with case

Made by hand at the ESP Custom Shop in Japan, the ESP Snakebyte is a Signature Series model of James Hetfield, the frontman of Metallica and one of the world's most highly respected rhythm guitar players in any genre. The Snakebyte was created based on James' own original design. It features  set-neck construction at 24.75" scale, with a mahogany body and a single-piece mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard and 22 extra-jumbo frets with a snake inlay at the 12th fret. The ESP Snakebyte is powered by James' own EMG JH SET active pickups, and includes premier components such as a bone nut, ESP strap locks, Sperzel locking tuners, and a TonePros locking TOM bridge and tailpiece. The ESP Snakebyte includes a hardshell case and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from ESP. The Snakebyte is also available in an LTD version. 

Construction Set-Neck
Scale 24.75"
Body Mahogany
Neck 1Pc Mahogany
Fingerboard Ebony
Fingerboard Radius 305mm
Finish Black Satin
Nut Width 42mm
Nut Type Bone
Neck Contour Thin U
Frets/Type 22 XJ
Hardware Color Black
Strap Button ESP Strap Lock
Tuners Sperzel Locking
Bridge Tonepros Locking TOM & Tailpiece
Electronics Active
Electronics Layout Volume/Volume/Toggle Switch
Strings Elixir Nanoweb Light (.010/.013/.017/.026/.036/.046)
Case Included Y
Controls Snakebyte

Why is there no tone pots dose he not like useing them or something?

Carl N.

Hey Owl, apparently not.

Max J.

What’s the difference between the ESP version and the LTD version.

Carl N.

Hey Max, the ESP Snakebyte will be made one at a time in Japan whereas the LTD version is produced at one of our overseas factories in a production line manner.  There are many nuance differences but I would say the best way to see the differences between these two would be to visit your local ESP dealer and try them out!

Connell O.

Not sure if this is an obsolete reply, but maybe someone will find it useful: in the case of the Snakebyte, some of the differences between the ESP and LTD versions are as follows:


1) one-piece body and one-piece neck

2) bone nut

3) immaculate fretwork - filed and polished to a glass finish, no blemishes or overhang to speak of, plus the snake inlay has an eye on 12th fret of this version

4) setup to play fast and flawlessly, ready to play straight out of the box like butter!



1) three-piece body and two-piece neck (if I remember correctly on the neck)

2) plastic nut

3) very good fretwork, but if you're a serious musician, bring to a luthier to dress your frets and set up. OR, do what I did and learn how to give your guitar a good setup at home. As painstaking as it can get the first couple times, I can't tell you how rewarding it is to make any guitar play like cannabutter! 

4) sadly, the 12th fret snake has no eye in his head, nor is there a fancy ESP emblem affixed to the headstock of the LTD version

Overall, from 5 feet away in any direction, one would not be able to distinguish the difference between the two if it weren't for the black plastic nut on the LTD and the eyeball on viper inhabiting the 12th fret on its counterpart. Pick them up and get to feel them and the difference becomes apparent very quickly, and it basically boils down to this: when the best in the business hand make a guitar using the finest tools on the market and I assume beyond, you're going to get the best of the best. No creases or gaps, no buzzing, no rattling. No humming. No re-tuning. No fluctuations in density throughout the body and neck, hand painted using sweeping motions in one uniform direction, since the wood is one piece (always a nice touch to a beautiful finish) all leading to its purpose: to meet out unparalleled sustain, tone and, well, I'll say it - perfection. 



Are there any plans for E-II version of Snakebyte?

Carl N.

Hey ATM, not at the moment, only the LTD and ESP versions for now.

Paul B.

Can you put a custom graphic on this guitar? 

Todd B. ESP

Hi Paul, Sorry we do not offer an custom graphics for this model. All signature models come as you see them according to the artist's original design.

Devin P.

Are you guys going to release the camo byte soon?

Todd B. ESP

Hey Devin, Sorry for my late reply here.....Unfortunately there is no planned release for this model.