This ESP E-II Horizon NT features:
- Flame Maple Top Dark Brown Burst finish, 7.0 pounds
- Mahogany body
- 3-piece 'Thin U' Mahogany neck
- Ebony Fingerboard
- 1.650" nut and 12" radius, 25-1/2" scale
- 24 Nickel Silver XJ Frets
- Seymour Duncan Jazz neck pickup
- Seymour Duncan 59/Custom Hybrid bridge pickup
- 3-position pickup switch
- vol x tone controls and push/pull coil tap
- Gotoh TOM bridge and Tailpiece
- Gotoh Locking tuners
- Hardshell Deluxe Case
- Made in Tokyo, Japan
For almost 50 years ESP has played a many important roles in the music industry. Their humble roots began in Tokyo, Japan as a replacement part shop for stringed instruments. People quickly realized that their parts were higher quality than most originals on the market, and ESP became a destination for custom guitar projects and OEM manufacturing. Their custom work launched a frenzy of interest by world-class players, pushing the brand into full guitar and bass production with guitars now made in Japan, Korea (LTD), Indonesia (LTD) and USA.
This E-II Horizon NT is made in Tokyo, Japan where the ESP brand was born. The E-II line was created as a bridge between the Korean/Indonesian LTD series and the premium USA and ESP Original Japanese models. The Japanese penchant for quality control makes these the highest quality "production" ESP's, and coming from Tokyo gives each one a unique sense of family tradition. The Horizon NT features the classic combination of Flame Maple over Mahogany for a balanced tonal palette that emphasizes both depth and clarity. We opted for the stop-tail version of the Horizon to get the most sustain out of those tonewoods.
The pickups in the Horizon NT are the venerable Seymour Duncan Jazz SH-2 humbucker in the neck and the '59/Custom Hybrid in the bridge. This is a nice bold Alnico V combination that emphasizes both attack and clarity. The Jazz neck is wound to a mild 7.5k ohms and is pleasingly snappy for a set-neck mahogany guitar. The low end is tight and percussive, but the mids and treble are commendably crisp for a neck humbucker. The '59/Custom bridge pickup uses mismatched coils and an Alnico V bar magnet to provide good attack and tasty rock grind. Measuring at around 11k, it's fairly cool for a rock bridge humbucker, which means it's still got respectable clean tones that shimmer nicely. Jump on your favorite gain pedal and the Horizon pumps out tightly packed rock crunch that is very balanced across the spectrum with no annoying peaks or odd resonances. There is a lot of grind potential on tap, but it's musical and expressive. Best of all it cleans up nicely, and there is a surprising amount of jangle with both pickups together. We've played other E-II's and while they look a little "pointy" they are far from one trick ponies.
The neck on the Eclipse is what they call their "Thin U" profile. It's naturally comfortable and provides good palm support while being thin enough to get a thumb around the neck when necessary. To our precision calibrated hand it appears to be somewhere in-between a Slim 60 and '59 profile, with 3-piece Mahogany construction, Ebony fretboard and jumbo frets. Ebony is a dense, slick -- and increasingly rare -- hardwood that combines snappy response with low effort fingerboard gymnastics.
Getting to know the ESP brand has been a revelation. While most players know it by it's hard rock and predominantly heavy metal image, there are many facets to the ESP product lineup that address a wide range of player interests. With outstanding quality and a breadth of models, there is more to ESP than you think.