Shredding was perfected in the 80s, and manufacturers such as ESP and Ibanez were not slow in creating guitars that juiced up the classic Strat template for electrics with a little more firepower.
The LTD GL-200K, a contemporary mid-range George Lynch signature model, based on the former Dokken man's ESP Kamikaze - ESP's first signature model, is rooted in that era.
Those of you who are too young to remember 80s hair-metal buffoons Dokken should take to YouTube now for a flavour of what it was that made George Lynch such an unintentionally hilarious alpha-dude of the lead guitar.
The rest of us can ponder how Lynch is now more famous for signature products, such as Seymour Duncan's Screamin' Demon humbuckers and his complement of ESPs, and his beyond-human fretboard dexterity, than he is for his songs.
"As you'd expect from a man whose band cut the maximum-cheese It's Not Love video, the GL-200K is far from subtle"
As you'd expect from a man whose band cut the maximum-cheese It's Not Love video Zoolander-style (Dokken posed and played, but mostly posed, on a truck as it went through the city), the GL-200K is far from subtle.
The spec has been scaled down from Lynch's top-dollar ESP Signature Series Kamikaze-1 model, but the reverse-banana headstock and eye-watering graphic paint job stays.
There's just no getting around that headstock. It looks like a melted surfboard - ridiculous, and quite brilliant, too.
The GL-200K has a U-contoured maple neck bolted onto a basswood double-cutaway body, partnered with a pretty sweet Floyd Rose Special locking vibrato.
There's no tone control, just a single master-volume control, which also serves as a push-pull pickup selector between the ESP LS-120 single coil in the neck and ESP LH-150 in the bridge.
This takes a bit of getting used to, and begs the question, "What's wrong with a well-placed toggle switch?" - but this is how Lynch likes his. Touches like this, allied to the paint job and headstock, give the GL-200K a flamboyance that sits best with extroverts.
"The neck profile is fantastic and as speedy as you'd expect, and with its jumbo frets the GL-200K is a lot of fun"
It's not just the look that's divisive; the guitar itself is a mix of pros and cons. The neck profile is fantastic and as speedy as you'd expect, and with its jumbo frets the GL-200K is a lot of fun - plus the Floyd Rose Special is a fantastic unit for this price range.
But the GL-200K's performance is marred slightly by its clunky heel, and doesn't quite have the sonic punch of its nearest rivals.
The ESP pickups are fit for purpose, certainly in terms of getting enough output for leads on the bridge 'bucker, but when the similarly-priced Ibanez RG3XXV is packing DiMarzio's D Activator in the bridge and Air Norton stacked humbucker in the neck, and Jackson's Pro Series Dinky comes fitted with a variety of Seymour Duncans, pickup envy may set in.
Looks. Super-fast neck. Floyd Rose.
Looks. There are more generously spec'd guitars in this price range.
The GL-200K is a fan's guitar with a super-playable neck. And when you have a guitar emblazoned with a graphic that looks like a screengrab of an 8-bit computer game, it's not going to be to everyone's taste.
Scale Length (mm)
Scale Length (Inches)
No. of Frets
Floyd Rose Special vibrato
Left Handed Model Available
ESP LS-120 single coil (neck), LH-150 (bridge)
Guitar Body Material
1x volume/ push-pull pickup selector
Black w/ Kamikaze Graphic (pictured)