Price paid: C$ 1700
Purchased from: mothers
Sound — 9
I play most any kind of music, but this guitar was purchased to fill my need for a high-end metal guitar. Consequently, this amp spends most of its time playing through a Peavey 6505+ combo (with a 4X12 cab, no effects). However, I do use it as a backup to my ASAT, so I've played it through my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (running 12AT7 tubes instead of 12AX7). Through the Fender, this guitar is suprisingly good, considering the pickups. It is suprisingly quiet, which is really quite nice. The bridge pickup is a little too powerfull for the cleans on this amp though, and it pushes the amp into a brittle break-up too easily. Both pickups together give a good, albeit bright, rhythm tone with a somewhat Acoustic quality. The neck pickup is a real suprise though, cranking out good jazz tones and awesome blues tones with a little gain added to the amp. Through the Peavey, this guitar really shines. On lower gain settings (think classic rock), the guitar is a little brighter than a typical les paul, but it coaxes a good cruch tone out of the amp. Turning the gain up furthur, the bridge pickup starts to sound really mean; notes jump out of the amp with pop and clairity. Even complex chords maintain definition. At the same time, the neck pickup is able to really sing, with a vocal like quality and sustain that just beg you to keep playing. Getting the gain up to modern metal levels leads to a predictable result: the guitar kills. The bridge pickup refuses to be overwhelmed by the amp. Whatever you play comes out with a clairity and Precision that I haven't heard in many guitars. Also, pinch harmonics are a total breeze. The neck pickup gives the guitar a totally different voice. It is smooth and buttery without being sluggish or imprecise. It just sings while maintaining enough definition for even the fastest of licks. Overall, this guitar excells as a metal guitar, which was to be expected. However, the fact that it is capable of handling the cleaner stuff is a totally unexpected and much appreciated (and used) bonus.
Overall Impression — 9
I am mostly a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type of guitarist, I play whatever comes to mind. I've been playing close to a decade now, and in that time I have accumulated many guitars (many of which I've parted ways with). This guitar was purchased to fill my need for a metal guitar. The Eclipse 2 does all forms of metal with ease. What really sold me on the guitar though was the ability to play things other than metal. Its not the best all-rounder, but it is definately commendable. Also, this is probably the best playing guitar I have ever owned. It is just really easy to play it and that is the main draw for me. Currently, I'm looking to get a second one with a Floyd Rose. I would encourage anybody looking for a pro-quality metal guitar to give the ESP a serious look. Cheers!
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't had the chance to gig this guitar too much yet (injured myself), maybe 10 or 12 times, but it seems really solid. The hardware is all sturdy, the guitar barely needs to get tuned up over the course of a show which is kinda nice. Also, the overall construction just leads you to feel that the guitar is going to last. My only concern at all, it is a big one, is the strap buttons: they suck. The shape of the strap buttons causes them to push the strap off when the guitar moves about. Though its easy to put in straplocks, better buttons really are a must!
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The factory set-up on this guitar was near perfect. Action was low without any hint of buzzing, intonation was flawless and it just played right out of the box. Aside from that, my only gripe is that the strings were not the best, but thats a pretty small detail. Beyond that, the fretwork on this guitar is perfect; nicely dressed, no sharp ends and great consistency. This consistency continues to the fret markers, where you really have to look quite hard to see any filler. All the hardware on the guitar seems to be very good quality, and the satin gold plating is consistently great. The guitar arrived with no loose bits rattling around and I'm yet to find any significant issues at all. However, the neck pickup was a little lower than I would have liked from the factory, but this was a 10 second fix. Also, kudos to ESP for the quality of the matte finish. These tend to show flaws, and this one has none.
Features — 8
The Eclipse 2 is ESP's attempt at a modernized Les Paul type guitar. My guitar was made in Japan in 2010. It features a mahogany body with a maple cap, a mahogany neck, with a modern thin u shape, and an ebony fingerboard. The fingerboard has 22 extra-jumbo frets and has the Standard ESP flag inlays with an ESP logo at the 12th fret. The body is finished in a "vintage" matte black, and has gold binding. Hardware-wise, everything here is top-notch: Gotoh Magnum-lock machine heads, tune-o-matic bridge (somewhat suprisingly, not a locking unit), EMG 81/60 pickup set controlled by two volume knobs, a tone knob and a 3 way selector, and a bone nut. All in all, none of these parts selections are that special, but they illustrate the desire and necessary attention to detail to produce a really professional quality instrument. By the way, shame on you ESP (and any other guitar company who does this) for not including a case. Thats a little sad.