For more than 30 years, Metallica frontman James Hetfield has been regarded as one of the world's most highly respected rhythm guitarists. Whether he's playing those riffs he's famous for, or pulling out a smooth and articulate solo, his sound is almost instantly recognisable to metal fans the world over, and this is thanks in part to high choice of guitars and pickups.
The long-standing love affair between Hetfield and ESP is a well-documented one, so any time a new Hetfield Signature Series guitar is anounced, the PMT office is abuzz with excitement! That was certainly no different when we heard about the ESP Ltd Iron Cross...
Built to James Hetfield's personal specifications
Featuring a familiar-looking single-cutaway shape, Mahogany body (with Maple top), 3-piece Mahogany neck (with Thin "U" profile), Ebony fretboard with 22 xtra-jumbo frets, James Hetfield's very own EMH JH humbucker pickups, and a TonePros locking TOM bridge, the Iron Cross is based on Hetfield's personal custom instrument design. The whole thing is finished off nicely with both an Iron Cross inlay at the 12th fret, and a gorgeous Snow White finish with black stripe graphic and Iron Cross fixture.
Although James is not usually known for super-fast guitar solos, the neck of this signature guitar is perfectly suited to that should you wish. The Thin "U" contour makes those rip-roaring shred-fests and riff-heavy masterpieces that bit more accessible, and the ebony fretboard makes for the perfect finishing touch.
During 2009 James Hetfield approached the president of EMG Pickups with an idea: he wanted them to construct him a new pickup set that helped capture the clarity and punch of a passive pickup, whilst retaining that legendary active tone that drew him to EMG in the first place - and thus the EMG JH "Het" pickup set was born. Both pickups were patterned after the EMG 81/60 combination that James had used for 30 years, whilst at the same time being a completely new kind of monster.
The JH-N (Neck pickup) comes with individual ceramic poles and bobbins that feature a larger core and are taller than the classic EMG-60, giving you plenty of attack, a higher output and a fuller low end in the neck position.
The JH-B (Bridge pickup) uses the same kind of core as the JH-N but has steel pole pieces, unlike the 81 that uses bar magnets, giving you that familiar tight attack with less inductance for a cleaner low end.
The premium-quality Iron Cross is purposefully built with professional working musicians in mind - despite the looks and the connotations with Metallica, this guitar is as versatile as you could want it to be, with truly professional-grade hardware and electronics at your disposal.
ESP Ltd James Hetfield Signature Iron Cross in White Specs
- Construction: Set-Neck
- Scale: 24.75"
- Body: Mahogany
- Top: Maple
- Neck: 3pc Mahogany
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Fingerboard Radius: 350mm
- Finish: Snow White w/ Stripes Graphic
- Nut Width: 42mm
- Nut Type: Molded
- Neck Contour: Thin "U"
- Frets/Type: 22 Xtra Jumbo
- Hardware Colour: Black
- Strap Button: Standard
- Tuners: LTD Locking
- Bridge: Tonepros Locking TOM & Tailpiece
- Pickups: EMG JH Humbucker Set
- Electronics: Active
- Electronics Layout: Volume x 2, Tone, Toggle Switch
|Neck Wood||3pc mahogany neck|
|Pickup Config||2 x humbucker|
|Number Of Strings||6 string|
|Right / Left-Handed||right handed|
|Guitar Style||single cutaway|
|Body Size||full size|
|Body Material||mahogany body|
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