Zakk Wylde’s Les Pauls

Zakk Wylde picked up his first Les Paul when he was only fifteen, and he decided then and there that he was going to learn to play. Randy Rhoads was one of Zakk’s idols and the teen set the goal of replacing him as the lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne’s group. Zakk was single-minded about the pursuit of his dream. He practiced for hours at a time as a teenager…sometimes as many as twelve hours straight. All of his friends and acquaintances in his hometown of Jackson, New Jersey could see that he was headed for the big time.

Zakk says that the artists who inspired him at an early age were Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Gary Moore, and of course Randy Rhoads. All of them played Gibsons, as did Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. According to Wylde, a Les Paul is capable of making a greater variety of sounds than just about any other guitar. They lend themselves equally well to heavy metal, Latin rhythms and lots of other genres.

After performing with a couple of local groups that he organized such as Stone Henge and Zyris, Zakks girlfriend urged him to send an audition tape to Ozzy Osbourne in 1987. At first, Ozzy was not interested in listening to the demo, but his drummer Randy Castillo urged him to give it a try. In just a few days, Zakk Wylde was brought to California to audition for Ozzy in person. After years of preparation for the job of a lifetime, Zakk did not even have to play a single note at the audition. Osbourne hired him while he was still in the process of tuning his guitar.

For more than twenty years, Zakk Wylde lent his considerable talents on guitar to Osbourne’s sound. For much of that time, Wylde was also working and recording with his own band Black Label Society. In fact, there were many tours when Wylde would perform a full set with BLS, take a five minute break off stage and come right back out to do a complete show with Ozzy. His energy seems to know no limits, and fans of his heart pumping style can vouch for that fact. His catchy solos are a mixture of jazz, country and metal and guitarists everywhere analyze them for their unique structure. Wylde is equally talented as a songwriter and has a large number of credits to his name.

Zakk has always loved Gibsons. He says that when he first joined Ozzy’s group he was looking for a way to differentiate himself from the late great Randy Rhoads, who was famous for his polka dotted axe. Zakk asked a friend of his to paint his Les Paul with a design similar to the graphic used in ads for the classic movie, Vertigo. When the end result looked more like a bull’s eye, Zakk decided he liked it and one of his signature looks was born.

Now, Gibson produces several Zakk Wylde signature models, and they were all designed with input from Zakk, himself. A Bull’s Eye Signature Les Paul is offered in both a new and aged version. One Les Paul features a Bull’s eye/Camo combination paint job. Gibson Custom has also released a Zakk Wylde Limited Edition Flying V model. There is a lower-priced version of the Bull’s Eye available from Epiphone, as well. Finally, Epiphone has come out with a Graveyard Disciple model that replicates the guitar Zakk used on the Pedal to the Metal tour.

No matter which style of guitar is your favorite, you can surely benefit as a musician from taking some good quality home study guitar lessons. There are several highly rated courses on our website that will help you raise the level of your sound. Metal Method is the system you need if you want to become a lead guitarist like Zakk. If you are more interested in becoming a good all-around musician, consider Learn and Master Guitar or Guitar Tricks. Whichever course you use, practice hard and hold on to your dream with both hands like Zakk Wylde did. You never know when your chance might come.