$1,299.00 with case

The LTD 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 three-piece mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard and 22 extra-jumbo frets with a snake inlay at the 12th fret. The LTD Snakebyte is powered by James' own EMG JH SET active pickups, and includes a TonePros locking TOM bridge and tailpiece. Available in Black Satin or Snow White finishes, as well as in a lefthanded version

(U.S. Only)
3Pc Mahogany
Macassar Ebony
Fingerboard Radius
Nut Width
Nut Type
Neck Contour
Thin U
22 XJ
Hardware Color
Strap Button
LTD Locking
Tonepros Locking TOM & Tailpiece
Neck PU
Bridge PU
Electronics Layout
Vol/Vol/Toggle Switch
D'Addario XL110 (.010/.013/.017/.026/.036/.046)
Case Included
Prices and specifications subject to change.
Henrik P.

Just got me a snakebyte and I really love it. An Explorer shape that is just without those small issues that the original shape has.


I’m just woundering about one thing what kind of paint is used? Nito og poly?

Remi V.

hello ESP, I have a fair question for you. Could you answer this honestly because I'm going to buy an esp or 'ltd' guitar anyway. This is my second guitar that I buy. Before this I had a fender squier start coaster, I would now buy the esp ltd james hetfield snakebyte but this is a good second guitar to buy. I play in a group with some friends and we regularly play metallica, sometimes nirvana or guns is n roses. I am also a great James Hetfield fan and I also play with the James Hetfield technique right hand as left hand. But would this be a good guitar to buy as a second guitar because I have a bit of trouble choosing or are you proposing another esp ltd model. I now play a different one between two years and I can already do some metal solos!

Dirk V.

Hello Remi,


That’s quite a big step from a squier stratocaster to this guitar. I own this guitar myself and I love it, it plays sounds and looks amazing (I have the Snow White version though). I would really recommend this guitar. But maybe an Epiph...1984 explorer might be a better choice since it’s your second guitar and you can decide if the EXP body shape is comfortable for you, without ‘wasting’ large amounts of money on this guitar. Plus it looks like James’ white explorer he used on the MoP tour. But I really prefer ESP guitars and It’s always my first choice. Furthermore the Satin finish ‘could’ give you a ‘nails on the chalkboard’ effect altough this might not be the case. 


I hope this helped you out,


Dirk (massive ESP©️ Fan) 

Todd B. ESP

Hi Dirk, thanks for adding your comments here and glad you like your Snakebyte!

Todd B. ESP

Hi Remi, If you are a big fan of Metallica and James Hetfield, we offer a few choices. This Snakebyte shape he designed with us is very comfortable if you like this large body shape. It looks big but actually it is not too heavy and it is very comfortable.  If you prefer a traditional (smaller) body shape, you might like to try our Eclipse body shape which is the Iron Cross (also James Hetfield signature model). It all depends on you, both are great guitars.  If you are looking for a lower priced guitar, we offer other similar guitars in our EC series and lower price points such as EX-200, EX-401 or EC-256, EC-401. Hope that you find something you like.

Andrew K.

Hi, I was just wondering how is the 3Pc neck on this guitar constructed. I understand there are 2 options: 1) you have a piece of timber running the whole length of the neck and then you have a heel at the body joint and a headstock glued on to that piese of timber, which makes it a 3-piece and 2) is you basically have 3 pieces of  of wood laminated together, which run the whole length of the neck (including the heel and the headstock) and then the neck is carved out of it, which I understand, makes the neck more rigid. Which of these 2 options is the case here?



Todd B. ESP

Hi Andrew, We use a 3 piece laminated construction for all our set neck and thru neck models. So it is option 2 on your question.

Dirk V.

Hello ESP, on what songs does James usually use the satin black version. I hope you can answer my question to make the right choice myself.

Kind Regards,


Mike H.

He has been using the satin black byte as well as the camo byte for Sad But True (D tuning) on this tour.  It is the same scale as his white byte as well as the V so you can use it for any MetallicA song (E and Eb).  The purple top that just got released is a baritone and he only uses that one for the lowered live tuning of Dream No More.


Todd B. ESP

Hi Dirk, James may use different guitars live and in studio and he switches out between the Black and White Snakebyte versions for similar tunings. Mike H. has answered correctly according to the current tour (thanks Mike), and he pointing out something that is good to know. The BLK & SW Snakebytes are standard scale (24.75") and the new Purple SE Baritone is longer scale (27") for tuning down lower to B-E-A-D-F#-B tunings or similar range of tunings. Hope this helps.

Alex J.

I'm currently waiting it out to get one of these guitars because of the rumored purple finish. I want one of these so bad but I'd feel like a fool if I jumped the gun and got one in white or black and the super cool purple finish comes out right after I get it.

Todd B. ESP

Hi Alex, just keep in mind that the purple one we built for James is a baritone scale. That means it's tuned down lower to B-E-A-D-F#-B, and has a 27" scale length. So there still could be a need for both instruments for different tunings.

Matthew H.

You could do what I did, get the black one AND the purple one. I've had the black satin for over a year and I love it. Just got the Baritone version because it adds another dimension to my collection while keeping the same shape and hardware I'm used to. Beastly guitars.

Todd B. ESP

Hi Matthew, Thanks for posting your suggestions. Glad you like your Snakebytes!

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