• Pushead

    Eclipse School - Eclipse I vs Eclipse II and What CTM Means

    Eclipse School Time!

    There's been a bunch of questions and confusion about what CTM means, and what's an Eclipse I vs an Eclipse II. Well, I'm snowed in tonight and bored, so I went through my 2008 Export Models Catalog (non North America) and I scanned these pages to help get an idea of what any of those terms mean.

    Here's what I've figured out. (At least according to this catalog, who knows what the changes are year-to-year.)

    Eclipse I Model - A mahogany body with a PLAIN maple top (or more commonly an opaque finish.) Must have 4 control knobs, similar to a Les Paul.

    Eclipse II Model - A mahogany body with a FIGURED (quilt or flame) maple top. Eclipse II models can have either the 4-knob or 3-knob control layout. The 3-knob versions are called USA Eclipse II (which is different than the USA Custom Eclipse models.)

    CTM (Custom Traditional Model) - The CTM designation (at least in 2008) means the guitar has an ebony fret board and mulit-ply binding. CTM models are not necessarily full Les Paul thickness. In this catalog there were no Eclipse II models with the CTM designation, even the 3-knob USA Eclipse II models, though I think that eventually changed.

    USA Eclipse II - When the Export Series started including 3-knob versions of the Eclipse, ESP started calling the 3-knob style the "USA Eclipse II" to avoid confusion (lol.) The USA Eclipse II has a modified body shape which has a different, flatter lower horn.

    In 2008, none of the USA Eclipse II models had the CTM designation, and there was no USA Eclipse I. A brief look through the older PDF catalogs on the ESP guitars web page (link) makes me think there was never a 3-knob USA Eclipse I. Your guess is as good as mine as to why that would be.

    I'm not sure which year ESP decided to stop making 4-knob Eclipses available in the Export Series (you can still find a 4-knob E-II Eclipse, but it's a rarity.)

    It seems that all E-II models are just called Eclipse with no number designation.

    So there you have it. I need new hobbies.

    Thank you, please pull up to the second window to complete your order.

    • Craig

      Thanks a lot for the info.  I found it informative.  It definitely helps clear up confusion.  

    • Cogan C.

      Would you say the four knob versions are more desirable and why would that be? More tone manipulation? While I'm a Horizon fan through and through, the eclipse is growing on me after playing one at Guitar Center and find myself looking to get one.

    • Pushead

      It's personal preference. I prefer the 4-knob layout, but I'm a traditionalist when it comes to layouts.

      I will say, the 4-knob versions don't seem to sell as quickly as the 3-knob versions. I'm not sure if it's because people don't want the 4-knobs, or if (at least those available in the US) they tend to be older. They stopped selling the 4-knob in North America in 2004 (though there were a few with the 05 serial number that made it here.)

    • Indra F.

      The Eclipse I models and Eclipse II models with 4 knobs aren't allowed to be sold by ESP in the USA anymore. If I am not mistaken, Gibson filed a lawsuit against that model and they won. So the USA eclipse II was designed.

      In 2013 you had 2 ESP standard series: the ESP standard series for the USA market and the E-II standard series for the rest of the world. In that year the E-II line had an Eclipse I and Eclipse II version. But at the end of 2013, ESP merged these 2 standard series into the E-II standard series(both export markets got merged). So the Eclipse I version disappeared from the E-II line, together with a lot of other guitar models.

    • Pushead

      Well, 2013 in the USA, we had LTD Elite and ESP Standard (with the transition logo). The catalog shows all the models as Eclipse II (which is USA Eclipse II from the above description.)

      There was never a lawsuit from Gibson. There may have been a cease and desist. ESP may have seen the writing on the wall with the Gibson vs PRS lawsuit (that PRS eventually won.) I suspect that ESP didn't want to bother throwing money at legal fees.

      But the 3-knob layout was actually more traditional to the Eclipse models. The late 90s Eclipses (the flat topped ones) all had a 3 knob layout.

    • Beaten Beyond

      I wonder if ESP could go back to the 4 knob layout and previous horn design for the US market it they wanted to?  Since  PRS won the Gibson lawsuit.  

    • Pushead

      Probably could, probably won't.

      The Eclipse guitars are all well regarded and (I believe) the best sellers across the board for ESP. I don't think that they'd bother making a change.

    • emg3254

      Cool break down.  I personally love the older 4 knob, longer horn models.  Never been a fan of the 3 knob layout.

    • Jorge S.

      I like with 3 pots also, don't we forget that the first eclipses in the end of the 80's and the 90's came also with 3 knobs like the Eclipse 2 of today.

    • Pushead

      The first Eclipses were Telecaster shaped.

    • Jorge S.

      Of course, I know...I mean the first models with les Paul body.

    • Pushead


      This is from 95.

      I believe the semi-hollow, arch-topped models in the late 90s started the 3 knob trend. The 97 catalog shows both the arch-top and the solid Eclipses with 3 knobs.

      And when they switched to set-neck builds, that's when the 4-knob layout started coming out. Around 2003, I believe.

    • Shaun Gibson

      Awesome! this was really interesting to read. Have often wondered about differences between eclipse models. This is my pride and joy......

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