This is so not a SCANDAL-related post.

As a quick preamble, I admit to have been somewhat tardy with posts, especially keeping up with my guitars. This post is almost 5 years late. Anyways, I cannot remember what it was exactly that made me gravitate to an ESP Horizon back in the autumn of 2012. For one, I’m sure it wasn’t a PRS fetish that made me want a quilted maple top on a guitar, although I am half suspecting that it may have been a rekindled interest in Deftones. Nevertheless, this time I was aiming at the second hand market on eBay. I have narrowed it down to a Horizon NTII and I remembered eyeing one listed by this seller in Leeds. The issue with this one though was a conspicuous ding at the tip of the headstock, which is a known issue with the Horizon models. I was tempted though but somehow kept my cool, and luckily enough, there was another one from down south, which was about the same price, and more importantly, no chipped headstock. It was a lot cheaper than buying it first hand, so I saved a few quid on this purchase.

When I bought her, she was still nameless. She’s a 2008 ESP Horizon NTII in dark brown sunburst. Yes, if you had read the first weblink above, I had considered an LTD initially. The ESP is of a better quality which goes without saying. The quilted maple on her is just gorgeous. In my books, she’s very light for a mahogany guitar. I’d say that, of course, as my other proper mahogany guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Standard that weighs a ton. The strap button at the upper horn appears somewhat precariously sited due to the horn’s slim shape. This was my first NTB guitar, so it is nice to see no heel in her.

For some reason, I would associate ESP with EMG pups, although if you look at most of their guitars, Seymour Duncan appears to be their brand of choice. Her pups are both Seymour Duncans with the SH-4 JB at the bridge and SH-1 ’59 at the neck, a combo which I already have on Ryōko. So, I was expecting that the tone should sound familiar albeit better on her due to her better construction. No trem on this one as the NTII that has a bridge is a Floyd Rose, which I couldn’t be bothered[1] having.

Playability is superb which goes without saying. I wasn’t sure if the previous owner had set the guitar up recently, but I loved the action. I had to restring her, though, as the strings that came with her was of a very heavy gauge. Just like Shizuka, she has locking Gotoh tuning heads. I had to adjust her intonation but it wasn’t until a year later that my brother did a setup complete with truss rod adjustment. She is a string-through body Horizon, which is the standard version for the non-Japanese market. I never liked the Japan-only Horizon NTII as it has a stoptail.

Tone-wise, she was very versatile. You’d probably had checked out the Deftones’ cover I embedded in the previous post. Here’s another cover which I haven’t got around to finish after all these years.

Being a simple chap, as she is a Japanese beaut, I named her マミちゃん「MAMI-chan」. As I thought, the missus was well plea… never mind.

BODY Mahogany
TOP Quilted Maple
NECK Maple 3P
FINGERBOARD Ebony, 24 XJ frets w/ White Binding
SCALE 25.5″ / 648mm
NUT (width) Bone (42mm)
INLAY MOP Offset block, with ESP at 12th fret
JOINT Neck-through-body (NTB)
TUNER GOTOH SG301-04 MG (Magnum Lock)
PICKUPS Seymour Duncan SH-1 ’59 (Neck), SH-4 JB (Bridge)
COLOUR Dark Brown Sunburst
CONTROL Master Volume, Master Tone, 3-Way Toggle PU Selector

[1]Little did I know what was to happen in the winter of 2015.