The dream was a custom shop version – along the lines of a Stephen Carpenter, but two strings less, with EMG’s in the place of Seymours and stock ESP’s own. Never was worthy of such an item, and despite the possibility of getting it way cheaper back in KL, I finally bought my very first ESP. Here in Sheffield.

It’s a 2007 ESP Standard Viper, which comprises a skewed SG-shaped body made of solid mahogany. Due to its thin body, it feels light weight-wise, but with the EMG humbuckers, 81 at the bridge and 85 at the neck, this is one heavy mutha tone-wise.

My cheapo 15-year old solid state Fender practice amp never sounded so good. As active pickups go, they are a tad strong. Even the clean tone on my 40W Fender Blues Deluxe had a minimal overdrive to it! Tone-wise, it’s pretty much like the KH-2 (which is going to take a trip back to its rightful owner very soon). Have a listen. I promise you, it is the Viper, through the Boss Metal Zone and the 5W Orange AD-5, un-miked and shot using the iPhone.

The construction’s flawless and with the select hardware this baby has, it is little wonder it has such a price tag. The machine heads are locking Gotoh Magnums. No more winding with these. Put the string through, tighten the screw head and clip off the excess. The fingerboard is ebony and has pearloid inlays, reminiscent of the ones seen on Het’s Truckster. The neck is set through, kinda like a partial neck thru / set neck combo. Allows brilliant access to the higher registers if you shred. I don’t. Oh, check out the battery compartment on the back. Think car ashtray.

I’ve gigged with it just the once, at the last ever GIG@Sheffield in 2009. Sound is a tad shabby but do check out this practice sesh vid taken during the preparation for the gig.

O namae wa? Shizuka desu.

BODY Mahogany
NECK Hard Maple 3P
FINGERBOARD Ebony, 24 XJ frets w/ White Binding
SCALE 24.75″ / 628mm
NUT (width) Bone (42mm)
JOINT Set through
TUNER GOTOH SG301-04 MG (Magnum Lock)
BRIDGE GOTOH Tune-O-Matic & Tail
PICKUPS EMG 85 (Neck), EMG 81 (Bridge)
COLOUR Black satin
PARTS COLOUR Black nickel
CONTROL Master Volume, Master Tone, Toggle PU Selector

[Post updated 5.8.2017]