The ESP LTD Eclipse NT ’87 harkens back to the 1987 ESP Catalog to faithfully recreate the original ESP Eclipse. Stylistically fitting for the era, it’s a sleek 24 fret rock machine with neck-though construction and the classic sound of the times: Seymour Duncan 59 and JB pickups.
In the earlier days of ESP, they were much better known for their TE (T-style) shape than the more current Eclipse single cut LP shape. But make no mistake, this is very much a 24 fret LP style guitar in T-style clothing. From the mahogany body, set neck, scale length and TOM bridge it just screams you-know-what. But it’s also got the racy ESP styling, pointy headstock and slim neck with impeccably finished frets. In fact irrespective of price, there is nothing about this guitar that feels budget or a compromise.
Sonically, the neck-through construction is not just a gimmick, and this guitar has sustain for days. Chords will ring as long as you let them. The slim neck does not feature much taper, which is typical of the shredder era from which this design originates. But it’s fast, flat and comfortable to play. Lovers of vintage 50’s necks or those with really large hands might not bond with it, but it fulfills the mission of the 80’s hard rock guitar.
The Duncan pickups don’t disappoint in this guitar, producing burly neck tones that are warm and percussive, and the JB bridge pickup is commendably articulate without being overly sharp or metallic. These pickups were made for this type wood, construction and scale, and it’s where they sound best. It’s a perfectly satisfying instrument for clean playing, but we’ll wager that’s not the target user. While gain channels and pedals can vary widely, the Eclipse NT ’87 can range from bluesy and creamy to tight and harmonically rich rock crunch that is supported by its ample natural sustain. The tones are more classic than metal but our philosophy is that gain is easy to come by, so don’t paint yourself into a corner with overly hot pickups.This is a very well-made guitar that’s an excellent value in every respect. It does not break any new sonic territory, but in terms of tone, feel and vibe it sticks the landing. If you lean towards the thick, husky tone of a set neck mahogany guitar but want a more contemporary look, the Eclipse NT '87 fits that package