Review: ESP Eclipse-I CTM – English summary

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ESP’s Eclipse is one of the company’s most successful models, because it fuses effortlessly a classic outline with modern features.

The ESP Eclipse is available in many different variations, of which the ESP Eclipse-I CTM (current price in Finland: 1.668 €) is the series’ equivalent to the venerable Gibson Les Paul Custom.

A matte-black finish with a yellow-ish overcoat, multi-laminated binding, gold-coloured hardware, an ebony fretboard with large pearloid inlays, as well as a pair of EMG-pickups endow the Eclipse-I CTM with an extremely stylish look. This Japanese guitar is sold in its own high-quality case.

Sound-fetishists will be more than happy about the ESP’s genuine bone nut, as well as the vintage-style truss rod. This type of truss rod requires a much narrower rout compared to many modern designs, and removing less of the neck’s mahogany will most likely result in a fuller-bodied tone and stronger attack.

ESP is using Gotoh’s excellent self-locking Magnum Lock tuners. Changing strings is a breeze and tuning stability is rock solid.

The Eclipse displays exemplary fret work, resulting in a fast and slippery feel.

Despite being made from the most traditional of raw materials – a mahogany back with a maple top – this ESP cuts down considerably on weight thanks to a thinner body, compared to a vintage guitar of this type.

The Eclipse-I’s controls follow tradition, offering separate volume and tone controls for each pickup.

The two active humbuckers are EMG’s best-selling pairing of an EMG 60 in the neck position with a hotter EMG 81 next to the bridge.

Golden-finished Gotoh-quality for the stopbar and tune-o-matic-bridge combination.

A generous rib-cage contour is another of the Eclipse-I’s contemporary improvements.

I can understand ESP’s reason for not including a separate battery compartment, which would spoil the guitar’s classic look. Still, the solution on offer doesn’t earn full marks in my book.

I’m quite sure that the foam padding doesn’t make the Eclipse any less gig-worthy, but it looks somewhat half-baked nontheless. I’d much rather see a battery clip attached to the inside of the control cavity’s lid, as well as machine screws with threaded inlets in the body to keep the lid firmly in place.

EMG’s own pots and capacitors are used in the clean and well-screened cavity.

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The ESP Eclipse clearly is a pro-quality electric guitar.

I don’t think one can overstate the positive effect of this model’s low weight on one’s playing. A light guitar, such as this, tends to become a natural extension of the players body, letting the music flow effortlessly and unimpeded.

Personally, I really like this model’s slightly-structured Vintage Black matte finish, which calls to mind Music Man’s Stealth-series of instruments. This modern finish feels rather organic and offers the fretting hand good support, even in sweaty situations. I can understand, though, that some people would prefer a vintage-type gloss finish on a guitar like this – horses for courses.

The Eclipse-I’s flattish D-profile is a good all-rounder, which will fit easily into most guitarist’s hands.

EMG’s electronics work fantastically on this ESP. You can get all the types of sounds you’d come to expect from a guitar of this style effortlessly. From soft Jazz tones to out and out, balls-to-the-wall Metal Mania, this guitar delivers all the goods with no extraneous noise or interference whatsoever.

Yes, most probably the majority of potential buyers will use this guitar to rock out mercilessly, but I’d still warmly recommend the Eclipse’s clean sounds as well. Some vintage anorak might even be surprised by the organic sound emanating from the active pickups!

ESP Eclipse-I CTM – clean tone/neck pickup

ESP Eclipse-I CTM – Rock demo

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ESP Eclipse-I CTM

1.668 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

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Pros

+ workmanship

+ neck profile

+ playability

+ sound

+ finish

Cons

– no battery clip/compartment

– structured finish might turn some people off

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