ESP is totally on-point with its latest Metallica collab, the LTD Kirk Hammett Signature KH-V, an asymmetric V-shaped electric and bona fide shred machine
Metallica’s Kirk Hammett has some seriously cool Signature Guitars the current ESP and LTD ranges have variations on its classic S style that come in all price points, not to mention the KH-3 – the “Spider” singlecut that defined it The Black Album Epoch. But something was missing.
Kirk Hammett needed a V style and now he has one. Meet the LTD KH-V. Hammett has had signature Vs before, most notably from the Gibson Custom Shop, but the KH-V adheres to the ESP/LTD design aesthetic, and that means the headstock is sharper, the angles are more aggressive, and an asymmetrical body profile provides aerodynamics Electric guitar in the shape of an arrowhead.
It’s not that far removed from the signature ESP/LTD-V styles we saw for the late Alexi Laiho, but there’s a classicism to Hammett’s design that strikes the right note between modern and super-aggressive and vintage.
The LTD KH-V marks over three decades of Hammett as an ESP artist, but he admitted he still got goosebumps when he first saw it.
“It was like the perfect mix of reality and my vision,” he said. “It’s such a beautiful guitar. I buckled it up and played it later in the day; just jam with friends for four or five hours. It’s an amazing, amazing guitar.”
The KH-V is available in Black Sparkle, Red Sparkle, and Metallic Gold, with gold hardware on the latter two finish options, black on the former. It looks like the bee’s knees.
It should sound good too, with a pair of Hammett’s signature EMG Bone Breaker humbuckers at the neck and bridge positions, set in a solid Korina neck-through body.
The three-piece maple neck is carved in ESP/LTD’s preferred profile – ie a thin U with exceptional speed – and is topped by a Macassar ebony fingerboard. There are 24 extra-jumbo frets, sweeping pearloid wave inlays that reflect the Hawaiian resident and avid surfer’s affinity for oceanic swells.
The KH-V has a longer scale than the Flying V in Hammett’s collection. At 25.5 inches, it feels very different. ESP/LTD hasn’t shared the fretboard radius yet, but you can bet good money it will be the 350mm of the other models in the lineup.
Other features include the string-through Tonepros bridge, LTD locking tuners, and this is a fairly high-quality electric guitar, so we’re glad the price includes a deluxe hardshell guitar case.
Speaking of which, the LTD Kirk Hammett Signature KH-V will cost you £2,063 / €2,260. You’ve got a few months to save up for it because it should arrive at your local guitar shop in June. See ESP Guitars for more details.