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.