Me and my guitar: Alex Skolnick

Up-close with his ESP

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhLCfqw2Epo

Testament's lead maestro is spreading his songwriting wings in all-star project Metal Allegiance, with this trusty ESP by his side.

Body

"The body is very similar to an ESP Eclipse. I wanted the feel of an ESP Eclipse, which is pretty easy to play, but the tone is more like my favourite 1960 Les Paul. So we sort of did a hybrid. I wanted tone that would work for a pure fingers player with not a lot of crazy effects. But also as someone who was used to guitars from the 80s onwards, I wanted it to be easy to play."

Pickups

"The pickups are custom Seymour Duncans. They are a little riffed off the '59 and JB, but this neck pickup has a little bit more of a jazzy sound; a little more hotness than the bridge pickup. You have the option to blend them together with the middle toggle switch as is usually the case, but you also have this push/pull knob [coil split] and this gives you a single-coil sound. You have six different options altogether, for [pickup] tones."

Frets

"The frets are [extra jumbo] 6100s that I've used for a long time and the bridge is a TonePros - it provides a little extra sustain."

AS fretboard logo

"This particular guitar comes with the AS logo: that's optional. There's also the LTD version of this guitar for those on a tighter budget, and it plays great as well. I've used it for gigs and it doesn't feel like a compromise."

Silverburst finish

"I never planned to play a Silverburst, but my friend Rodrigo from Rodrigo Y Gabriela, we were on tour together and he got a Silverburst guitar. I liked it and I was playing it and someone said, 'It looks good on you,' because I've always had this grey streak. And I realised it would look really good under lighting, too. So we sort of did our own take on the Silverburst.

"I love the colour, but there's also the option to get it in Lemonburst, which is almost a natural wood colour with a little bit of an orangey hue to it."

Metal Allegiance's self-titled debut album is released via Nuclear Blast on 18 September

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