Horizon FR Review

manufacturer: ESP date: 11/15/2012 category: Electric Guitars
ESP: Horizon FR
The spec isn't anything too revolutionary, but it's absolutely brilliant. I don't think I'd want anything else on it.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.7
 Features: 10
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 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (3) pictures (3) 34 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
Horizon FR Reviewed by: metallicaddict, on november 15, 2012
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 1300

Purchased from: Thomann International

Features: I don't know about the year made, but it's definitely new, so I'm going to assume 2009. 24 Jumbo Frets Maple Neck / Ash Body / Neck-Thru / Ebony Fretboard Plain Gloss White Finish Original Floyd Rose Bridge Gotoh Tuners Seymour Duncan SH-1 (Neck) & TB-4 (Bridge) 1 Volume (With Coil-tap) / 1 Tone / 3-way Switch Comes with fitted ESP hard case & wrenches. I know the spec isn't anything too revolutionary, but it's absolutely brilliant. I don't think I'd want anything else on it. // 10

Sound: The sound is the best part of this guitar. All I can say, is clarity, clarity, clarity. Single notes? Defined. Powerchords? Punchy and agressive. Full Barre Chords with high distortion? No problem. I haven't played many guitars that can pull that off convincingly. The guitar is a jack-of-all-trades, master of one. That being Metal. It still has a great clean tone though, and the coil tap option is actually pretty persuasive... I would describe the tone as rich and full. Not as bright as say, an Ibanez, but a great place in the middle. Leads are fantastic and does very decent rhythm work. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Seeing as I bought this online (I couldn't be bothered to wait for one to be ordered in at my local shop) I had booked it in for a setup for when I received it. After taking it out of the box and playing it for a few hours, I canceled the setup. Granted it was ever so slightly out of tune, but the action was just how I like it and the intonation was perfect. I mean actually PERFECT, even up at the 24th fret. I adjusted the pickup height ever so slightly on the neck pickup, but that was more of a personal preference and not that the height was set badly. As far as I can see, there are no production flaws in mine, with the sole exception of the coil tap push/pull motion being a little dodgy, but I easily fixed that by opening the control cavity and fiddling. Which reminds me, this guitar had the neatest control cavity I've ever seen. The cavity was also painted black... God knows why. The fretboard is the tidiest I've ever seen, absolutely spot-on. The fingerboard grain has really popped out on mine, which I love. The binding area isn't perfect, but still good. I think to get any better quality I would have to get a custom guitar. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The finish on mine seems to be extremely durable, I hit it against something earlier and I can't even see where I hit it. Original Floyd Rose stays in tune perfectly, as expected. Very neat tremolo rout, by the way. Everything seems solid, if anything the knobs were a little TOO hard to take off... but at least I know they're not going anywhere. The input jack seems to have a clip mechanism, which is good. You really have to push the cable in. Strap buttons are fine, but I'm switching them for Dunlop Straploks as soon as they come in the post, because I love them. Highly recommended. // 10

Overall Impression: I play heavy metal/virtuoso style guitar (Steve Vai/Paul Gilbert/Kirk Hammet), mostly lead but with rhythm as well. I definitely chose well in terms of suitability, this is a real workhorse guitar. I've been playing for only 2 and a half years, but I've progressed a lot faster than I thought I would, so I thought I needed a pro-level guitar. If it was stolen, I'd go on a rampage then buy another. I wouldn't even think of trying anything else first. My main love with this guitar is that it doesn't really seem out of place in any setting. I started out playing some Metallica on it, then tried some Iron Maiden with the coil-tap on, then played Stairway (sorry, but nobody was around) and some chords/fingerpicking. At no point did I think 'hmm... this could be a little better in x or y'. I was considering buying an Ibanez instead, but I'm glad I didn't. An absolutely lovely guitar. // 10

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overall: 9.4
Horizon FR Reviewed by: BloodBound, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 2600

Features: Year? I'm not sure, but i heard this "series" or whatever were discontinued. It's all FR-II now (from Ash to alder) Made in Japan. Apparently that's not as good as USA made guitars? I beg to differ... Solid top sounds about right, not too sure about the meaning. Body of Ash, Maple neck with ebony f/board (both bound). Finish? Smoov shiny monochrome white babeh. Superstrat shape (I am a sucker for) With sculpted top I think they call it? I prefer this to the mostly flat top of M-II's for example. Original Floyd Rose bridge. Passive seymour duncans. Volume (and coil tap), Tone, and a 3 way selector. Bridge and neck, you know the drill. NECK PICKUP: Seymour Duncan SH-1n, BRIDGE PICKUP: Seymour Duncan TB-4. Gotoh tuners, largely inconsequential with the locking nut however. Came with an sweet hardcasecase and tools.. Which I was not told I was getting, so that was a bonus. // 10

Sound: I would mostly aim for the "HammerFall-solo's" sound, and Dream Theater rhythm distortion. Occasionally deviating to blues. This saturday I'll play with a mates band... Covering "roots bloody roots"... It's good for it all. However, as someone once said; Amp makes most the difference. With the coil tap it is extremely versitile. Noisy through my own amp, but it's a cheapy with no real distortion setting. Went awesome through a mates quad cab Line 6 though. Then again, so would most mid/high end guitars. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I have not messed with string height at all. It's fine. Pups are good, though I get a little string hum (probably the crap amp again - didn't happen with the huge Line 6) so i'll probably put the bridge pup down a little. Bridge is perfect in its ability to dive and climb, no obstructions. No flaws whatsoever. Perfect finish, perfect binding, perfect neck. No dead frets either. I'd say the finish is there to stay, but i am paranoid about bumping it anyway - being so expensive. A bitch to get unclean I have to add :P Black cars are statistically harder to keep clean... White = win. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Hell yeah it will withstand Live playing. No reason why it shouldn't IMO. Floyd stays in tune, and my habit of properly climatising the guitar + warming up prevent string snappage. All hardware WILL last. Strap buttons aren't going anywhere. Should probably get locking ones though, don't want to drop it afterall. I would depend on it Live. I don't fear string snappage as I said, and as is common with Floyd Rose. Finish will stay after lots of playing, but I'm not so sure with bumps and bruises. Hope I don't find out as it seems a little thin (I'm not even sure), but durable as I said. // 8

Overall Impression: I gave 9 where I thought it might not be the best, but it was exactly what I was after in a guitar. 10's where I thought it was genuinely the best. I play like, 3-4 years. Sold other guitars to pay for this beaut. I was given all info from here http://www.espguitars.co.jp/oversea/standard_gt/horizon_fr_sw.html so I think I was well informed, and was able to try before buying. Stolen or Lost? Not going to happen. period. Kept on/near person at all times. This is my ultimate guitar, nothing can replace her. I love the thicker than Ibanez neck, it just fits my hands better. It's painted neck, apparently this is slower? Beats my old Ibanez wizard neck... Original Floyd I love. Pretty easy to change tunings, not like T-O-M, but still. As i said, wont go out of tune [when set up properly..which is easy]. Compared to Ibanez, as mentioned. Comes out on top - easily. I just wish I had a better amp... That comes soon enough though. // 10

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overall: 9.8
Horizon FR Reviewed by: BrainDirt, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: ESP Horizon FR BK Features: * Alder Body * Maple Neck (neck thru) * Ebony Fingerboard * 24 Frets * Scale: 24,4" * 1x Seymour Duncan SH1N Pickup * 1x Seymour Duncan TB4 Pickup * Original Floyd Rose Tremolo * 1x Volume, 1x Tone control (Push-Push) * 3 way Toggle switch * Finish: Black * Incl. Case // 10

Sound: I play a large variety of music from blues to metal and with this guitar I can get most of the desired sounds especially due to the pickup split capacity, you can switch from normal to humbucker. I use a Marshall JVM 210C 100W valve amplifier and I believe that this amp brings the guitar's potential to maximum. It creates less feedback compare to my Gibson Les Paul and the sound is much more cleaner without loosing any of it's sustain or aggressiveness. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Every thing was completely fine when I got it. The whammy bar was perfectly adjusted and there where no problems with any thing. The only thing that I've noticed so far is that one of the screws to adjust the position of the rhythm pickup is a bit rough but with a good screw driver it's not a real problem. The guitar was delivered with 9-42 strings and a fancy guitar case. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This is guitar is not heavy, I can stand up for ours playing without my back complaining. The wood is "massive" and gives you a very nice feeling when you hold the instrument. Very resistant I once accidentally hit it against something and I still can't find any mark. The tune locks do an amazing job, I'm talking about abusing of bends without any single tuning problem! I've replaced the strap buttons with straplocks because I don't trust guitar buttons on any guitar so I can't really judge them. The Floyd Rose is simply perfect. Very easy to change the spring tension in case of string size change (I recently change the original 9-42 strings to Ernie regular slinky Ball 10-46). I've had this guitar for 4 months I play a lot on it and I've done some gigs with it and it still looks like a new one! I believe it's going to last for a very long time without letting me down. // 10

Overall Impression: So all in all with this guitar you can play everything from Cream to Megadeth, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath etc... I also own a Gibson Les Paul Studio and I'm happy that I got the Horizon FR because it suits better all my styles. The only negative side on this guitar is that you can't use drop D or other similar tuning due to the Floyd Rose so I still need my Gibson a lot to play some SOAD and RATM. The best thing on it is the Ebony Fingerboard. It just gives it such a good feeling when you play on, it's orgasmic! I got use to the Jumbo Frets in 2 days! I always had trouble with J.F. but this guitar made it so easier! I've been playing guitar for a few years now and since I got that one I just feel that I have improve really much and build-up a very strong style. If it ever got stolen I would do every thing just to find the thief and give him hell! This guitar is 100% worth it especially for metal and thrash. // 10

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