NGD: ESP Horizon-CTM [Employee Custom]

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by Crash Dandicoot, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. Crash Dandicoot

    Crash Dandicoot » Supra-ise!

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    It's been a minute since I shared any NGDs, and while I've had this one for the better part of a year I've only recently accomplished my aesthetic goals for her. Before I delve into the specifics, though:

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    The history of this one is a bit convoluted, but the best I can surmise from the word-of-mouth history and some frequently confusing Google Translate is thus: This Horizon was allegedly built in 2000 - it arrives in France in 2008, sold by Daisuke Saito, a Franco-Japanese who worked with ESP in some capacity (first seen posting this on the guitariste.com forums). He described it as an employee model that a friend/staff of the Kiso shop built at his request and as such it has no serial numbers of any kind. It was then bought/sold/traded a few times in France before the previous owner traded it to me (in Canada) mid-last year.

    It was built to the same Horizon-II specs of the era but with the same (increased) thickness as a Kiko signature model, along with an alder body, 3-piece maple neck and an ebony fretboard. Originally equipped with an EMG 81/SA/SA combo with an AB switch + knob control setup, though upon my acquisition it was utilizing a Seymour Duncan JB, Little '59B and Little '59N combo paired with a 1 volume, 1 tone and a mini toggle killswitch. As she arrived:

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    I wasn't content with the black/white look and was heavily inspired by that pure white SRC-6 that floated around a while ago (and my old Buckethead USA Les Paul) to go full-on white/chrome. I removed all the hardware, installed chrome locking Gotoh tuners and nut, removed the old (stripped...) bridge studs/inserts, bored them out and installed a GE1996T with its killer locking studs. After that I swapped in a chrome output jack plate, Schaller strap locks, Sure-Claw and finally an EMG 85x/SAx/SAx set, wired to a 24v setup with an SPC control where the killswitch used to be. If you've never tried an SPC control (with single coils especially), you're missing out. The finish is a pearl white, if the photos don't indicate it well. A very subtle flake gives it some wonderful depth.

    It's taken longer than I like to get to this point due to a variety of factors - being over 20 years old at this point she's seen some action. The recessed portion of the bridge cavity had a deteriorating black foam protective pad that I was not digging, and removal of its adhesive after (what I presume) could be well over a decade was a nasty process. I eventually had better luck wet sanding it away, touching up the paint (a small touch up pen of Toyota 070 white pearl was perfect!) and reclearing it. The frets were horrendously flat and are already quite low. I've given them a simple level and crowning but it'll need a full refret in the next year or so. The bridge pickup mounting screws were off-center and and previous misguided attempts at correction made a simple fix that much more annoying. The nut will require some slight adjustment/shimming to fit perfectly square and based on my measurements, the fretboard isn't perfectly true, no matter how you adjust the truss rod. I'll plane it during the refretting process and get everything in order. Some dings and wear can be found, but no signs of negligence or abuse.

    Despite the issues I've mentioned, playability is pretty damn good. Most every Horizon out of the Kiso shop plays to a certain standard and even with the handicaps present, she still shreds.

    Bonus photo of (most) my ESPs on the rack:

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    The end is in sight for making her 100% again, hopefully by the end of this year everything's sorted.

    Thanks for looking!
     
  2. axil

    axil nya

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    What a beauty!

    Still holding out for the day that ESP puts the cockstock on western models....
     
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  3. Crash Dandicoot

    Crash Dandicoot » Supra-ise!

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    @axil Do you mean ESP USA when you say Western? They use the cockstock on the Original series, a few E-IIs and a couple (older) one-off USAs had it, too.
     
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  4. axil

    axil nya

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    Thats rad! but perhaps i shouldve said LTDs and not ESP....for the financially challenged but aesthetically conscious :)
     
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  5. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    love those knobs
     
  6. Crash Dandicoot

    Crash Dandicoot » Supra-ise!

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    @efiltsohg I grabbed them from LoveMySwitches. I wanted to keep a bit of chrome but with a white accent. They came through perfectly.
     
  7. nyxzz

    nyxzz SS.org Regular

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    this is sick, maybe the coolest horizon I've seen.
     
  8. gunch

    gunch Riff Chugman

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    Guitar of the month
     
  9. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    Dude this wins guitar of the month. Fucking AWESOME.
     
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  10. AdenM

    AdenM Illuminaughty

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    Wow, this is awesome! Love what you did with it, knobs and all. Cockstock Horizon = best Horizon.
     
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  11. Crash Dandicoot

    Crash Dandicoot » Supra-ise!

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    Thanks, guys! I'm glad you dig it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Nik_Left_RG

    Nik_Left_RG SS.org Regular

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    Thats the cleanest looking ESP I have ever seen.. Well done !!
     
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  13. Nlelith

    Nlelith Motion Designer

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    This is gorgeous. HNGD!
     
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  14. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    Duude, amazing! And I have the same guitar in black with the lawsuit headstock, needing a refinish. These pics are definitely helping me in terms of inspiration!
     
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  15. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    wow, so cool!
     
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  16. Crash Dandicoot

    Crash Dandicoot » Supra-ise!

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    Thanks, man! Reverse lawsuit is the only other headstock I'd accept on a Horizon, personally. If you find this project helps you better conceptualize your ideas, this is where I got my inspiration from:

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  17. Musiscience

    Musiscience Hail the Ibbyborn!

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    This is so cool, especially with its backstory. Enjoy!
     
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  18. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    Omg memories. That ESP guy on guitariste.com was such a massive troll. Still have funny memories about it :lol:
     
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  19. Millul

    Millul SS.org Regular

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    I'm speechless.
    Amazing axe, and the family rack shot is nothing short of great as well.
     
  20. Crash Dandicoot

    Crash Dandicoot » Supra-ise!

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    I believe his username was 'In Vertigo' or something similar? You're definitely remembering the right guy ;)
     

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