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ESP Horizon NT

 
An ultra modern, ultra metal super strat style guitar. Maple neck thru body construction, Ash body (NT-II is mahogany), tunematic bridge with strings thru body, gotoh locking machine heads, ebony fretboard and bound body, neck and head.


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Like a light bulb... featured

Sound Ok, this is a bright guitar. I mean seriously bright. The stock JB in the bridge doesn't help. Why would anybody want a guitar this bright? Well you could tune it to drop B and have to most clear and defined sound you could ever want. What about in standard tuning? Well actually, I found the treble this guitar puts out pushes my Mesa Roadster in such a way that the distortion gets tighter and crunchier. If you can EQ out the shrill treble (rolling off the presence) you end up with a particularly crunchy, chuggy sound which is great for rhythm work, which is what I used this guitar for (lived with for a year and a half and sold it, I'll come to why later). The '59 in the neck is rather unfortunate. I look to the '59 for a fat, full and chimey sound which produces some great cleans; factor in the Ash, Maple, and 24 frets and you lose that, I kind of felt the pickup didn't really serve a purpose. Being a '59 it was still proportionately too fat to play rhythms or leads below the 7th fret, and the sound was a bit mushy, and it was still too bright to play solos further up the neck.

This leads back to the drop tuning argument earlier. This is probably the best guitar money can buy for low tunings because that's what it's built for, and it really looks the part too.

I found the cleans thin sounding, which is a nice effect but not something I'd want all the time, and engaging the coil tap on the rather neat push push tone knob made it sound like a strat on steroids.

For the whole time I owned this guitar I had it tuned like a baritone to play Dream Theatre, Deftones and 7 string music (I can't do actual 7 strings). This thing honestly sounded better than most baritones I tried and is the only thing in it's price band that will do this sort of thing. A set of '12s all tuned down 2 steps and you have a seriously good sound. No. You have the best. Clarity, punch and a clean, almost Hi-Fi low end. I no longer play this sort of thing enough to warrant having a specialised guitar for it. Because unfortunately, that's what this is.


Action, Fit, & Finish Setup was much better than my other ESP but it didn't matter because as soon as I got it I drop tuned it. Out of the box, though, it was a nice low action and everything looked really nice and cleanly finished. ESP cases, by the way, are great inside, but watch the covering, it's quite delicate. The finish was perfect, the pearloid binding was a bit sketchy in places, a few parts of it were slightly miscoloured from an over generous layer of clear coat. It's impossible to scratch this guitar but very easy to chip, so watch the points. The ebony fingerboard was odd. It had an almost plastic look and feel to it, and was totally flat, showing almost no grain...
The standard Gotoh locking machine heads are terrible. They're not easy on, easy off as locking tuners should be. It's supposed to be a simple 'pull the string through tight and wind up the actual machine head and it self tightens' - no it doesn't. It takes a year to get a string on or off because you spend so long winding and as you tune up the shaft slips, so you go flat. Not impressed; replaced with Sperzels very quickly. Same as my other ESP, I also got rid of the cosmo black hardware because the finish came off within a couple of months, and I have really dry hands! £100 worth of modification made this guitar what it should have been to start with, but considering how much I paid in the frist place (about £1k; for the Americans, over here a USA Deluxe strat is around £1k, antyhing Jackson USA or a Gibson LP Standard about £1800, and a PRS Custom 24 about £2k) that's not half bad. I obviously saw something in this guitar, I bought it!

By the way, the necks on these are quite fat and round, and not flat and thin like Ibanez - if you like thin, you MUST try before you buy, though I'd generally recommend that as a rule.


Reliability & Durability Tank. All ESPs are tanks. My other ESP (Eclipse II) has been dropped 3 times now (though not by me...), and provided the very tips don't hit something hard, you would never know. The cosmo black finish doesn't last, and I'd have to gig with a backup, if I had the original machine heads because they take so long to change a string. With the Sperzels, it's a 10 second job.


Customer Support ESP UK are nice, relaxed, laid back guys and can be helpful, but never really had much to say to them.


Liked about it Best, bar none, for low tunings. This sounded better than most seven strings with the Low B and this was the selling point.
It also had a nice effect on my amp, this is a unique sounding guitar.
I like the 'Strat on roids' effect of the push push (yes, push push) knob, and I like the knob too.


Didn't like WARNING: This is a HEAVY guitar. It weighs about the same as my Warwick bass!
Sketchy binding was a bit disapointing when I noticed it.
Horendous machine heads - what's worse is these used to come with Sperzels as standard and were cheaper!


Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0

By Fun111
Mar 12, 2010
 
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