic “Jester” inlay on the front, Limited Edition logo in gold on the back, and a signed gold plated truss rod cover. Björn’s signature model is based off an old Les Paul custom he toured with for years until it became too worn to continue playing. Unlike most signature models, his came together pretty quickly.
“I got really lucky, I met a luthier in Germany named Alex Markusch and asked him if he could do a replica,” Gelotte recalled, speaking of his now-retired Les Paul Custom. After discussing measurements and other specs Markusch got to work. Around the same time, Gelotte began talks with Epiphone, wanting to do something that was affordable while also capturing the quality and feel of his old Les Paul.
“These are the only guitars I play now, that’s the cool thing,” Gelotte explained with excitement in his voice. “In the studio, playing live, these are the guitars I use. It’s an amazing situation, I’ve seen a bunch of signature models from a lot of guitarists and it’s kind of rare to see the artist actually using those guitars. So for me, it was a no-brainer, this is exactly the guitar I want,” he concluded.
Epiphone Bjorn Gelotte Les Paul Custom Guitar Specifications
- Body Material: Mahogany
- Neck Material: Mahogany
- Neck Shape: Rounded, Custom ’59 Profile
- Headstock: “Epiphone” logo in Pearloid, In Flames “Jester” inlay in Pearloid
- Back of Headstock: “Epiphone Limited Edition” logo in gold
- Truss Rod: Adjustable
- Truss Rod Cover: 2-Layer; Black/White; Bell-Shaped; “Bjorn’s” signature in White
- Nut: Ivory; PVC
- Scale Length: 24.75″
- Fingerboard Material: Ebony with Pearloid “Block” Inlays
- Frets: 22; Medium/Jumbo
- Neck Pickup: EMG-85 USA “Metalworks”; Smooth Cover; Active
- Bridge Pickup: EMG-81 USA “Metalworks”; Smooth Cover; Active
- Controls: Epiphone All-metal 3-way Pickup Selector with cream toggle cap, Neck Pickup Volume, Bridge Pickup Volume, Neck Pickup Tone, Bridge Pickup Tone
- Body Top Binding: 5 layer; Cream/Black
- Body Back Binding: 5 layer; Cream/Black
- Headstock Binding: 5 layers; Cream/Black
- Fingerboard Binding: 1 ply (Cream)
- Fingerboard Radius: 12″
- Bridge: LockTone “Nashville-Style” Tune-o-Matic and Stopbar
- Nut Width: 1.68″
- Hardware: Gold
- Machine Heads: Grover Roto-matics; 18:1 ratio
- Pickguard: 5-Layer; Black/White
- Knobs: Black “Top Hats”
- Back Cavity Cover: Black PVC with EZ-Access 9-Volt battery compartment
- Output Jack: Rim-mounted; Epiphone Non-Rotating Heavy-Duty
- Strap Buttons: Yes
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