Alice In Chains’ Jerry Cantrell Shares The ‘Disappointing’ Story Of Getting His First Guitar


Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains’ founder and lead-guitarist, recently revealed the story of when he first thought he was going to get a Les Paul but got a typical acoustic guitar instead.

Cantrell has earned many titles throughout his career. In 2006 he was named ‘Riff Lord’ by Metal Hammer and was the No. 38 in Guitar World Magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time in 2004. Moreover, his solo in ‘Man in the Box’ ranked No. 77 in 100 Greatest Guitar Solos in 2008.

However, his successful career and guitar talent didn’t start easy. Although he had been passionate about electric guitars since childhood, it took him some time to get his first electric guitar. In a recent video on Gibson’s YouTube channel, he revealed the story of getting his first guitar, talked about his favorite Gibsons, and stated that he is currently working with Gibson to release JC signature guitars.

Here is his story about getting his first guitar:

“When I was in eighth grade I was living with my father and he bought me a guitar for Christmas. The funny part of that story is that you know kids have like the list of what they want for Christmas and I had made a list, and I cut out a picture of a Les Paul, and I put it on the paper, and I wrote above it ‘this is all I want.’ As the days leading up to Christmas kept ticking off the calendar there, I noticed a guitar-sized present underneath the tree, and I thought he got it for me, and so I was really stoked because I was pretty sure that’s what it was. I open it up, and I was correct, but it was not a Les Paul, it was an acoustic guitar, and I remember I was really disappointed and my dad was like ‘you get good on that thing first and then I’ll buy you a Les Paul but learn how to play that thing first.’

In the early 90s, I got four Les Pauls, and I still have them all. I got a white Les Paul which I later kind of doctored with a torch, and it’s kind of got like a burnt look to it like an almost like a leopard print. There was a black one, you know, black on black and a trans blue so you could still see the wood grain underneath it and the wino which has also got a trans finish so you can see the wood through it and it’s a guitar that I’ve always dug all four of those balls actually, and I still have them and still rock them all today.”

The guitarist then said:

“You know the cool thing is there’s a couple of little tweaks with like some pickups and the distressed look, it’s pretty wild. I held them up right next to each other, and it’s pretty spot-on like the marks on the thing. It’s always been one of my favourite guitars, it is a really good-looking guitar. Each guitar has its own thing. Even if you take ten guitars that are exactly the same model of the line they’re all going to be just a little bit different you know there are little variances of stuff.

The wino to me, has a little bit more of a warmer rounder tone I think than the other three, always been the case with that guitar, it’s just got a little bit of a fuller kind of richer warmer sound. I’m really happy to officially be part of the Gibson family now and I think we’ve made some really great guitars. I love the company and the folks running it. I’ve always been a fan of their guitars, and we’re coming out with some really cool JC models that hopefully you’ll like.

You can watch the full video below.