Today's inspiration for high-end heavy metal electric guitar builds comes by way of Willie Adler and ESP USA, as the Lamb Of God riff-master took receipt of a quite stunning custom-built Eclipse and gave it a quick spin with the riff from Bloodshot Eyes.
Unboxing videos are a strange 21st-century phenomenon, typically the rank-and-file general public unveiling a new sandwich toaster or pressure washer – not a member of the metal elite unveiling a master-built solidbody guitar that has been a year in the making.
But what elevates this unboxing video is that it affords us a rare insight into what goes on behind closed doors at the ESP USA Custom Shop. Watching the staining and finishing process is hugely gratifying.
Adler's new USA Eclipse is a work of art, a veritable supernova of quilted maple on a chambered mahogany body, finished in Purple Haze Sunburst and high-gloss lacquer, with a matching headstock facing, and a set-through construction with the ergonomically appealing belly cut that helps make the Eclipse quite a different beast from the iconic single-cut that inspired it.
Doing as anyone would do when they have ESP USA's California custom shop on the clock, Adler has gone all in with the bling, with gold hardware complementing the Purple Haze Sunburst nicely, and Sperzel Trimlock tuners to keep things stable under his heavyweight pro-wrestling rhythm guitar style.
“The woods that we use on Willie Adler's guitar, from the top to the body wood, to the neck wood, had been stored in a climate-controlled room for some time,“ explained Gil Vasquez, Master Builder and Woodshop Supervisor at ESP USA. “The top that we used was specially picked out for him – we had that top, probably, for about seven years. It is completely acclimated. It's not going to move. It was a beautiful piece of quilt. When I put it together, when I glued it up, and when we tone-tapped it, the thing rang like a bell.“
Adler's Eclipse has a three-piece mahogany neck, reinforced with graphite and carved into a custom profile, topped with a dark, unstained ebony fingerboard. Although the pickups were not mentioned in the video, that looks like a pair of Fishman Fluence humbuckers – most likely Adler's signature set as found on his distressed signature ESP Warbird – with gold covers to match the hardware.
As for Adler's reaction? Well, it ranged from “Fuck, dude! I don't even know what to say about this guitar – it is so fucking awesome!“ to “Holy shit! It is beautiful. Thank you, guys. Holy shit, it's fucking nice.“
For more information on what ESP USA can do for you, head over to its configurator and spec up one of your own.