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Epiphone “Bob Marley” Guitar

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I was thumbing through a copy of the abysmal Singer magazine when I stumbled upon this guitar:
This is a Les Paul Special guitar “inspired” by the legacy of Bob Marley, manufactured by Epiphone. Who would buy this guitar? For one thing, it’s got a guy’s face emblazoned on the front. Furthermore, it has Jamaica flag colour fingerboard inlays. Lastly, it has “One Love” emblazoned on the headstock.

Epiphone, once a proud maker of fine archtop guitars, was bought out by Gibson way back and had its manufacturing outsourced to Asia. So Epiphone is now the Gibson for those that can’t afford a Gibson. Could the Marley estate not wangle a deal with the mighty Gibson? Is Marley not famous enough? Angus Young has a signature model. So does Tom DeLonge, the guy from Blink 182 who plays nothing but power chords and whose music I could teach to you on our first guitar lesson. Herb Ellis has TWO models.

Now I dig Herb, but I doubt he ever got the feuding political leaders of any nation to shake hands.
Now, most of these artist models reproduce the actual guitar played by the artist. So for example, the Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan limited edition guitar is an utter reproduction of Stevie’s main Strat, down to the last scratch and ding. I can see the thrill for a rabid SRV fan in playing what seems to the be the EXACT guitar his idol played. But the Epiphone Marley model looks (and, I suspect, sounds) nothing like the guitar Marley played. For one thing, Marley’s own guitar didn’t have his face on it. And it was a different model of Les Paul, with soapbar pickups, not the humbuckers in this guitar.

All of these are minor quibbles compared to how gay I would feel bringing this guitar to a gig. I don’t care if it played like buttah and its tone made the angels blush. It has “One Love” on the headstock.

The only person that I can imagine buying this guitar is the diehard Marley completist guy (completist collectors are almost always men) who just has to own anything with Marley’s name on it. This guy is not necessarily a guitarist. It’s just going to hang on his wall. So I say, build the guitar out of Masonite and take the electronics that would have gone in it, and donate them to some poor punk musicians. It’s not like anyone’s going to notice.

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About Mike Daley

  • Lately, Gibson is bordering on the incomprehensible. Epiphone models that people actually want, such as the Elitist series, are backordered for months and are hard to find. The strangest thing about Gibson is their insistence on their Internet dealers taking down stock lists and photos from their web sites (with the notable exception of one well-known catalog retailer), on the pretext of protecting dealer territories and getting people into the stores instead of the shopping cart.

    Another weird thing about Gibson is suppose you want a J-160E. Take a look on their web site and you’ll see a natural finish model with a John Lennon doodle, not the tobacco burst version (i.e. the one you see in “A Hard Day’s Night”) most folks who want this instrument would want. However, the aforementioned catalog retailer does indeed have the requisite finish. But walk into a Gibson dealer and ask to order a J-160E? Most of them can’t find it in the catalog, and the few that can say “fuhgeddaboutit” when it comes to anything outside of a vanilla Les Paul or maybe an SG.

  • Pink

    1. GIBSON, NOT EPIPHONE, had already made an exact les paul replica that marley used everything down to the last skratch.2 they only made 200 IN THE WORLD,the first one they replicated so well that it is in the bob marley museum in jamaica. 3. since the replica is a LIMITED EDITION AND EXTREMELY FAITHFUL they’re priced so ridiculously high, making it one of the mose expensive signature models in the world only adding to the high class of a les paul but giving so much more respect to a legend than pratically any other signature model guitar ever made.
    4. this particular epiphone is made for looks, not necessarily to play. notice how cheap it is. do yourself a favor, buy it to hang on your wall, not to rock out to rat race.

  • Lliam

    The line about Tom de Longue is wrong. Most of blink 182 ‘s music contains fast punk riffs which rerquire alot of dexterity at speed. Not ‘simple power chords’ which can be taught in ur first lesson. You kight be able to teach the atbs, but the speed and timing is difficult to pick up.

  • Nes

    Funny that you would write a review for a product that you have not tested yourself. Judging a book by its cover is certainly something Bob Marley spoke out against. For real hands-on reviews of this product go here.


    It’s unfortunate that in your “extensive” research you seemed to miss a few key points.

    1. Those are NOT the colors of the Jamaican flag but the colors of the Ethiopian Flag. Surely someone so qualified to give a review on Bob Marley would recognize the significance of this, but you would also think “One Love” would be significate as well.

    2. Who would buy this item? Again, check the link above or do an internet search to find that yours (the uneducated one) is the only negative review to be found. I ordered one myself and have been on a back order waiting list for 3 months. When I contacted Epiphone to find out the reason they told me that they just have not been able to keep up with the high demand for this item. Who would want to buy this? HA.

    3. If you had taken 3 min. to do what is called “research” by using this new revolutionary thing called a SEARCH ENGINE you would have found the following link for the GIBSON replica of the B.M. Les Paul you have claimed not to even exsist. Nice sleuthin’ hack.

    Your review is nothing but an ignorant assumption of a product you obviously know nothing about. You saw a picture in a magazine? That is your experience with this guitar? Never in anything that I have read have I seen a claim that this guitar is supposed to be a replica. It is said to be inspired by the LEGACY of Bob Marley. Again, this is something that an authority on the life of Bob Marley such as yourself would understand. From One Love to the colors of the ethiopian flag you obviously don’t understand the significance and symbolisim of the whole thing. I suggest that you remove this page as hardly any of your “points” can be taken seriously.

    One Love

  • Nes

    This is the link for the Gibson Les Paul Replica signature model that was said (Or mabey just assumed) not to exist.



  • This guitar is cool for two reasons:

    Reason one is that it is a Les Paul Special in natural. Yes bob marley played one but also john lennon. It stands for a 70s minimalist approach to guitar. Epiphone doesnt make a natural special in mahogony without the bob marley trappings.

    The other reason is that its like having a bob marley sticker on your guitar only a sticker is like a temp where is this is a permanent tattoo. If you’re the kind of person who can’t understand why people get tattoos, you will never fathom why someone would buy this guitar. But its for the same reason.

  • noel

    Bob Marley would have burned this guitar as it disgraces his name + face.

  • Chris

    This guitar is great!
    Bob would not have “burnt” it as the pervious comment said. He would have loved it! It does not disgraces his face and name, it keeps it thriving for those who forget the great things he did and stood for! You disgrace his name by saying that.
    This guitar is guitar is great because,
    1. it is a les paul, (Fenders SUCK!)
    2. it is an Epiphone, so all people can enjoy it!!

  • preach

    i have this guitar. and i love it. i’m a big marley fan. and i’m jamaican. (so i maybe biased).

    this guitar is wonderful.

  • Chris

    Don’t review a guitar if you haven’t played it yet.

  • German

    I bougth a Broken Neck Les Pauls Special 1974, My luthier did a great restoration. Now I have a real P90 (old gibson P90, not P100 they put on 40th’s). I recomend to try a vintage Gibson Les Paul Special with P90 then test this Humbucker signature (I can say that), Is better than bla bla bla…

    No money?, well just try to get a Les Paul sepecial (P100), a model before 2001 (Until this time Epi did a great guitars on Corea).
    Then repleace P100 with P90 from: Fralin, Seymor Duncan, etc)

    Now you could have a “near” picture from a Bob Marley sound.

    You like a Studio sound, then buy a Epi Marley

  • Burning Angel

    That guitar..although not too appealing for my taste (pickups mainly), i wouldnt doubt it being a great guitar none the less. another point id like to bring up..

    the whole “dont judge a guitar unless youve played it”

    a very good point. some people dont understand why other people buy the ugliest guitars in the world (not saying this ones ugly, its a very well thought out tribute). Thats because they enjoy how it sounds, and would rather have sound over what appeals to urself and others. personal example: my guitar is an ltd mh-301..i dont like soloists too much as far as looks goes. but i played this guitar and fell in love with it. not for looks but sound quality. this guitar could sound beautiful..and you may never know it because all you judge is its look b4 you play it. although a very over used point, its the best thing that could possibly contradict this very horribly thought out opinion. your right..people may hang it on their wall n never play it. but if people didnt want it why would they hang it on their wall? the majority of people that would hang this on their wall are paying their respects to marley, not making utter shit of this guitar. think things through before making opinions like everyone is going to agree with you on them.

    and props to those who disagree with Mike Daley as well.

  • Tyler

    Mike Daley, who the hell is Mike Daley? Do you even remotely know anything about guitars, Bob Marley or Blink 182? As said above GIBSON, has a limited edition signature Marley model but at a very high price. I own a one love epiphone and the action on it is awesome. The Humbuckers have a better tone than to the 70’s soapbar pickups. Plus it’s at an affordable price and I know of four other bands in my region that have the same model. It’s not about getting something pricey that everyone expects you to get, it’s about being down to earth and real with yourself and playing a guitar that you feel comfortable and good about. I play mine because it looks good and feels good.

    ONE LOVE (if you know what that means)

    p.s. The Jamaican colours are actually green, gold and black. Red, gold and green are the colours of Ethiopia

  • Tom

    I know one person who has bought it – my Marley 14 year old son loving son who thinks its is brilliant at a bargain price of £275 which is now bad deal cos most shops are still selling them new for £350 if they can get hold of them – and I know one person who would buy another if it weren’t for the graphics on the body since it is the best cheap guitar I have ever played – and I own one of the Gibson marley copies cos I like simple guitars

  • moggle45

    Well some of you have some pretty good points, you’re ALL wrong on the colors. They dont resemble a flag or a nation, but a religion. Ever hear of rastafarianism, or rasta for short? Well if not, its colors are red, green, and yellow, hence the red green and yellow inlays.

  • David Currie

    This is a beautiful guitar that is very well made and sounds great, plus its sure to be a collectors item since it was discontinued – it was made from 2004-2006 in small numbers. I repair guitars and amps, and this guitar is very well made IMHO. It’s feather light, the AlNiCo humbuckers sound great, and the tuners are quality grovers. I might replace the pots and switch, but they seem to work fine. I saw Bob Marley in 1976 and it was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. I am grateful to have found one of these before the supply dries up. They seem to have made this model with considerable attention to quality – I love it!!!

  • Trini O.G

    Jah Bless
    U dun noe ya flags
    dis is ethiopian colors
    so u need to learn ya flag
    and stop downin the Legend Bob marley i aint got no money so im making my on bob marley guitar so

  • doubledupirish

    I have never played this guitar so I will not say anything about how good or bad it feels, plays, or sounds. Bob Marley and his music have been a part of my soul for over 20 years that being said I wish Epiphone would have cloned his guitar in Asia like his original, no pictures of his face or colors of a flag for the fretboard markers just a natural finished mahogany body and neck with the aluminum pickguard and white binding around the neck and headstock with of course SOAPBAR PICKUPS not humbuckers. I don’t think Bob would have been upset with this guitar but he would not have played it either even if given to him not because of the way it looks but because humbuckers do not sound like soapbars and it would have changed his sound. One other thing to watch out for is that the Asian people are catching up with our guitars here in the states. They get better every year.

  • I want to share with all of you a great cause with a rare prize available for grabs. I am Sir Johan, an ex-musician, and I was a friend of Bob Marley and his guitar tech. He gave me his guitar knowing that I would do something great with it one day and now the time has come. Bob, being a great humanitarian through his music and movements gave me a vehicle that will allow me to raise monies for charities & awareness programs around the world.

    This is what Bob Marley would want have done and I’m here to share my story with all of you. I always wondered why he wanted to give me his guitar when I didn’t want it, I think and I know it was because I never asked for his autograph and to take pictures with him, we hanged out, and I treated him more of a friend.

    What can I say, I’m a lucky guy, and now one lucky person in this entire planet besides me will own it because Bob’s guitar is up as a charity prize.

    People always ask for a picture of Bob Marley playing this guitar & I simply reply by telling them that this was custom made guitar for him made with his name engraved in the back of it & he most likely played it behind closed doors which makes the guitar even more special and valuable.

    I’m simply sharing with all of you a real guitar that Bob owned, the legend, my friend, & a great humanitarian to all.

    Peace, love and respect,
    Sir Johan, Founder,
    Lottery Info Pack.

    PS. If you have any questions and concerns about the guitar’s authenticity, you will find our contact info on our site. You can also reply here.

    God Bless.

  • this guitar is a tribute to bob marley not a replica, so why does it matter if it is the same style of les paul or not. and it is the ethiopian flag not the jamaican, the jamaican flag is black green and yellow

  • Mike

    Dude, Are you kidding? It sounds like ur a Fender guy bashing anything Gibson related. I own this guitar and I’m a Huge fan of Marley, and let me tell u somethin’, The guitar soungs great! Marley is a great influence on music and that’s why it was made. Not to make money or glorify chronic! And this is a memoriam guitar. Made in his memory!! FOR FANS!! You don’t have to like it. Oh BTW they did make a replica les paul, to the specs of his original, but only a few hundred were made.

  • KYLE


  • justbrowsing

    LOl @ the trini trying to speak like a jamaican. Quit it.

  • bob

    have played this guitar before and it’s great. you should have done more research before writing such reviews.

  • Steve

    hmmmm i just took a look at the Gibson LP Special made to the exact spec of Bob Marleys Guitar… I heavily dispute this and see that Gibson may have fucked up on this one!! listen guys… I’m a massive Marley fan and also play gtr in a reggae tribute band so i recommend you visit the official Bob Marley web site.. and see for yourself. bobs guitar was much darker in colour,had a black scratch plate and a cream toggle switch guard that was round and not oval as depicted by Gibson. Gibson have truly fkd up!! oh yeah go there… bobmarley.com go to bottom of home page and select to view the gallery of Bob photos..

  • wakeupandlive

    please do more research!!! Bob played more then one guitar, yes live he used gibson alot,but not always the same one. And what about acoustic?
    And any real guitar player knows you cant “judge” a guitar without even pickin it up c’mon 🙂

    if you want do a google picture search and you will find many differnet pictures of bob wid dif guitars.

    peace.one love

  • Razza

    “Jamaica flag colour fingerboard inlays”…..LOL

    Where on the Jamaican flag is red? I’m at a loss.

  • Razza

    Also: “I doubt he ever got the feuding political leaders of any nation to shake hands.”

    Since your link is now a dead one let me help you out with that.

    It was a well documented event after a very bloody election.
    Even tho Seaga looks less than thrilled to even be near Manley.

  • Oscar

    There is an Epiphone dedicated to John Lennon. Does that make John Lennon less great?
    I’m glad that they did this guitar so even the not so fortunate can afford to honour their legend.

    (I know that Lennon played a Casino)

  • Singer

    Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Why would someone who loved bob marley not want this guitar? You don’t have to run your mouth about it. And last but not least, epiphone was not made by Gibson!? It started out by a dad who named it several times and when he passed, his son (nicknamed epi) gave it the name Epiphone… Prefix after him, suffix after phone, meaning sound. There ya go! 😉

  • Josh

    Gibson didn’t get sink their talons into Marley till his later years. Steve mentioned the photos of Marley’s guitar w/ the round selector plate, and he’s 100% correct. The guitar that Marley recorded all his hits with was not a Gibson- it was a Burny.

    This is Gibson’s MO. Chet Atkins played Gretsch exclusively his entire career. Toward the end though, Gibson threw enough cash at him to pick a CA signature Gibson. Almost identical to his beloved Gretsch.

    Same story.

  • Bless

    Trini is the only right one, Ethiopian Flag is the colors. look it up Jah Rastafari kept Ethiopia from being colonized in the war. fought off armies with spears!! more people should educate themselves.

  • david

    Fantastic pickups.

  • Doc J Feelgood

    Chur!..This is Doc J, from Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia, I have owned and played the Epiphone Bob Marley axe for 6 years now, It is one of my favorite guitars, and I have 16 guitars, which include Fenders, Jacksons, Les Pauls, Matons, and others.In the 6 years I have been using The Marley guitar,I have played all manner of gigs with it, I am a fulltime muso, play gigs 6 shows a week ranging from Weddings to Corporate shows, and I use the Marley at all my gigs, The guitar has never let me down, I had it set up when we first bought it, and thats been it, I have not made any changes to the guitar, I am at the moment trying to buy another, Epiphone tells me there is a waiting list of 12 months. I have found the guitar a pleasure to play, and still look forward to playing it at my gigs, It is also a great talking poit and also as I play a lot of reggae at my functions, it never fails to carry the message of Bob Marleys life style, and passion for reggae, its been a fantastic guitar for spreading the words of Bob Marley, As he always said “One Love, One World – Jah Bless..”Need I Say More??..Chur! & Blessings,..Doc J, PS. Please have a look at my Youtube, Surfers Paradise Busking, you will see the Bob Marley doing what it was created for!Chur! Chur!

  • James

    First off I own this guitar, I love it, Sounds great and it has Bob Marley on it. This guy doesnt even know what he is talking about. Of course it has bobs face on it. Its a replica of Bob Marley. I think the guy writing this blog hasnt even played one. My guitarist plays a Les Paul Studio and he even loves the sound that my guitar gives. One Love, Is the message that Bob preached. You have to be a BOB fan to own this Guitar. WHo ever wrote this blog should be ashamed to try and disgrace bob and his message.