He's been an ESP endorsee since 2008, but this year, Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Ben Weinman has finally nabbed his own LTD signature model.
"You won't be surprised to learn that this guitar is rammed with a veritable smorgasbord of features"
As anyone who's heard a DEP record can attest, the mathcore pioneers' music is a dizzying blend of metal, jazz time signatures and many points in between. You won't be surprised to learn, then, that this guitar is rammed with a veritable smorgasbord of features, most notably the jazzy semi-hollow design, metal-inspired EMG 81 and 85 pickups and futuristic EverTune bridge.
We half expected to turn the guitar over and find the mouthpiece of an onboard trumpet - it really is that stylistically accommodating.
Although its influence is obvious, the slanted figure-of-eight body shape is not as derivative as you might expect, while the transparent black finish is classy and understated - this guitar would look equally at home in a jazz quartet as in a metal band.
The build quality is exceptional across the board, too: it's the kind you would expect to see on a guitar costing two or three times this price. Impressive.
The most attention-grabbing bit of spec here is the EverTune bridge. For the uninitiated, this is a completely mechanical system, where each saddle has a spring and lever, which monitors the tension of each string, and - once set up - results in the guitar never straying out of tune.
It will stand up against the largest David Gilmour over-bend, and the most severe fluctuations in temperature. So, even if one night you're playing in Barbados and the next to your loyal Inuit following in the Arctic, tuning need not be a concern!
"It's not a screaming metal monster, and the pickups don't drive the amp as much as you might expect"
When first setting up the EverTune, certain instincts have to be reprogrammed. Firstly, tuning is carried out at the bridge via a supplied hex-key and not the tuning pegs - their role is now for setting 'string bend sensitivity', which determines how far the pitch is allowed to go out of tune when bending a string. It seems alien at first, but you soon get used to it.
Unplugged, the guitar doesn't possess the bright acoustic resonance you'd expect from a semi-hollow. This is probably due to the amount of hardware on board, but semi-hollow or not, it's meant to be plugged in, and we're both intrigued and skeptical to see how a non-solid guitar fares with active pickups...
To our surprise, the combination of the dark ebony 'board, lively active EMGs and slightly acoustic resonance from the semi-hollow construction make for a tonally well-balanced guitar. It's not a screaming metal monster, and the pickups don't drive the amp as much as you might expect, but with the right amp settings dialled in, it certainly has the potential to cover all styles.
And as for the EverTune, there's nothing quite like the sound of a perfectly intonated G chord through a cranked amp; and as you begin moving chords further up the neck, you begin to realise that most of us rarely experience a perfectly in-tune chord.
A revelation? Most definitely. We're struggling to find fault with the BW-1.