looking for a high-end guitar, recommendations?


Jul 27, 2005
hey guys,

so, i currently own 6 axes, with the main players being a jackson dkmgt, dean vendetta 4, and peavey vandenberg.
as you can see, all of them are pretty much mid-level guitars, and while they're great workhorses for everyday band stuff (especially live gigs) i feel the urge to finally grab something really high end.

what i'm looking for:
- obviously, the guitar should play and sound exceptionally well. i'd mainly use it in B standard, maybe also D standard too.
- i don't want a super fast shred guitar. the jackson is perfect for that anyways. instead, the guitar should have a very fat and huge sound that's still tight and works in lower tunings and with fast thrash riffing.
- the guitar is supposed to be mainly a studio guitar, with occasional live use. it's supposed to become my go-to guitar for recording metal rhythms.
- i'm in love with the esp eclipse line btw.
i think this is SUPER hot:

hefty price tag, though. i'm looking for something in the 1,5k range tops.
anyways, that's kinda the vibe i'm shooting for.
having that said, i've been told that the eclipses, even the FT ones, look like les pauls, but sound more like SGs, whereas the horizons surprisingly are closer to the LP sound. and that fat roaring chunky les paul sound (think iced earth) is what i'm going for here. any thoughts on that?

basically, i'd like some recommendations so i can go check them out and play them against each other.
here's what i'm considering so far:
- esp eclipse
- ltd ec-1000 (loving the 24 frets and different pot layout on this one)
- gibson les paul studio / standard.
- edwards les paul (just saw one at the 'bay for 600 euro, that's a fucking steal and i kicked myself in the nuts because i missed it). hard to find in stock to check it out though :(
- caparison angelus.....ok, this is WAY above my pricerange, and really hard to find as it's discontinued, but damn that's one sexy guitar. a friend of mine has one and it sounds just great, kicks the shit out of his ESPs. really tempting....

so, any thoughts on these and further recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
btw, i wonder if the schecter guitars can keep up with the ones mentioned above. pretty much their whole line seems to be sub 1k, which kinda screams mid-level to me, but maybe there's a real gem in the line that can keep up with the real esp stuff.
I opened a topic close to this one a few months ago http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/equipment/624097-esp-eclipse-ii-vs-gibson-les-paul-trad.html. However as due to some sort of Esp shortage on the colours I liked and the fact that it does have EMG's and I'm sick with them I went over with a gibson trad Eb. and I must say for what I play it sounds like a dream (drop c sludge /prog with a jcm 900). However the string gauge is a pain as I'm using 012-052 to drop C you might have to use 013 for B. As far as djenty type of metal I tried it on a 6505 and it sounded just fine while still retaining tons of definition. As far as Gibson quality like everyone on the thread said if you can try one and like it should be a no-brainer (I gambled a bit and had luck tho ^^) and keep in mind you'll need a Full thickness Esp to get a better fat tone.
This guitar is AWSOME!!!!

I played it sometime and it sounds sooo great and has an amazing playing comfort.

There is the LTD version of it at thomann for around 900€ right now.
Also a great axe

yeah, i'll head over to thomann soon and compare a few eclipses, especially the esp vs ltd deluxe and FT vs standard thickness.
especially the ec-1000 FT looks very promising and is well in the pricerange, but if the esp is considerably better i'd probably go for that one, just need to get the money sorted out hehe.
the ltd lacks the insanely awesome looking gold binding, too....

any word on edwards esp vs. the eclipses? i've been reading a LOT of great things about the edwards stuff, and they are reasonably priced too.

tbh, i love jackson guitars, but i feel they're really missing out on the upper mid/lower high end market. you either get the mid level 6-900 euro stuff (like my dkmgt), and the next real step up is the usa line for 2k and more. seems kinda weird to me.
Reading at your needs, it seems like almost any ESP guitars in EMG would be perfect. I don't say they are the best guitars, but for studio use they are a great option. Got my SV standard for 1k. Cannot talk about the caparison, I know they are great but couldn't compare.
The 1.5k price range is not a high end guitar nowadays I am afraid. Especialy if we are talking about brand new guitars. Eclips is a decent instrument but nothing special to my ears. It has no personality which I think is the most important thing in musical intruments. What personality can we talk about with EMG though... I have tried tons of guitars these days and I will suggest to go ebay and look for some old bc rich or gibson. I own a dean 30th anniversary custom (I discovered that mr. Sneap has this one too ;) was a pleasant surprise for me). The difference in tone with eclips or any 1.5k guitar is HUGE, you will never look at these guitars if you have something like dean. but dean is 3.5k. You can also look for Jackson RR1 but it will probably be more than 1.5 also. If 1.5 is the maximum for you I would suggest you to look at top Shecters, they can be even less than 1.5k but they sound like 2k guitar in a good hands. Good Luck!
Gibson Les Paul Studio Lite has ebony fretboard and packs serious punch, while being affordable.

If looking for Edwards, have a look at the Ishibashi U-Box, they now ship used items internationally as well (starting at 50.000 yen).

Go here and search for "Edwards":

There's an Edwards resembling a Les Paul Custom at 47k yen.

Also worth a look or five if youre interested in JacksonStars or Caparison.
just fyi, 1,5k used is fine too.

and with all my other guitars being around 5-700 euro, i think 1,5k is quite a step up. maybe it won't be a REAL highend axe but it should be possible to find something that meets my expectations without spending 3k....at least i hope so. ;)
I have an Eclipse custom which is fantastic but I also have an M1 NTB.
For low tunings the M1 is FAR better.
The eclipse is les paul scale (24.75) but the M1 is 25.5 and neck thru and strung through body so there is much better tension at low tuning.
I replaced the 81 with an 85 and it sounds amazing.
The 81 was a bit thin for my liking.
To hear it in action listen here.
All ESP M1 on this track tuned to drop c with 12s on the guitar.
It has no neck pickup and that limits it somewhat but it is unbeatable as a rhythm guitar for recording.
I change tuning and intonation on it nearly every session depending on the band's tuning and it settles very quickly.
i would NEVER recommend a 24,75" scale for B tuning. go for a longer neck. you can save yourself so much trouble with intonation especially in the studio.
just came home from a store. played a number of guitars there, here's a short review:
all guitars were played through an engl fireball 100 (because i have that very amp) and an engl standard 412 cab btw.

- esp eclipse VBK FT: the very esp you can see a few posts above. full thickness. really really really cool guitar. i was kinda let down by the looks though....the finish is kinda dull, vintage black just doesn't look all that great in person. the gold binding looks rather cheap too. having that said, the sound was great. the full thickness really adds some lower midrange punch, it has sustain for days (literally). playability was great, quite thin neck actually. higher fret access is sub-par but that's to be expected. i'm mainly looking for a rhythm guitar anyways, but the fret access could still be better.
- ltd eclipse vbk. same thing as above, minus the FT, and ltd deluxe series. nice guitar for the money, but when put up against the esp it has no chance. the esp sounds more detailed, full, and just overall better. the ltd is great on a budget but nothing out of the ordinary really.
- esp eclipse, regular thickness. sounds good! the FT has some more low end/low mid punch and fullness, but the regular one is tighter. fret access was also better due to the thinner body, which helps in the upper regions. cool guitar, sound wise it's pretty similar to the ltd deluxe but playability and feel is better on the esp hands down. overall it's just too similar to my emg loaded jackson though....more detailed, yes, a bit fuller, yes, but not enough of a mindblowing difference to justify spending 1,6k.
- fernandes something. tried two of them, one active one passive with a sustainiac. nice guitar, nothing outstanding though. looks fugly too :D prefered the passive one btw, more about that soon.
- gibson les paul standard. yeah, gibson QC sucks :D the volume pot still let through some sound even when turned down all the way. sound was cool, very nice and tight low end, nice sustain, but the gibson pickups have that vintagey twang in the high end that i didn't really like.
- les paul studio. more of that twang. plays good, but sounds like a telecaster. great for blues, not so great for metal.
- les paul custom. now we're talking. FAT FAT neck, full body, heavy as fuck, stellar sustain. sure, this is way above my price range, and i still didn't like the gibson pickup due to their strange highend, but this guitar is great.
and now.....out of the blue, the salesmen showed me something really nice:
- esp formula nt-2 stbk. this thing is GORGEOUS. plays like butter, stellar fret access, great build quality, overall a great instrument. sustain was good, not as good as LPC or the FT eclipse, but still really good. this thing has seymour duncan sh4/sh2 pickups, and i loved the sound. full, tight low end, detailed midrange, smooth highs, great clean sound, great lead sound, great everything.

it's pretty much between the full thickness eclipse (not the vintage black one though, the regular satin black looks way better in person) and the formula here.
one thing i noticed, i feel that with such good sounding guitars the EMGs really don't work too well. i think the emgs add their own sound stamp on whatever guitar you put them in, whereas the passives enhance the natural qualities of a guitar more. while this can be a bad thing in a mediocre sounding instrument, a great sounding one benefits more from the passive pickups i think.
the FT eclipse had a sqeaky thing in the higher midrange that reminded me of any emg loaded guitar i own. the added sustain and low mid punch is a nice thing, it sounds huge on chords. palm mutes are tight, but lacked almost like an extra octave when put up against the LPC. still, very full sound.
the formula on the other hand also sounds REALLY full, close to the LPC actually. the LPC has more lower midrange fullness, but the low end punch is very similar to the LPC. it just lacks some of the sustain, but the mids were really really clear and detailed, playability was stunning, and the whole thing just looks sexy as hell.

now, i'm wondering if the eclipse FT with passive duncans would be the way to go....i mean, i already have a couple of shredder guitars, i can deal with the lack of upper fret access. however, the formula is just way more versatile. it sounds great clean, you can do technical leads etc without any effort, and it still has the punch i'm looking for when doing rhythms. plus it's clearer in the mids, but as i said i'm not sure how much of that can be attributed to the duncans vs. emgs.
also, everything was tuned to E standard, whereas i'll be playing in B standard. i wonder if the added low mid thickness of the eclipse would be too much when tuned that low. plus the formula has a 25,5" scale, which should be better for downtuning anyways.

i have no freaking idea, really. i need to get them both, they both do different things. the formula is better for leads and tight rhythms, the eclipse is better for chords, slow doomey stuff, and sustains for days and months and years and forever. unfortunately that's completely out of the question :D :D :D

btw, lasse, wenn du das liest schreib mir bitte ma ne pn wie du die robin vor dem hintergrund des hier geschriebenen einordnen würdest ;-)

btw, here's a pic of the nt II:

loving the Formula, had a chance to try one, but I would choose the full thickness Eclipse,
I just love that guitar, it just looks awesome and sounds fucking beautiful imho.
But I don't tune to B normally, but this can work out, well, too.
I know, many guys prefer longer scales for low tunings, but there are alot great sounds
that were recorded with 24,75" scale, afaik Devin recorded some of the SYL stuff with an
Gibson Les Paul with EMGs that was tuned pretty low (but I am not 100% sure, saw some
studio pics once like 3 years ago).