“A meticulous recreation of Kirk’s prized original”: Epiphone has launched a Kirk Hammett signature 1979 Flying V – and it’s a lot more affordable than the Gibson Custom Shop version

Epiphone Kirk Hammett 1979 Flying V
(Image credit: Epiphone)

After teaming up with the Gibson Custom Shop to produce a 1979 Flying V signature guitar earlier this year, Kirk Hammett has now linked up with Epiphone to produce a more affordable take on his prized electric guitar.

Now, it seems a given that an Epiphone would be more affordable than a Gibson, but the price difference here is quite considerable. Owing to its Custom Shop provenance, the flagship Flying V weighed in with a whopping $15k price tag. 

In comparison, the Epi – which, it should be stated for the record, was actually designed in partnership with the Custom Shop – is priced at $1,299.

For Metallica fans, the arrival of a Flying V inspired by Hammett’s Gibson model that isn’t priced at five figures will be significant. This model is, after all, one of the guitarist’s most notable instruments, having featured on the band’s first five albums. 

To this day, the V remains a stalwart in Hammett’s live guitar arsenal, with Epiphone dubbing the instrument as “one of the most important heavy metal guitars of all time”.

Thus, “a meticulous recreation of Kirk’s prized original” at a tenth of the price of the highly exclusive Gibson Custom Shop model is a pretty notable release.

Like its Murphy Lab-aged predecessor, the Epiphone 1979 V is available in Ebony – as well as a more eye-popping Purple Metallic alternative – and boasts a mahogany body. 

Some expected component differences have also been drafted in, with the Epi version opting for a rounded C with volute neck profile and a 12”-radius Indian laurel fretboard, as opposed to the custom profile and Indian rosewood ‘board of the alternative.

Elsewhere, there’s a Graph Tech nut, mother-of-pearl dot inlays and 22 medium jumbo frets. The hardware department also has room for Grover tuners, a custom bridge identical to the one found on the Gibson V and a stopbar tailpiece.

As for tones, a pair of Gibson USA Calibrated T-Type pickups are wired to pickup-specific volume parameters and a master tone knob, as well as the standard three-way toggle switch.

For additional Hammett flair, a silhouette of the man himself holding a Flying V aloft can be found printed on the reverse of the headstock.

Epiphone Kirk Hammett 1979 Flying V

(Image credit: Epiphone)

As mentioned above, both models are available now for $1,299.

Head over to Epiphone for more information.

This particular model is set to be joined by another Kirk Hammett Epiphone signature guitar, after the Metallica guitarist revealed an Epiphone Greeny – which he said he preferred to the Gibson Custom Shop version – was on the way.

Nor is this the only signature V to join Hammett's collection: in March this year, ESP launched its long-awaited LTD KH-V guitars.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.