Sunday, March 8, 2015

ESP Marks 40 Year Anniversary

Written by: Sean Austin

Date: February 23rd, 2015

40 years is a long time for a company to stay in business, especially in the current economy. The best way to ensure longevity in any industry is to find a niche, get your brand’s product in the hands of those who use it most, and keep your customer happy. ESP has been known as the premier heavy metal guitar manufacturer for nearly their entire run, finding their way into the legacies of such legendary acts as Metallica, Slayer and the Deftones among countless others. By matching quality woods and designs with killer electronics by EMG Pickups ESP has maximized the quality of their axes and delivered a product that does what it supposed to and has consistently thrilled the callous-handed cult worldwide.

This year marks ESP’s 40th anniversary and to commemorate the event the company has put out a limited run of gorgeous pieces including two from the Eclipse series, an EC, an MH and its 7-string brother, the H7. While all of them are beautiful, high quality shred machines, I’m going to concentrate on my favorite in the series: the EC-2015.

I will be completely truthful, the first time I saw an ESP Eclipse I absolutely hated it. Since the time I was young, anytime I see a Les Paul-shaped guitar (with the exception of the Heritage models, I’ve been lusting over those for years) I get a severe case of the fantods. It always seemed like a cheap and desperate attempt to capitalize on the respectable legacy of the Gibson guitar company. However, after seeing what my good friend Zakk Mild, one of the most tasteful and talented metal guitarists in New Jersey, does with his LTD EC-1000QM, my mind was swiftly changed. Be sure to check out his band,Huldra, for a taste of what I’m talking about, you shan’t regret it.

Since being converted by my good friend I have definitely warmed up to the series. The line’s features include super fast, playable necks, locking tuners, a Tune-o-matic style bridge, and top notch EMG pickup configurations. However, if I’m being honest, the finishes offered always turned me off. The satin black finish always looked corny to me, their version of the sunburst finish comes off as gaudy and cheap, and I feel like they ruined their beautiful selection of quilted maple with a black cherry finish that while isn’t completely hideous, just doesn’t suit my personal tastes.

Well, I feel like they finally nailed it with the EC-2015. They did us right by covering that gorgeous maple with a see-thru satin finish in a color all of us metalheads can get with: black. Looks, which are on point, aside, this thing is stacked. Specs are listed at the bottom of this article, so I am just going to touch on the features that I like the most.

First off, ESP changed up the pickup configuration on this one, opting for the EMG 57/66 array, which are PAF-style and feature Alinco-V magnets complimented by steel pole pieces. A little change from your typical 81/85 setup, they get more of a classic, warmer sound than their more metallic, sharp sounding counterparts. Fans of Gibson’s Burstbuckers and ’57 Classic Humbuckers take note.

The guitar also comes with a certificate of authenticity from ESP and a special 40th Anniversary hardshell case. Both the front and back of the headstock are imprinted with ESP’s 40th Anniversary logo, which further makes these beauties stand out from the pack. Limited to 300 pieces worldwide and with a relatively modest street price of $1,099, I would recommend you jump on this one if you like what you see.

All in all, this guitar has the potential to make a believer out of even the most hardened Les Paul purist. It really has it all, ESP’s widely beloved thin U-shaped neck, a gorgeous finish, a fresh set of pickups atypical to the brand that help distinguish it from previous models, and most importantly, a consumer friendly price tag. The only thing missing for me is the binding they put on the neck of the EC-1000QM, but hey, there’s a 50th Anniversary coming up in 2025, right?


• Construction: Set-Neck
• Scale: 24.75″
• Body: Mahogany
• Top: Quilted Maple
• Neck: Mahogany
• Fingerboard: Ebony
• Fingerboard Radius: 350mm
• Finish: See Thru Black Satin
• Nut Width: 42mm
• Nut Type: Molded
• Neck Contour: Thin U
• Frets/Type: 24 XJ
• Hardware Color: Black
• Strap Button: Standard
• Tuners: LTD Locking
• Bridge: Tonepros Locking TOM Bridge & Tailpiece
• Neck PU: EMG 66 Brushed Black Chrome
• Bridge PU: EMG 57 Brushed Black Chrome
• Electronics: Active
• Electronics Layout: Vol/Vol/Tone/Toggle Switch
• Case: CECFF40
• Case Included: Y

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