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ESP's 30th Anniversary KH-3 Spider is a Metallica fan's dream come true

LTD KH-3 Spider
(Image credit: ESP)

GEAR 2021: It was the question on every guitar player's lips after catching Metallica on the Wherever We May Roam tour circa '91: what was that singlecut electric guitar that Kirk Hammett was playing during Enter Sandman?

This, being the pre-internet era, was a question that was later answered by guitar mags, and said guitar, the ESP KH-3 Spider, attained an almost mythical status as one of the world's precious few singlecuts with a double-locking Floyd Rose and active EMG pickups – and definitely the only one with Spider inlay and a graphic on the upper bout as drawn by Metallica's go-to illustrator, Pushead.

After three decades, with the original KH-3 resting in place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, ESP is bringing the KH-3 Spider back. The 30th Anniversary KH-3 will be released as an LTD and an ESP model, the latter handcrafted in Japan.

  • NAMM 2021 is cancelled, but we'll be covering all the big January gear announcements right here on MusicRadar.

Spec-wise, the pickups have been updated, with Hammett's signature EMG BoneBreaker humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions. These are controlled by two volume controls and a master tone dial, with a three-way pickup selector switch.

The neck-through build sees a solid alder body paired with three-piece maple neck and Macassar ebony fingerboard. We are glad to report that the fingerboard remains a nightmare for arachnophobes, has 24 extra-jumbo frets, and is scalloped beyond the 17th fret for maximum shred.

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LTD KH-3 Spider

(Image credit: ESP )
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LTD KH-3 Spider

(Image credit: ESP )
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ESP KH-3 Spider

(Image credit: ESP)

The LTD KH-3 Spider is equipped with a Floyd Rose 1000 double-locking vibrato, Grover tuners, and of course there's that big ol' Pushead Spider graphic, which is sure to administer a Proustian rush for Metallica fans of a certain vintage when the case is opened. And upon stepping on a wah pedal

As for the ESP KH-3 Spider, it has a Floyd Rose Original vibrato, but much of the fundamental spec – the Gibson-esque 24.75" scale length, Extra Thin U profile neck – is shared across both instruments.

The LTD KH-3 should be available February, price TBC. See ESP for more details.