ESP Truckster
ESP Truckster

Truckster, LP-Shaped Guitar from ESP in the James Hetfield series.

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tjon901 10/20/2011

ESP Truckster : tjon901's user review

« When James wanted something different. »

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It seems that every other James Hetfield guitar is an Explorer. So when it isnt an Explorer you get something different. This time it was time for something different. This is the James Hetfield Truckster guitar. It is based off the ESP Eclipse model but isnt as classy as the old JH-3. This is the ESP version so it is made in Japan and has Custom Shop level fit and finish. It looks exactly like the LTD version but if you pick them both off the rack and play them you will feel a difference in factory setup. This guitar has the typical Hetfield sound and modifications. The guitar has a mahogany body and neck with a rosewood fretboard. The frets are 22 xtra jumbo ESP frets. It has dual EMG pickups with an 81 in the bridge and a 60 in the neck Hetfields traditional setup. It has tone pros locking bridge system also. The pickup selector is down by the rest of the controls and takes the place of one of the tone controls. The upper pickup selector does not do anything. The paint job is a unique relic finish that doesnt look real at all. You can feel the transitions between colors on the body. That is kind of cool.


Back when these were new all the other ESP guitars came with Earvana compensated nuts but this one didnt and I thought that was strange. This guitar has a pretty traditional feel. The neck is pretty big for an ESP and it is nice and wide. Having the pickup selector down by the rest of the controls are cool but leaving a useless one in the traditional spot is silly. Just get rid of it. Since this guitar has active EMG's they need batteries to operate. ESP is smart and provides a battery compartment so you can quickly change batteries without having to open up the entire guitar.


The sound on this guitar is classic metal with the classic EMG set in the guitar. It will be interesting to see if future models have the new EMG HET SET Hetfields signature pickups. They are quite different sounding. They have a lot more high end bite but are not as thick sounding overall. The pickups in this guitar like I said are classic. The 81 in the bridge is the benchmark for metal pickups. The 81 gives you great high end crunch and clarity even in the lowest of tunings. With the 81 harmonics pop right out and you get a nice searing high end tone. This high end is what keeps the sound nice and clear. The 60 in the neck is a pretty much neck only pickup. It is not super high output and is best used for clean tones. In the neck position I personally prefer an 85. The 85 has about the same output as the 81 and I think it is better for dirty solos in the neck position than the 60 is. If you prefer the idea of an 85 in the neck it is easy to swap out EMG's and try what you like since they use solderless connections now.


This guitar is alright if you are a Hetfield fan. The paint job is pretty distinctive and some people may not like it. It is also instantly recognizable to anyone who knows Metallica. I personally would just take a normal Eclipse or EC1000 over this guitar. They have pretty much the same specs and hardware but with a more traditional paint job. If you are a big Hetfield fan and are looking for one of the guitars he plays most nowadays this is one of them along with the Snakebyte.