Today's review is for Metallifags. Its a ESP KH-2 Kirk Hammett Signature Series Electric Guitar. Yes yes, I know, Metallica. Stop booing me, I just figured that since there was no proper review out there in the interwebs, I could jolly well do one!
Features: A Standard LTD body and reverse headstock with an extra thin neck, makes for very easy playing. Neck-through-body construction and 24 XJ frets makes it more confortable to play and shred in. Body wood is american alder and neck wood is solid maple, with a rosewood fingerboard. It has a distressed black finish with some stickers that Kirk put on the original one. The bridge is an original Floyd Rose, great for doing some of the sounds that Kirk makes on the albums. The pickups are active EMG 81 and 60, in the bridge and neck position. Also you get two volume pots for each pickup and a master tone pot. The nut is a Floyd Rose locking nut, then you have Standard Gotoh tuners. Black hardware everywhere. Comes with a hard-shell case. // 10
Sound: The sound of this guitar is out of this world. I usually play heavy stuff, but not necessarily metal. The sound of this guitar is virtually perfect to me and I don't process the tone much. Infact the only effects I ever use with this guitar are the WH-1, Deal, Reverb, Chorus and Wah. The rest of the processing is done my the amp (Laney TFX300) itself. The distortion on this guitar is to die for. It has a massive ammount of bite to it and it really lets you cut through the mix of sounds during live performances. The EMG '81s are usually labelled as very sterile and bright pickups. I usually fully agree with this however, with this guitar I found that the EMGs are actually full don't sound sterile at all. They also weren't as bright as I had expected.
The clean on this guitar isn't really anything too special. However, with the selector Switch in the middle position and after mixing (using the two volume knobs) both pickups together, you'll get an excellent clean sound. Unfortunately, I'll have to admit that you would be better off passive pickups if you plan on playing a song that requires a lot of clean sounds. However, if cleans are not that vital, this guitar should do the trick just the same. So as I rating I'll have to give it a 8 because of the lack of cleans. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: The world flawless doesn't even get close to describing how this guitar came out of the factory. The guitar came perfectly set-up from the factory and it was even in tune. As expected with guitars coming out of the ESP Custom Shop, everything on this guitar was perfect. The skull and crossbone inlays were perfectly fit and defined (even the two tiny inlays at the 24th fret are as well defined as the rest). The frets were beautifully filesd and crowned, the nut is perfectly aligned, the bridge sits perfectly flush with the body, the bridge route is perfect, the wiring is pretty neat and very well sheilded. The tuning heads are solid, even though they are pretty useless on a guitar with a locking nut. The action on this guitar is also perfect. The string height along the neck barely varies (this is due to the Original Floyd Rose). The guitar feels like your favourite pair of jeans. Unlike most guitars that tend to need some time to "loosen up" this guitar was already loosened up. However, bending on this guitar is a bit tough on the higher frets since the Floyd Rose springs are still pretty tight and hard. Well, if I had to really think of a flaw or two, I'd have to say that the only flaws I found were these: a screw on the selector Switch was loose and the selector Switch is a bit hard to move, but that's all. // 10
Impression: The highlight feature has to be the skull and bones inlays plus the Kirk Hammett signature on the headstock. This is a guitar made for a die hard Metallica fan, who I can surely say, wouldn't be disappointed. // 10