Kirk Hammett Signature Series ESP / LTD Guitars

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It is a given that this new ESP Signature Series line of the Kirk Hammett ESP KH-2 SE and the LTD KH-SE will become collector’s items and only go up in price in the coming years. They are, after all, a stylish personification of one of metal’s most heralded shredders: Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. (Check Prices on Kirk Hammett Signature Series Gear). More importantly though, they are made to be played and heard. TheToneKing.com sees only high quality components and craftsmanship going into this highly personalized line. For a lead player, the 24 frets is that extra edge from the typical 22 fret necks seen on most guitars. And on the ESP line, the scalloped frets from #17 up through the 24th fret is an amazing extra bonus—like ordering a Ferrari to deliver blistering solos with articulation that you would be hard pressed to achieve on a conventional fingerboard. But even so, the LTD version is already amazing even without the scalloping—and scalloping isn’t for everybody anyway. Most of the pictures of the greenburst finish don’t do it justice. It has a beautiful metalflake greenburst finish that has to be seen up close to fully appreciate. And the metalflake isn’t overboard, it is tastefully understated but so easy to see up close. It would make sense that a guy who loves Boris Karloff in The Bride of Frankenstein and is a vegetarian, would have a stylish greenburst guitar like this in his arsenal. This line, in a very stately fashion, says a lot about Kirk’s personality and his love of all things scary. TTK approves of things that go bump in the night, especially if it’s an ESP KH-2 SE or a LTD KH-SE.

Kirk Hammett ESP KH-2 SE: (Check Prices)

  • Neck-Thru-Body Construction
  • 25.5” Scale
  • Alder Body
  • Maple Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 42mm Locking Nut
  • Extra Thin U Neck Construction
  • 24 XJ Frets (#17-24 Scalloped)
  • Green Pearloid Skull and Bones Inlays
  • Black Hardware
  • Gotoh Tuners
  • Floyd Rose Original Bridge
  • EMG 81 (Bridge) EMG 60 (Neck) Active Pickups
  • Greenburst Finish
  • 3-Way Pickup Switch
  • Bridge Volume Pot
  • Neck Volume Pot
  • Master Tone Pot
  • $3499.00 average price point
  • ESP LTD CMHFF MH Form Fit Case for around $120.00

(The KH-2 Greenburst w #17-24 Scalloped  version presently has a production line of 100…yes, only 100—which makes the 3.5K pricetag rather amazing!)

There are several reasons why a scalloped fingerboard can be appealing: ease of note punctuation, clarity, and speed—Yngwie Malmsteen being likely the most prominent purveyor of the scalloped fingerboard in practice. Only scalloping from the 17th fret and up gives a solo heading into this nether region a decided advantage of articulating well. Think of it as turbo-charging your solos north of the 17th fret. TTK finds it was a wise move in this guitar’s design to limit the scalloping only to that region of the fingerboard. Scallops below the 17th fret can get in the way of non-single note work. Scallops take some getting used to and demand a lighter touch to take advantage of them, hence, the need-for-speed. This is a shredder’s dream neck. There’s a reason guys like Malmsteen, Vai, and Hammett find scalloping useful for their playing styles. This is the main feature that differentiates the ESP and the LTD versions of the Hammett Signature Series line. Like I say though, scalloping isn’t for everybody, and the LTD version more than does the job of a conventional neck and then some.

Line 6

Kirk Hammett LTD KH-SE: (Check Prices)

  • Bolt-On Construction
  • 25.5” Scale
  • Basswood Body
  • Maple Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 42mm Locking Nut
  • Extra Thin Flat Neck Contour
  • 24 XJ Frets
  • Green Pearloid Skull and Bones Inlays
  • Black Nickel Hardware
  • ESP Tuners
  • Floyd Rose Special Bridge
  • ESP LH-301 Bridge and Neck Pickups
  • Greenburst Finish
  • 3-Way Pickup Switch
  • Bridge Volume Pot
  • Neck Volume Pot
  • Master Tone Pot
  • $599.00 average price point
  • ESP LTD CMHFF MH Form Fit Case for around $120.00

(The LTD version presently has a production line of 300)

View in HD, from Winter NAMM 2011:

 

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