ESP have teamed up with Bill Kelliher of Mastodon and helped him create two new single-cut, signature model guitars. One is released on LTD, the LTD-BK-600 and the other is a higher priced ESP Bill Kelliher model. The guitarist had a signature model deal with Gibson two years ago, so this is a pretty big coup for ESP.
Those Mastodon boys seem to be getting new signature guitars thrust upon them left, right and centre this year, as Brent Hinds only just got his new Epiphone Flying V announced a little while back (and yes, I have ordered one my for myself…). Now it appears that Bill needed a change as he has left his deal with Gibson (The Halcyon Signature model) and gone over to Japanese guitar giant ESP.
Before I go over the details I have to just say that personally I have owned instruments from both brands, including high-end and low-end models. I have always found ESP to be the better built guitars on both levels and with higher level of finish detailing. I am pretty biased here, admittedly, but I think he has made a good decision myself.
Both LTD and ESP models are based on the very popular ESP Eclipse models. I owned one for a number of years and it was a beautiful guitar. They have mahogany single cut bodies, 24.75″ scale length mahogany necks with ebony fretboards, 22 frets and a simple two-control layout with volume and tone knob with a toggle switch to choose between the pickups. The pickups themselves are Bill’s signature Lace Sensor Dissonant Aggressor units, which are designed to cut it at high gain without getting flubby.
ESP and LTD feature quality hardware, so I’d expect both models to have solid tuning and be easy to set up and maintain over their lifetimes. TonePro locking bridges and locking tuners are standard on these guitars. Both instruments will be available in Military Green Sunburst Satin finish with body, neck and headstock binding.
Here’s a quote below from Bill himself:
Working with ESP has been a breath of fresh air. When I first set eyes on this guitar, I couldn’t wait to play this mean-looking weapon of sound. After plugging it in and cranking it up, I couldn’t put it down. What a great piece of work!
No release date has been announced yet, but expect them sometime later this year.