ESP E-II Eclipse DB Electric Guitar in Vintage Black - EIIECDBVB
It’s like ESP hot-rodded a Les Paul by stripping it of some body weight, re-profiling the cutaway, and dumping stuff like the pickguard and one of the tone controls. That hot-rod vibe is enhanced by the cool racing flag fingerboard inlays, matching truss rod cover and headstock profile.
The Eclipse DB features the same thin one-piece mahogany neck with a 305mm (12") fingerboard radius and 22 beautifully seated and crowned extra jumbo frets. Both necks come with locking Gotoh tuners with metal tulip buttons, a perfectly cut bone nut, and a volute at the point where the headstock begins to add some strength. Additional security is provided by a set of Schaller strap-locks and a tough oblong case with a fitted interior and accessories pocket.
The Eclipse DB features a Vintage Black finish, ebony ’board and gold metal parts, as well as a LP Custom-style double-bound body with a more traditional set-neck construction. The path to the upper fret isn’t quite as clear as the other, recently-reviewed, Eclipse but still that aged binding looks the absolute business set against the Vintage Black paintwork. We also love how the DB’s rear belly scoop cuts cleanly through the binding. It’s a beautifully executed touch of class.
The DB also features a nine-volt battery cover with a military spec aesthetic, not unlike the rear panel on a Casio G-Shock watch. The battery hatch on the DB is a clue to the most important difference between the latest Eclipse models: the engine room. The DB comes with the classic metal setup of active EMG 81 pick up in the bridge position and EMG 60 at the neck.
Adding the ceramic-mag powered EMG 60 introduces a bit more bottom end grunt to the proceedings, and running it solo makes for a stellar, almost synthesizer-like, lead tone. Even in that position, there’s still plenty of clarity. Active EMGs don’t suffer from the muddiness inherent in many passive neck ’buckers.
ESP has long been typecast as a go-to make for metalheads and shredders, a situation happily perpetuated by the brand itself. So where does that leave the rest of guitar playing humanity who might otherwise dismiss ESP’s wares while looking for a new six-string squeeze?
Yet, even if the EMGs alienate some, we can see both of these beautiful guitars looking the part in a classic rock, blues rock or even jazz setting. And since when was a wish list that includes an ultra comfortable neck shape, excellent upper fret access and a super low action solely the preserve of the metal fraternity?