ESP Eclipse Semi-Acoustic

Year: 1998/1999
Finish: See-Thru Blue, See-Thru Green
Origin: Japan
Acquired: 2004 & 2005
Mods: Schaller straplocks (both), Q-Parts knobs (green), rebuilt electronics & Allparts knobs (blue)
Still owned: Green yes, blue no

The Story:
I knew my original acoustic was due to be replaced, but I loved playing electric, so I started looking around for a thinline that could offer me both. I found it a blue ESP Eclipse Semi-Acoustic in Gelb’s consignment shop in Redwood City, and it was really the color that caught me, but I loved the electric feel; the neck was a Fender-like shallow C shape, but the body style was obviously a riff on a Gibson Les Paul. It rocked. It has a piezo pickup beneath the saddle; I figured if I strung it with very light acoustic strings, then I’d have the best of both worlds. I was right.

The Semi-Acoustic was an unusual model and I’d never seen it before, so I started doing some research…and found that nobody seemed to know much at all about this model, other than Kirk Hammett played it live on tour, probably for the acoustic bits of “Nothing Else Matters.” But beyond that, it seemed like a well-kept secret. Before anybody else found out, I started searching eBay to get a second one. I was just really, really paranoid about having found such a fun-playing acoustic guitar and having it die or get stolen one day. Like, I love my Les Paul, but I know if anything happened to it, I would be able to get another quality Les Paul, but not this thing. So I somehow found an even more beautiful model in green online and grabbed it before anybody else did. Kat thought I was crazy owning two of the same model. She was, of course, right.

Both were very reasonably priced; originally the Semi-Acoustic model went for somewhere around $800 but I’d managed to snag both for that price. I was so happy to have found such a good deal that I rushed to tell the Internet…and the prices started to go up sharply from that point on. I guess it’s only a secret if you keep it.

Later, I found out why one was so affordable: before long, the piezo electronics started to flake out in the blue one, and good ol’ Greg at Orbiter spent months and months trying to determine the cause of the problem. Ultimately he found it and fixed it…but in the meantime, I’d found the T5, and realized I definitely didn’t need both ESPs any more. The blue model now lives with him; he’s always been a fan of ESPs, and he needed an acoustic, so it only seemed right that he wound up being its permanent owner. (Also, I think the doctor fell in love with his patient.) I still have the green one because I love playing it around the house, and Kat forbids me to sell it. She somehow thinks it’s hers…