Testament’s Alex Skolnick has just announced that he’s joined forces with ESP Guitars for a new signature model. Available in January 2014, the ESP Alex Skolnick EC and the LTD AS-600 will be offered in two finishes: Silver Sunburst (SSB) and Lemonburst (LB). Based on ESPʼs popular Eclipse body style, the guitars feature a set-neck design at 24.75” scale, with a full-thickness mahogany body, mahogany neck, a custom headstock, rosewood fingerboard with custom inlays, Grover tuners, TonePros locking TOM bridge with stop tailpiece, and an Alex Skolnick signature Seymour Duncan pickup set.
Here are some words from Alex about ESP: Continue reading
The Revolver magazine Golden Gods awards are always a huge highlight on the metal calendar. It’s a chance for the heavy music community to get together over a few drinks – okay, a lot of drinks – remember a few fallen comrades (this year’s event took place just hours after the announcement of the death of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hannemann) and to just generally celebrate heaviness in the same way that the mainstream music celebrates itself at the Grammys, or the film industry celebrates itself at the Oscars, or the theatre scene does with the Tonys. Of course, with the exception of the Bret Michaels incident a few years ago, the typical Tonys telecast doesn’t involve screaming, or bleeding copiously from the head – which is what happened when Dillinger Escape Plan took the stage at this year’s Golden Gods, with the added bonus of fire. Lots of it. “Aaha. There was certainly a lot of confused faces in the crowd,” laughs guitarist Ben Weinman. “I think that’s why they asked us to do the job.” Continue reading
This has been rumoured for a few months, but now it’s a reality: From 2014, the only guitars to bear the ESP name will be Japanese Custom Shop models. The Standard series will come to an end and the new (and continuing) guitar models will be named E-II.
ESP has plenty of great pics on their Facebook, but here are a couple of teasers. I gotta say, this 8-string is reeeeeeally doing it for me. If you’re here in Australia, keep an eye on Bmusic for all the new models.
Andrew WK’s new custom ESP. Why? Because pizza.
What’s he calling this thing? The ESPizza? The PepperonE.S.P?
BELA LUGOSI’S TALES FROM THE GRAVE ELECTRIC GUITAR & COFFIN CASE!
(LOS ANGELES) ESP Guitars is coming out with a limited edition LTD Dracula Bela Lugosi Dracula Guitar. There will be only 325 of these made Worldwide. They come with a limited edition killer coffin case as well.
This guitar will be featured at Comic-Con International 2012 (SDCC 2012) in San Diego this July and will be heavily publicized by ESP in Premier Guitar Magazine in the October issue.
Eternal Descent and Calabash Animation launch Animated Series on IndieGoGo Star studded heavy metal series from IDW Publishing puts music and comics in motion.
The Eternal Descent comic series from IDW Publishing has bridged the worlds of music and comics like no other, with an army of chart topping heavy metal stars including Joe Satriani, Wayne Static, Gus G, Arch Enemy, Periphery, Shadows Fall, and many more appearing throughout the saga.
In our continued effort to explore the unholy alliance between heavy metal and high fantasy, we’ve teamed up with Calabash Animation, the acclaimed animation studio led by Sean Henry and Wayne Brejcha, to bring you an animated reimagining of Eternal Descent!
Having tested our mettle with a 2 minute animated preview, we’re now in pre-production for a 22 minute pilot episode, which would realize Eternal Descent as a fully animated TV show. It’s our pleasure to announce that Mike Sizemore is handling the script, and if you love animation, fantasy, and heavy guitars, then this could be the show you’ve been waiting for! See the preview and find out how you can get involved at: www.indiegogo.com/eternaldescent
There are plenty of benefits to be gained from using active pickups, not the least of which are low noise and high signal integrity over long cable runs. But not everyone loves the sound of typical actives. EMGs are well known for their killer metal tone – they’ve driven the tones of players like Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield, Zakk Wylde and Devin Townsend to name just a few – and their single coils were long used by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Seymour Duncan seems to be especially good at spotting holes in the market, and there was a pretty glaring one in the active sector: players who want the benefits of active pickups but would prefer a more organic tone. The Blackouts series of pickups do a great job of this, but the Blackouts Modular Preamp is another very clever approach to the issue.
Available separately and in the Blackouts Coil Pack and Gus G FIRE Blackouts System signature set (which is featured in some of Gus’s signature ESP and LTD guitar models), the BMP-1s replaces your existing volume pot, throws in a 9v battery, and allows you to get a high gain active guitar sound from any passive four-conductor pickup. In Gus’s case, the BMP-1s is combined with a matched pair of low-out Alnico 5-loaded passive humbuckers. Gus explains: “This system combines the massive tone, kick, and distortion of Blackouts with the rich tone and expressive feel of my favorite passive pickups. It responds perfectly to all my picking techniques, and more of my personality comes through than with any active pickup I’ve tried.” Naturally Gus needs plenty of sonic versatility within the rock/metal realm, since he does double time in Firewind and as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist.
I’ve always been an admirer of ESP’s Horizon body shape, ever since I saw Devin Townsend holding one on the cover of Guitar World when he was in Steve Vai’s band. Part traditional, part sleek modern and, in Townsend’s words, “It looks like Satan,” the Horizon is a great platform for experimentation. The arched, carved top is comfortable and attractive whether it’s finished in a solid colour or a transparent finish over quilted maple, the recessed controls are comfortable, and it can be a wildly different guitar depending on whether you go for a Floyd Rose model or a fixed bridge one, and if you rock active or passive pickups. Part of ESP’s Japanese-made Standard Series, the Horizon FR 27 is an alder-bodied superstrat with a three piece maple neck, neck thru construction with super-comfortable neck/body carve, snappy 25.5″ scale length, and smoky-looking black nickel hardware. The fretboard is ebony, and the bridge is an original Floyd Rose double locking unit.
The neck features 27 — yes, 27 – extra jumbo frets, although the last one doesn’t quite extend all the way up to the low E string thanks to the curved fretboard edge. The neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan SHR-1n single coil-sized humbucker which slants along with the fretboard, while the bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan TB-14 ‘Custom’ model. There’s a three way pickup selector switch, a master volume control, and a master tone pot which doubles as a push-push coil split. Oh and the fretboard is scalloped from the 12th fret to the 24th, which makes a huge difference to playability but is a subtle enough modification that you might not even notice it if you see the guitar hanging on the wall in a store.
Massachusetts modern metal monsters Unearth are currently here in Australia for the Soundwave festival, and guitarist Buz McGrath is rocking a pretty unique guitar for the shows. Buz was a longtime Ibanez endorser with some of the coolest Ibanez LA Custom Shop guitars in the biz, but although he still has a soft spot in his heart for that company, he recently decided it was time for a change. That led him and his unique custom ideas to find a new home with ESP, who recently introduced the LTD Buz-7 (click here to preorder it from Bmusic). Black bound maple fretboard, Snow White Sunburst finish, reverse headstock, neck-through-body construction, maple neck, alder body, 25.5″ scale, extra thin flat neck contour, 24 extra jumbo frets, EMG 707 active pickups, Grover tuners, Floyd Rose 1000 series bridge… it’s one of the sexiest 7-strings ESP or LTD has ever produced. I managed to grab some time with Buz to ask him what the deal was.
You were an Ibanez guy for a million years. What happened?
It was about a year ago that I felt like I couldn’t really do much with them. They were very good to me the whole time I was there. They made me some amazing custom guitars. Mike Taft, he was awesome. he would give me whatever I asked for. But I just felt like I needed a change. Part of my motivation was a signature model – not that that should be the be all and end all of a company, but that was part of it, and I saw that with ESP I would at least have a chance to get to that point. Whereas Ibanez has so many great players in much bigger bands than me who don’t even have that on the horizon. I thought that if Oli Herbert from All That Remains doesn’t get one then I don’t think they’re going to give me one. Or Chris Broderick [Megadeth], who ended up leaving for Jackson.
But I love Ibanez guitars. They were always good to me, but ESP made some goals of mine happen, and that’s rad. Not to mention I was always a fan of those guitars too, so it was always an easy choice.
Unearth’s Buz McGrath always had some of the freaking coolest custom Ibanez models. So many of us screamed bloody heresy when he switched to ESP. It’s not that ESP guitars are bad or anything – c’mon, they’re amazing – it’s just that Buz’s ideas always worked so well with Ibanii. Would his ideas translate over to the ESP aesthetic? Well get a load of this:
Ooooh yeah. That’s the LTD Buz-7 right there, my friend. I especially like the subtly angled trem cavity (it’s really like that, yeah? It’s not an optical illusion?), the black bound maple fretboard, the Snow White Sunburst finish and the reverse headstock. Other features: neck-through-body construction, maple neck, alder body, 25.5″ scale, Xtra Thin Flat neck contour, 24 extra jumbo frets, EMG 707 active pickups, Grover tuners, Floyd Rose 1000 series bridge. More info here.