Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins Review: Incredible 6 And 7 String BEASTS!

By Christoper Horton •  Updated: 06/20/22 •  17 min read

The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins Les Paul has hit the market, and there are some significant upgrades over the original! Let’s check out both new models, and go over why they are some of the best value around.


Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins: A Gig-Ready Les Paul For Metal?

Matt Heafy and Trivium have been big names in the business for almost two decades now. While I initially wrote Trivium off as a “Metallica Clone” they eventually came into their own when it came to style. Their “Shogun” record was a departure from ripping off Metallica, and their style is immediately identifiable now. Matt Heafy played a lot of different guitars at the beginning of Trivium, and they were mostly extreme shapes: Flying V, Warrior, Explorer…

But then Matt started rocking a Les Paul Custom with EMG pickups. I am not entirely sure when he made the switch, but i remember seeing a video of Matt talking about how much he has always adored the Les Paul ( And his father played one). A few years later, we got the original Epiphone Matt Heafy Les Paul models. These were made to Matt’s specs, and were shipped with all of the same upgrades that he uses. But this is when our story takes an unexpected turn.

Matt started playing his Epiphone models live, at every single show. You see, the thing about affordable signature models is that the artist is rarely seen playing the “cheap” version of their guitar. Take Slash for example, who also has an Epiphone Artist Collection. You probably haven’t caught Slash playing any Epiphone guitars on tour, since he almost always plays his Gibson version. This is almost always the case with the affordable signature models, so no one really bats an eye in the guitarist community.

But the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins Les Paul, as well as the original series is something that Matt takes pride playing. He didn’t just design the Epiphone models for beginners or budget players. Matt uses these guitars on tour, the exact same guitar that you can buy yourself. He wanted to make a guitar that normal players could afford, but he also wanted it built well enough to stand up to the rigors of the road. Well, they must be great if he plays them live right?

I thought about this whole situation a lot over the last year, and I can count the people that actually play their “affordable models” on one hand. Nick Johnston is definitely one of them, since you see him use his Schecter Diamond Series models all the time. But most big name players release the affordable models, and then never play them live. It says something about the integrity of the guitarist, in my opinion. Would I play my own custom shop models? Yes, I would…but I would also give the affordable models some love too.

That is, if these affordable models were quality instruments. The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins models are pretty damn fancy for an Epiphone, and they outclass even the newer Prophecy Series, in my opinion. Epiphone really pushed the boundaries with these new models, and it shows. Even the original models from a decade ago were amazing guitars, at any price. Matt could easily just play Gibson, but he doesn’t.

I briefly owned the original Epiphone Matt Heafy 7 String, and it was an absolute monster for the price. Matt has infused the new Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins models with the same upgrades and pickups that he currently uses live. These guitars are the exact same model that you see him playing on stage, so they have to be up to par. There have been some significant changes from the original lineup, and mostly for the better.

Epiphone Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origins Electric Guitar
$1,099.00

GIG READY guitar with hard shell case! The Epiphone Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origins is the signature electric of the extraordinarily talented Trivium guitarist. It features a pair of custom-voiced Fishman Fluence pickups, each of which delivers three distinct tones. This guitar is a shredder's dream!

BUY NOW

If you watch Matt on Twitch or YouTube, you know that making these new Epiphone models has been a lot of trial and error. Matt has tried out different pickups, different necks, and it took a while for him to really dial in these new guitars. This has been a labor of love for Matt, and today we are going to break down all of the things that makes these guitars special. So let’s dive in, and check them out!


Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins: Features And Specs

Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins

The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins 6 and 7 string models both share the same features. When I say a lot of thought and care went into the design of these guitars, I mean a lot of thought went into their design. Everything about these guitars, down to the tuner buttons, is hand-picked by Matt. The result is the perfect balance between vintage looks, and modern features.


Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins: Testing

Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins White

The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins is a sight to behold in person. I have always loved the classic Les Paul Custom design, and this guitar is no exception. It just reeks of “classy” when you see the stark white/black finishes with gold hardware. The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins guitars also have the classic triple binding, and a full maple cap. But appearances can be deceiving, and this is not your “classic” Les Paul.

Fit And Finish: Right out of the included case, this thing is a spectacle. I looked over the entire guitar, and I couldn’t find one single flaw. The binding, and all of the paint is perfect. The intonation was spot on, but the string action was a little high for me. This was an easy fix, and it took about 5 minutes to dial it in. One thing though, the pickups are FULLY wrapped in plastic, and it was a PAIN to get that plastic off.

Otherwise, everything is just so classy. The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins is a gorgeous take on the classic Les Paul Custom. The headstock has the LP Custom aesthetics, and the only place you see Matt’s signature is on the truss rod cover, and then his name on the back in gold. I like when signature guitars are recognizable from the features, and not their name all over the thing.

The Grover locking tuners are a great addition, and any working guitarist will tell you that locking tuners are a game changer. Having locking tuners makes changing strings a breeze. It takes all of 5 minutes to change the strings on a guitar with locking tuners, and if you gig… you will be changing strings a lot. The “Tulip” style buttons are a killer accent, and a cool choice.

The weight was right at about 8lbs when we put it on the scale, and that is a surprise! I always expect Les Paul guitars to be a solid brick when it comes to weight. The modern weight relief makes a huge difference here. I think the guitar is chambered, although I couldn’t find the answer online. I even knocked on the body, and couldn’t find any hollow spots.

The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins also balances well, in both the 6 and 7 string versions. It doesn’t have any neck dive at all. These also come with strap locks that are ready to go right out of the case. Matt said he wanted to make these “gig-ready” and no guitarist would take the stage without some strap locks. These are easy to use, and are styled like the famous Schaller models.

Unlike most guitars with active pickups, the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins places the battery right on the back cover access panel. This was a big surprise to me, since I am so used to seeing the little 9 Volt battery back carved into the back of the guitar. This just makes the back of the guitar look a lot more like its classic brothers, and I like the conservative approach. The Fishman Pickups even match the hardware, with a gold stripe down the middle of both pickups!

The guitar is flawless out of the box, and it looks dead-sexy. But how does it play?


The Neck: is a slim taper, much like a 60’s Les Paul neck, but it has more of a D shaped profile. This makes the neck not only slim, but it flattens out the higher up the fretboard you go. The radius is not on the spec sheet, but I can assure you that it is 14”. If you can picture an Ibanez Wizard neck, with a little bit more wood, that is exactly how it feels. In fact, it is almost exactly like a Premium Series Ibanez. Even the measurements are almost the same at the nut and 12th fret (we measured)!

Not only do you get an amazing neck on this guitar, but you also get a more modern cutaway on the neck heel. It is fully scooped out, so you can access the higher frets and nothing gets in your way. The horn itself even has a bit of a carve to it, and I had no problems reaching the upper frets while soloing. This is even more useful on the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins 7 string. That upper access makes a big difference with the slightly wider neck.

That being said, the 7 String version of the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins is one of the best 7 string necks I have played lately. Some guitarists will have a problem with the 25.5 scale length on the 7 string. So if you drop tune past A, this might not be the 7 string for you. Personally, I stay in standard tuning with 7 string guitars, so it wasn’t a problem for me at all. Just something to note, if you like to tune down. Otherwise, this neck rivals most Ibanez Wizard necks to me.

If I had one issue with the neck, I would say that the frets are a bit small for my taste. I think I have just become so accustomed to big jumbo frets on a “metal” guitar, that I expect them on a shredder guitar. But after playing both models for a little while, I got adjusted to the smaller frets. Big bends just don’t come as easy, but it didn’t take long to get used to the change. It was more apparent on the 7 string, of course, because that low B string is thick.

The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins guitars are made to be gigged, and the playability right out of the box is just amazing. This is a great guitar for musicians that need a reliable guitar for the stage and studio. It is built like a tank, and the neck profile is made to shred. But how it is built, and how it plays doesn’t matter at all if it doesn’t sound good.


Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins: Sounds

Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins

So, if you are a regular reader here, you know that I have not had the greatest experience with Fishman Pickups. The only ones I have really tried are the Modern line. The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins Les Paul has the Fishman MKH Pickups, so hopefully these will be better to my ears. Like usual, I used my BOSS Katana and Blackstar HT to test this axe out. I figure both of these amps would be in the same price range as people who would buy this guitar.

The Fishman Fluence MKH Pickup set are loaded with features:

Starting with clean tones, the MKH Fluence set sounds great on the neck pickup, and the coil split voicing is a true coil split. This means you get 60 cycle hum, so it might be a good idea to avoid high gain with the coil split. But for cleans? It sounds about as close to a real single coil sound that you can get out of an active humbucker. So for big clean chords, the coil split is gorgeous with a little bit of reverb and delay, especially in the middle position.

With clean tones out of the way, lets talk about some HEAVY tones! The bridge pickup is ceramic, which is the preferred magnet for high gain rhythm for most players. The tones are heavy, but the pushed midrange sounds big and the string separation is crystal clear. You can hear every note in a big chord even under super high gain. I always play a G “cowboy” chord under high gain to test this out, as well as complicated jazz chords.

The neck pickup is Alnico, and this gives the pickup a more PAF-like tone. You can get some creamy lead tones when you turn down the tone knob, and even wide open it still has great mid and bass response. This was even more noticeable on the 7 string model. The neck pickup has a little too much boom for the low B string, unless you are running scales above the 12th fret. That being said, it does the classic neck pickup sound that Les Paul guitars are known for.

However, just like the Fishman Fluence Modern set that I owned for a little over a year, the difference between the “Passive” and “Active” setting is very subtle. In fact, it is so subtle, you might not even notice the difference when you are playing. It makes a bigger impact when you are playing chords, for sure. But really, the difference is in the frequency. This is not something you can really hear unless everything is really loud, or you are recording multiple tracks.

Epiphone Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origins Electric Guitar
$1,099.00

GIG READY guitar with hard shell case! The Epiphone Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origins is the signature electric of the extraordinarily talented Trivium guitarist. It features a pair of custom-voiced Fishman Fluence pickups, each of which delivers three distinct tones. This guitar is a shredder's dream!

BUY NOW

I had the same issue with my Fishman Modern 7 String Set, and I rarely changed the voicing unless I was recording and needed a different frequency to fill the mix. Now the coil split is definitely noticeable since it has so much hum under high gain. But with a noise suppressor and a killer crunch tone dialed into the Blackstar, I was able to get that AC/DC sound from the bridge pickup. The crunch sounds are really amazing, especially with both humbuckers engaged with the coil split.

Maybe its just me, but that “Passive” voicing just really doesn’t make a difference for me. If I owned the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins LP, I would probably just keep it set to active unless I was recording overdubs. Again, I had this same issue with my own guitar when it had the Fishman Fluence Modern set. The voicings outside of the coil split just seems a little gimmicky to me. I know it sounds like heresy, but I just don’t “get” this feature.

One last thing that irks me about the Fishman MKH Pickups is the same thing that bothered me about the Modern Fluence set. They just sound a little too…perfect to me. Now for some players, this is exactly what they are going for. If you play progressive Metal, then you probably want that high fidelity, perfectly crisp sound. But I even plugged an octave fuzz pedal up, and the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins just wont get “dirty” enough for me.

This “perfect” sound is even more apparent on the 7 string model. I really want that low B string to sound nasty, and just gnarly. But no matter how I dial it in, it still remains clear and punchy. I feel like octave fuzz on a 7 string should sound big and downright disgusting, but it still keeps a balanced tone. Like I said, this is exactly what some guitarists are after, and this is just a personal choice. So if that’s the sound you are looking for, then the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins will be right up your alley.


Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins: Final Verdict

Epiphone Matt Heafy origins

Epiphone over the past few years has proven that the company is capable of making remarkable guitars at a budget price. Last year when I reviewed my first guitar, I was reminded of how amazing these guitars can be. Epiphone has really become the “working man’s” guitar over the years. These may be in budget territory, but they play and sound way above the price point.

That being said, the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins lineup is an example of the very best Epiphone can produce. These guitars feel and sound like instruments that cost three times as much. Its no wonder why Matt doesn’t have a problem playing these guitars live! They have everything you need to gig with. It doesn’t matter if you are playing one show a month, or you’re touring the country. Epiphone has shown us that it can make some of the best guitars for people on a budget.

There will always be people that think playing a Gibson on stage makes you “more like a pro”. But it has been nice to see that mindset slowly die out over the last decade. We see more players using affordable guitars these days, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You should play the guitar that speaks to you, and makes you want to play. Not some “wall trophy” that you barely ever pick up! I have been playing Schecter now for a few years, and I stand by each one of my guitars.

So if you are a fan of Fishman Fluence Pickups, and you need a Les Paul that is primed for playing heavy music, the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins might be your next guitar. I might not love the pickups, but the rest of the guitar is next-level amazing to me. The neck on both models rivals Ibanez, and it still has the classic look of a Les Paul Custom.

The original line that Matt and Epiphone designed sold really well, and this is about the only way you’re EVER getting a 7 string Les Paul. Sure, ESP/LTD makes a few, but this is a “real” Les Paul. Despite the pickups, the feel of the 7 string really blew me away. So much so, that I could probably live with the pickups for a while if I bought this guitar.

Epiphone has knocked it out of the park again, and I can see these selling really well. If you are looking for a gig-ready Les Paul that tends to sound better if you chug, then this guitar is for you. The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins also comes in a lefty version. It also features a custom Epiphone hard case that is ready for the road! Matt wanted these to be gig-worthy, and without a doubt…they are! Hopefully we see an Evertune version in the future!

Epiphone Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origins 7-String
$1,199.00

GIG READY 7 String with a hard shell case! The Epiphone Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origins 7-string is the signature electric of the extraordinarily talented Trivium guitarist. You get locking tuners, Fishman Pickups, and a neck that was made for shredding!

BUY NOW

Does The Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins Signature Come with a case?

It comes with a custom Epiphone hard shell case made especially for this model.

When is the release date for the Epiphone Matt Heafy Origins lineup?

The are currently on preorder with a short lead time! Most people get theirs in a couple of weeks!

Does Matt Heafy Play Epiphone?

Matt Heafy from Trivium plays Epiphone guitars live, and in the studio. These signature models are the same guitars that you can buy yourself.

Christoper Horton

Christopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.

Keep Reading

Pin It on Pinterest