Jared James Nichols: “I was playing a lot of Strats and Telecasters. And then I tried a Les Paul Standard. The first thing I thought was, ‘Holy f**k, this feels like a Cadillac!’”

Jared James Nichols with a Gibson Les Paul
(Image credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

“I was actually born in the same city as Les Paul, a place called Waukesha in Wisconsin. There’s a massive street there called Les Paul Parkway that was named in tribute to him, which has all these street signs with his signature on them. So even before I knew what it was all about, when I was like five years old or whatever, I remember thinking how cool that was. I probably wanted to steal one! 

“Later on, when I started out on guitar, I was playing a lot of Strats because of Stevie Ray Vaughan and even Telecasters, because Jimmy Page often recorded with them. And then after a while I ended up trying out a Les Paul Standard with two humbuckers. The first thing I thought was, ‘Holy fuck, this feels like a Cadillac!’ I knew what I had in my hands was some seriously fancy shit. Then I hit an E chord and felt all this power. It sounded huge, like all the Black Sabbath records I was listening to at the time. 

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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).