New Alex Skolnick Signature Series LTD and ESP models coming.
Alex Skolnick just tweeted a link to an announcement by ESP Guitars that he has joined them as an endorsee and that they will be releasing new Alex Skolnick signature LTD & ESP models early 2014. Alex has been using a Heritage Guitar signature model (H-150) for a while now but I think it makes sense both financially and aesthetically for someone playing Thrash to join forces with someone like ESP. As you can see it looks like Alex is keeping the single cutaway style guitar for his sig model, an ESP Eclipse.
Available in January 2014, the ESP Alex Skolnick EC and the LTD AS-600 will be offered in two finishes: Silver Sunburst (SSB) and Lemonburst (LB). Based on ESPʼs popular Eclipse body style, the guitars feature a set-neck design at 24.75” scale, with a full-thickness mahogany body, mahogany neck, a custom headstock, rosewood fingerboard with custom inlays, Grover tuners, TonePros locking TOM bridge with stop tailpiece, and an Alex Skolnick signature Seymour Duncan pickup set.
A FEW WORDS FROM ALEX SKOLNICK ABOUT ESP
When ESP offered to build my signature instrument, I admit being a tad skeptical, for two reasons: First, in recent years, Iʼve become a vintage guitar enthusiast, with standards that are tough for any manufacturers to live up to, especially those whose history begins after 1970. Second, what was being promised was a tall order: a new guitar bearing the same traditional quality Iʼd grown accustomed to, but with a fresh feel, a modern aesthetic, options for variation and greater durability. Iʼm thrilled to report that the project has succeeded on all counts. When this guitar first arrived at my home, there was no question it was beautiful. Plugging it in, it sounded great. But not wishing to rest on the initial reaction alone, I began to put the instrument through rigorous challenges. First, there were blindfold tests: someone would hand me the guitar, alternating with my vintage Les Pauls and my previous signature model made in Gibson’s original factory by Heritage (a fine instrument but somewhat “locked in” design-wise and extremely difficult to acquire, even for me). While I won’t say that they all felt exactly the same – even identical models have their own individual personalities – I will say that the new ESP felt instantly in the same league, easily qualifying for a seat at the table. At that point, I knew it was safe to move onto the next phase.
The real tests would take place beyond my New York apartment and out in the world: at concerts, jam sessions, clinics and recording sessions. This guitar would meet the enthusiastic approval of not just myself but all who encountered it including those whoʼd be working with it: front-of-house audio engineers at my concerts, studio engineers at recording sessions, my trusted local repair guy at one of the best guitar shops in the city, my traveling tech who deals with the nuts & bolts of guitars on tour full time, the guys from Testament (who can be sticklers about what gear gets used with the band), the guys in my improvisational trio (equally honest in their assessments). Iʼd even pass it around at my master-classes, asking young students and to give me their fresh, unbiased perspective. The guitar passed everyone’s tests with flying colors.
The folks at ESP worked very hard with me on this guitar- I have to give them credit for never applying pressure, giving me all the time I needed to arrive at a final decision and respecting my previous instruments while being determined to better meet my needs. It feels great to partner with a company that has the structure in place to properly fulfill my touring requirements, make these instruments available to fans that wish to acquire them and provide the option of purchasing an exact replica of my instrument or a slightly scaled down version for those on a tighter budget.
When youʼre just starting out, any guitar thatʼs provided to you is cause for celebration. But when youʼve reached that status of “seasoned pro,” not just any guitar will do. My new signature guitar is the culmination of years of combined experience – mine as a player and ESP Guitars as one of the best-run companies out there. I look forward to playing it for many years to come.