Al Di Meola on Gibson Les Pauls: “My 1971 Custom is obscenely heavy and growls like nothing else”

Al Di Meola
(Image credit: Alexander Mertsch)

When it comes to jazz-rock, few Les Pauls are as storied as Al Di Meola’s 1971 Les Paul Custom – famously held on the cover of his groundbreaking 1977 album Elegant Gypsy

By that point of his career, Al was already well-known for his breathtaking virtuosity. At the tender age of 19 he had been recruited by Chick Corea in fusion supergroup Return To Forever, with whom he’d go on to record three Top 40 Billboard albums in the mid-’70s. 

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).