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Back to the Eighties: ESP LTD ’87 Series Rainbow Crackle

After 37 years, ESP decided to return to older guitar models and commissioned its subsidiary brand LTD to produce  the distinctive Rainbow Crackle design that was a hit with rock-oriented players in the second half of the 1980s. Featuring black bodies and headstocks decorated with neon-colored graphics, the LTD M-1 Custom '87 RC, Mirage Deluxe '87 RC, Eclipse '87 RC, and Eclipse NT '87 RC guitars and the Surveyor '87 RC bass guitar are inspired by the shapes of the Stratocaster, Telecaster, and Precision.

The LTD Eclipse '87 model, equipped with a Floyd Rose 1000 locking vibrato, is based on the original ESP Eclipse TE series, just like the NT version with the TonePros TOM fixed bridge. The mahogany body with a arched top is complemented by a through-neck glued from three pieces of maple and fitted with a thin U-profile. The 350mm radius macassar ebony fingerboard features 24 XJ jumbo frets.

The guitars with a scale length of 24.75 inches feature a Seymour Duncan '59 neck humbucker (SH-1) and a JB-type bridge humbucker (SH-4), controlled by a three-position toggle switch, a volume and tone pot with built-in push/pull coil splitting for both pickups, giving the player a total of six pickup configurations.

Superstrat LTD M-1 Custom '87 shares neck and fingerboard materials with the Eclipse '87 variants, the body is made of alder, a longer 25.5-inch scale length has been chosen, the Floyd Rose 1000 vibrato features a Seymour Duncan SH-6 Distortion humbucker with a stronger output, the controls consist only of a volume potentiometer, which also functions as a coil release, and a switchable EMG PA-2 active preamp/boost has been incorporated. The LTD Mirage Deluxe '87 RC is similarly designed, but with a bolt-on neck, the SH-6 humbucker is joined by a slant-neck SD Hot Rails mini-humbucker, and the controls are identical to the Eclipse edition.

Based on the modern Precision, the LTD Surveyor '87 RC four-string bass uses an alder body to which is bolted a one-piece maple neck combined with a 400mm radius ebony fingerboard offering 21 XJ frets. The scale length is a standard 34 inches, strings are anchored in a Gotoh 201B-4 cob, tuning is provided by the company's proprietary clover-leaf tuning keys, and electronics consist of a Seymour Duncan Vintage P medium single coil, SD Vintage Jazz single coil, volume, tone pot and balance control for infinitely adjustable ratio of the two pickups.

The LTD Eclipse NT '87 RC with a price tag of $1,100 is also available in Pearl White or Turquoise, the Eclipse RC version with Floyd Rose vibrato costs about $1,200 and those interested can choose an alternative black finish. The LTD M-1 Custom '87 RC can also be purchased in Black, Dark Metallic Blue and Candy Apple Red finishes for a price of around $1,100, the LTD Mirage Deluxe '87 RC with an identical price comes in Pearl Pink or Turquoise finishes, and the LTD Surveyor '87 RC bass carries a price tag of around $1,000, with additional Black or Pearl White finishes to choose from. 

Tagy ESP LTD ESP LTD ’87 Series Rainbow Crackle Surveyor '87 RC bass guitar LTD M-1 Custom '87 RC Mirage Deluxe '87 RC Eclipse '87 RC Eclipse NT '87 RC rainbow crackle guitar

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For Insounder, I am mainly responsible for the news section and articles covering the gear of well-known musicians. I have been playing guitar in various bands for years and I also teach this beautiful instrument.