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This ESP USA Eclipse features:
For nearly 50 years ESP has played many important roles in the music industry; starting out in the spare parts business, which transitioned into OEM guitar manufacturing, and ultimately their own ESP branded products.
This ESP Eclipse comes from their USA factory in North Hollywood, California. They make plenty of guitars for ready availability but it's really more of a well-oiled custom shop. The USA builders take classic ESP designs to a new level, with world-class materials and an extra focus on artistry. The Eclipse is their classically influenced rock guitar that is built to have an authoritative voice. The combination of a Mahogany body capped with Maple is the quintessential "best of both worlds" platform. Mahogany is a dense tonewood that provides warmth and richness while the Maple cap accentuates the treble side of the spectrum. Combined with a deep set 3-piece Mahogany neck, the Eclipse has a deep voice authoritative voice and excellent sustain.
For this particular build, we went with ESP's pairing of the Duncan SH-2n Jazz neck pickup, and SH-16 59/Custom Hybrid in the bridge. The Duncan Jazz is a lower output Alnico 5 pickup designed for clean tones and good articulation even with distortion. Being an A5 pickup it's got good attack qualities on all strings, and the thick mahogany body gives it a husky midrange that is brawny but not overly bass heavy. Roll back the volume knob a bit and the guitar leans out some, allowing for more aggressive picking and strumming. Using mild to heavy gain, the notes remain defined -- not soupy or mushy -- even when playing chords. It's not a creamy "woman tone" but more of a hot and crunchy blues/rock flavor with plenty of heft that's suitable for power chords or leads.
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. For all the people thinking it: Yes, it seems to be somewhere in-between a Slim 60 and '59 profile. Profile aside, this 3-piece set-thru Mahogany neck is decked out with a hard Ebony fretboard and stainless steel Jescar frets. With a 1.65" nut width and modern 12" radius, this neck is feels fast and silky.
While the ESP brand is characterized by its predominantly heavy metal image, the company boasts and expansive product line. Lucky for us we had some friends at ESP that were eager to show us the many sides of the ESP name, and when we held our first USA piece, it was over. Their designs are familiar yet refreshing, and the USA shop delivers some the finest fit and finish you'll find on the market today. If you thought you knew ESP, think again.