Sunday, March 28, 2010

LTD #1 - 'KH502'

They may have lost their way, but I have always been a Metallica fan. When I was younger I wanted one of the ESP Kirk Hammett signature guitars but there was simply no way on earth I could have afforded one.

When I resumed playing after my layoff, LTD had appeared and done several affordable versions of the ESPs. The current ones are the KH-202 which is a pretty budget model and the KH-602 which is towards the upper end of the LTD range so quite pricey. This is doubly so if you get the fancy Ouija paint job.

A bit of waiting on eBay turned this up for nearly half the price of a KH-202, with the original LTD form fitted hard case. You have to be a little careful on eBay as the KH models (especially KH-202) are widely faked in China and sold there as originals. Having bought it and had a good look over I'm pretty sure this is the genuine article.

It came in excellent condition with just the obligatory pick scratches and polishing swirls you get on any gloss black guitar but there are no chips or real scratches. It's been really well looked after.

It is essentially much the same guitar as the current £900 KH-602 but with passive EMG-HZs and a licensed low profile rather than original Floyd Rose. It also has the full set of skull & crossbones inlays where some KH-502s have it only at the 12th fret. I've seen photos of both styles on the Internet and I'm guessing the later ones came with them.

The Soloist style laminated through neck is very nice but the thing that really stands out about this is the massive weight, it feels like it's been filled with lead. A lot of this must be down to the thickness of the body, it really is quite a lump.

I initially thought I'd be swapping the HZs out for the classic Metallica 81/85 combo and even bought a set in preparation but when I got it found the HZs fine. I've since used the 81/85 in my Indie Target Les Paul. I may yet revisit fitting active pickups but for now it's just great as it is.

There's a bit of Internet whingeing about the licensed Floyd being rubbish, I'm not a heavy trem user but it seems fine to me.

Time to get the cowboy boots and shit moustache I guess.

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