**Matt Olivo is the founding guitarist of extreme metal trailblazers Repulsion, whose Horrified LP ranks as Decibel's #1 grindcore album of all time. Because we know that every reader ever plays guitar, we brought his print column to the Deciblog. In issue #120 Matt gave his feedback on ESP's Eclipse LTD EC-1000T guitar, which "offers a worthy Les Paul ghost." This month, Gearified takes a close look at a solid offering from a worldwide leader in metal instrument manufacturing, ESP Guitars. We’ve kept a close eye on this aggressively growing crafty crew for some time now. This Japan-based company has been producing smart-looking quality instruments for decades now under two labels: the (Japanese) luthier-built “ESP” moniker, with production models falling under the “LTD” brand. LTD’s are mass-assembled in a variety of mostly Asian countries, but under strict standards and guidelines from the original ESP luthier designs. The result is quality-built axes for all price points, from plebe to pro. Speaking of pro, ESP endorses metal megastars James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, as well as Tom Araya, the late, great Jeff Hanneman, Alex Skolnick, Nergal, Max Cavalera, Alexi Laiho and many more. Impressed yet? Read on…
Look The Eclipse body shape is a Gibson Les Paul copy, plain and simple. The familiar hump over and hook under are a near match. The control configuration is exactly the same, save for a shared tone control. Gibson’s classic trapezoidal fingerboard markers are replaced with ESP’s reminiscent “flag” shape, and even the three-on-a-side conventional Les Paul headstock has been emulated. The EC-1000T also features appointments very similar to Gibson’s elite Les Paul Custom line to include 3-ply body edge binding adorning the front and back, and premium hardware and pickups. Ours came in a flawless snow-white gloss finish, trimmed with blingy gold hardware. The look of the EC-1000T is, as you can see, quite familiar and traditional. However, the ESP-designed features are all modern.
Under the Hood The EC-1000T was designed to shred, plain and simple. The smart pairing of a lightning-fast thin-u-shaped mahogany set neck and extra jumbo frets on a perfectly selected ebony fingerboard gets the party started in style. The all-mahogany body thickness matches the density and mass of a real Gibson Les Paul. Tone woods are complemented with a pair of DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary pups, and the result is a strikingly bright-sounding guitar with loads of sustain and dynamics well suited for hard rock, metal and blues. A premium TonePros brand locking TOM bridge/tail piece and LTD branded locking keystone tuners keep the EC-1000T in tune and intonated on a pro level. The amount of choice features and appointments on a guitar of this price point is as jaw-dropping as it is mouth-watering!
Playability The slinky neck profile and XJ fretted fingerboard conform quite comfortably into our claws. Chording and rhythm playing in the lower positions feels properly solid, as the snug build brings all of the components together in a cushy chorus. String tension is easy-feeling due to the shorter scale (24.75”), so climbing up the glossy finished neck for leads and bends is effortless. Control layout is modified from the Les Paul traditional VVTT layout, and what ESP provides is a modernized and streamlined VVT in a curved line, with the bridge pup first in line. We found this to be intuitive, and thus a faster means to control volume on the pup we all use the most (bridge).
Sound As aforementioned, the PAF DiMarzios paired with the tone woods bring home a nice mid-range-to-bright tone. Perfect for rock and NWOBHM, and even punk. Add a bit more gain on our Marshall JCM 800 half-stack and the thrashing ’80s showed up—chugging riffs like a belt sander to someone’s face, and leads that scream and wail with loads of sustain and pleasing shrill.
Summary ESP’s LTD EC-1000T is a solid player and looker. The price is right, and the tone shreds. Go check one out today—Gearified commands it!
For this and other quality-made instruments, point your porn box to: http://espguitars.com/