As many people in the USA are aware (since it seems to get mentioned every five minutes), on Monday August 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible at certain locations across the entire country. There’s a good reason people are making a big deal out of this; the last time the sun was completely blocked by the moon across the contiguous United States was on June 8, 1918. Side note: unless you plan on being the next great blind guitar player, do not look into the sun without serious eye protection, even during an eclipse. If you plan on checking it out, here is a handy online tool that will show you how the eclipse will look in your area of the US.
Here at ESP, the word “Eclipse” has a slightly different meaning. It's the name of a guitar shape that — along with the corresponding LTD EC Series — has been among our most popular guitars since it was first introduced. We wanted to take the opportunity of this solar eclipse to fill you in on some interesting facts about the ESP Eclipse.
The Eclipse is a Totally Unique Shape
A lot of guitars can seem to be similar to the untrained eye, but we guitar players are known to have an eye for detail, and it’s the details that set the Eclipse and EC Series guitar apart from other single-cutaway models. One example is the cutaway itself; unlike most other single-cuts, the Eclipse offers a horn with a radius that forms a section of a near-perfect circle. The guitar is also set apart by the design of its comfortable body contour, though some models have also been produced with traditional full thickness.
How It Got its Name
The near-perfect round shape of the Eclipse body’s horn is reminiscent of the silhouetted shape of our moon while blocking the sun. But the full truth is that when ESP needed to name its single-cutaway shape, we’d already had the Eclipse name registered for a different guitar that we’d since stopped making, so it was convenient to use it for the then-new model. Plus, ESP expected the guitar to outperform, or “eclipse” other guitars in its class… and it has.
It Started In 1993
In Japan, ESP had experimented with a variety of single-cutaway body styles, but it was 24 years ago in 1993 that the Eclipse as you know it today was born. When LTD Guitars came along in 1995, the shape was used as the basis for the EC Series.
Vintage Black Wins the Popularity Contest
Since the moment it was introduced, the Eclipse/EC Series in Vintage Black finish has remained among the most popular guitars ESP sells worldwide. Some of the other more popular Eclipse finishes include standard Black, Black Satin, Snow White, and translucent finishes over flamed maple or quilted maple tops, like See Thru Black, See Thru Black Cherry, and Amber Sunburst.
An Eclipse for Every Player
Starting with our most affordable models for beginning players all the way up to our highest-end models for working professionals, we have EC Series and Eclipse guitars for every player. Note that not all Eclipse/EC Series models are pictured below. You can see all of the LTD EC Series guitars here, the ESP E-II Eclipse guitars here, our LTD and ESP Signature Series guitars here, and ESP USA Eclipse models here. You should also check out our recent live "Inside the EC Series" video for a better idea of what each guitar series offers and sounds like.
EC-10: Designed for novice musicians who require a low-priced instrument that still has the comfortable feel and good sound needed to inspire you to learn and grow as a guitarist.
EC-256: One of the highest-performing guitars in its price class. The EC-256 is available in a wide variety of finishes, including translucent colors over figured wood tops… almost unheard of at its price.
EC-401: As part of the LTD “400 Series”, the EC-401 is the best guitar available for serious performing and recording guitar players who still need an axe that’s within their budget. It offers high-end components by makers like EMG, Floyd Rose, Grover, and more.
EC-1000: Along with other guitars and basses in our LTD Deluxe “1000 Series”, the EC-1000 represents that top of the LTD offerings, with professional components and build quality. You’ll find EC-1000s on stages and in studios around the world, and it’s the most popular guitar we offer.
ESP E-II Eclipse: Formerly called “ESP Standard”, all guitars in our ESP E-II Series are built in the ESP factory in Japan, and are used by serious professionals who need complete reliability and no compromise in feel or tone.
ESP USA Eclipse: Handcrafted at our ESP USA facility in Southern California, the USA Eclipse is considered among the world’s finest electric guitars, with a level of design detail seldom seen in any instrument. You can also create your own personalized ESP USA Eclipse with our Online Configurator.
ESP Custom Shop Eclipse: World-renowned for quality, sound, and playability, the ESP Custom Shop is where it all started. ESP luthiers can hand-build the one-of-a-kind Eclipse of your dreams, using exotic materials and extreme customization options.
Signature Series Eclipses
Alex Skolnick (Testament): This highly-acclaimed player used the Eclipse shape as the basis for his ESP and LTD Signature Series guitars like the AS-1FR.
Gary Holt (Slayer/Exodus): A titan in the world of thrash metal, Gary’s ESP and LTD Signature guitars like the GH-600 use the Eclipse shape along with design details that personalize this guitar to chaotic perfection.
Richard Z. Kruspe (Rammstein): The guitarist and founding member of German Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein has played a number of different ESP shapes, but one of the most well known is the RZK-II Burnt, based on the Eclipse shape.
Will Adler (Lamb of God): A highly-respected player in one the USA’s most respected metal bands, Will’s ESP and LTD Signature models use the Eclipse shape, and they look great and sound great too.
James Hetfield (Metallica): Metallica’s frontman has used the Eclipse shape on a number of signature series models including the Truckster and Iron Cross.
Ben Burnley (Breaking Benjamin): The leader and frontman of this popular band helped create a very innovative baritone guitar with both piezo and magnetic pickups along with dual outputs with the BB-600 Baritone, based on the Eclipse shape.
Ted Aguilar (Death Angel): Another king of the Bay Area thrash metal scene, Ted’s LTD Signature guitar, the TED-600, is a killer Eclipse that offers a gleaming white design theme.
Bill Kelliher (Mastodon): Known for his distinctive use of dissonant, complex rhythms, the Eclipse shape was perfect for the creation of his first ESP Signature model, the LTD BK-600.
Share Your Eclipse Story!
In the comments below, we’d like to hear about your experience with an LTD EC Series or ESP Eclipse. Describe your Eclipse/EC Series guitar… model name, finish, components and so on. Tell us when you got it, what kind of music you do with it, any stories about songs you’ve written, cool gigs you’ve played, and anything else that you think the ESP Community would like to hear.