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ESP Eclipse Tiger Eye Sunburst

   
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For almost 50 years ESP has been producing premium guitars for a full spectrum of musicians. In 2014, ESP broke ground on their first-ever USA factory in North Hollywood, California where they hand-craft some of the finest instruments to bear the ESP name. The Eclipse is a classic ESP model that offers the versatility of the  single cut aesthetic, with materials and build quality you might only see from custom builders. With a full range of top-notch appointments and one of the best flame tops we've seen, this Tiger Eye Burst ESP USA Eclipse is a real work of art.

This ESP USA Eclipse features:

  • Mahogany body with Flame Maple Top, 9 pounds
  • Tiger Eye Sunburst finish
  • Natural masked binding
  • 3-piece 'Thin U' Mahogany neck - Cream binding
  • Ebony Fingerboard
  • 1.650" nut and 12" radius, 24-3/4" scale
  • Jescar FW57110 - Stainless Steel Frets
  • Seymour Duncan SH-2n Jazz neck pickup
  • Seymour Duncan SH-16 59/Custom Hybrid bridge pickup
  • 3-position pickup switch
  • 2 x vol 1 x tone controls and push/pull coil tap
  • TonePros T3BT bridge
  • Sperzel Trim-Lok tuners
  • ESP USA Form Fit Deluxe Case
  • Made in USA

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 Duncan 59/Custom Hybrid is one of our favorite bridge pickups for classic rock and hard rock. It uses a mismatched coil set to accentuate the harmonics, which creates a marvelously detailed and sparkly rock grind. The Alnico 5 magnet also keeps the low end tight, making it a great match for percussive low end riffs and tight rhythm playing. The mids are not overly accentuated so it never sounds nasal or congested (one of our hot humbucker peeves). In the Eclipse the 59/Custom sounds massive, but articulate. Clean tones are very respectable too, and working the volume control a little yields a bright jangly response that is not icy or metallic.

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.