FORWARD TO THE PAST! - Review ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK

Even the description of the delivery note made me smile. "Rainbow Crackle" as the finish was enough to know what would visually stretch out to me after unpacking the instrument. The clock was turned back by about 35 years within seconds and who but me should write a test report about this instrument? ;-))) So then, straighten your hair, or place the wig for the fashionable short-haired youngsters or the settled hair metal guys and off you go with the ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK.

The concept of the ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK Started many years ago as an inexpensive alternative to ESP Guitars, at a time when there was still a big gap in the manufacturing quality between the parent company and the LTD offspring, LTD has quietly blossomed into a consistently high-quality manufacturer in recent years. After moving away from Chinese production, the instruments, which are now mainly manufactured in Indonesia or like this ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK in Korea, offer a good to very good price/performance ratio and in no way have to be considered a "second choice".

ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK im Studio

But why the big smile, as described at the beginning of the test report? Well, without a doubt, the Rainbow Crackle Finish used, alongside the eye cancer-promoting Neo Pink / Green / Yellow RG variants from Ibanez, are part of the optically ultimate 80s galore stock, which still warms the heart of every honorably gray cock rocker today . Once again it is pointless to give an optical rating for such a polarizing paint job, but I like the diametrical aspect of the optical concept. 50% of all guitarists will love the finish, 50% will hate it but 100% will talk about it, always a good effort from the marketing department I think.

There were not even that many manufacturers who offered this finish as a series model apart from the custom shops at the time, which could also be due to the comparatively greater effort involved in production. In the case of said painting, two painting steps with coordinated dissolving and drying steps are required in order to produce said crackle effect. I myself once involuntarily had a crackle effect on one of my self-painted stripes trademarks when, in complete naivety and ignorance, I applied white stripes to a black Explorer and then wanted to seal them with bold clear varnish. The clear coat dissolved the white streaks again, dried faster than the white paint and tore the white streaks when it contracted while drying. As far as I know, this is done today with icing spray, I am sure about this. but not quite sure.

What is certain, however, is that the rainbow stripes are painted on first, followed by an opaque black paint finish, which is then torn open again. The nice thing about it is that each paint finish is unique, since the "front view" can never be copied 1:1. It is also very nice that the finish extends over the entire instrument including the neck and the headstock.


The conception

When it comes to pickups, LTD relies on the proven combination of Seymour Duncan '59 on the neck and Seymour Duncan JB on the bridge, whereby both pickups can be split using the push/pull function of the Mastertone controller. As further control options, the instrument has a master volume control and a three-way switch. The two controls and the switch are of high quality, although I personally find the position of the three-way switch to be a bit unfortunate. It is difficult to reach due to the fact that it is relatively close behind the volume control when viewed from above, and there is a possibility that the neck pickup setting could inadvertently toggle the switch when operating the volume control. The vibrato arm positioned there also makes it more difficult to reach. However, this is a purely subjective assessment by a musician who has become accustomed to the toggle switch position of an LP over decades.

ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK Front

The ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK is available in two versions, with and without a Floyd Rose 1000 vibrato system. As with almost all other instruments that have a Floyd Rose system, the ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK also has the notorious "hall spiral" effect, which is based on the vibration of the springs of the vibrato block. If you want to better define your tone when playing hard staccato, you should put appropriate damping material such as foam around the springs. A nice detailed solution is once again the slotted cover plate on the back of the body, where you can change the spring tension using a Phillips screwdriver without having to remove the plate. An additional spring plus all necessary Allen keys are included with the instrument.

ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK Back

The ESP LTD Eclipse ´87 Rainbow CRK in practice

Once again, the combination of a neck-thru with a Floyd Rose vibrato system turns out to be the best compensation for the sustain loss caused by the vibrato system. The vibration behavior of the guitar is indeed very good and clearly noticeable even in the not amplified mode without any gain support. I couldn't find any dead notes or dying needs in the entire tonal spectrum, which in itself speaks for a successful coordination in the construction. The overall playing feel is very round and balanced, with the instrument showing great tonal flexibility.

Due to the splittable pickups, the ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK does indeed cover a very wide range that goes far beyond the hard'n'heavy range that the instrument is expected to be capable of due to its visual appearance. Anyone who manages to hide the optics of the instrument, or to regard it as a neutral element of their personal performance, can cover almost all styles with a total of 6 basic sounds, which a broad portfolio takes up. The SD pickups once again do their job to their absolute satisfaction, especially since they have been installed countless times in this constellation. I would be interested to know if Jeff Back is aware of the huge success of his signature pickup.

All in all, the ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK can do a lot more in the studio than you might think based on its looks. Always an eye-catcher, as long as personal self-confidence allows it.

ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK Profil


With the ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK, the manufacturer has a very flexible and optically polarizing guitar in its portfolio. With the eye-catching Rainbow Crackle finish, the guitar has a massive reminiscence of the eighties, which splits the user into two camps at first glance.

But you shouldn't be overwhelmed by the looks and keep an open ear for the high-quality and flexible sounds. which can be elicited from the "Powertele" due to the very good individual components. Besides, it really doesn't matter which color combination you want to wear on stage as an outfit, the ESP LTD Eclipse '87 Rainbow CRK definitely fits visually.

01-ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK Clean SC-HB

02-ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK Crunch 1 SC-HB

03-ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK Crunch 2 SC-HB

04-ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK Lead SC-HB

05-ESP LTD Eclipse 87 Rainbow CRK High Gain

For further information about the guitar, please check out
THIS LINK and check your language at the upper right corner.


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