Bill Kelliher Signature Guitars

Bill Kelliher: the name rings a bell in the ears of any die-hard metal fan. He’s not just another guitarist in the long lineup of metal virtuosos; he’s a force of nature on stage, a sonic juggernaut, and one-half of the twin-guitar powerhouse of the acclaimed band Mastodon.

In Mastodon’s progressive metal escapades, where the music ranges from melodic to downright crushingly heavy, Bill’s guitar work has always been front and center, delivering riff after powerful riff that forms the backbone of the band’s unique sound.

It’s no wonder that ESP, known for its premium quality guitars tailored to the needs of professional musicians, decided to collaborate with Bill to produce signature models that carry his personal touch and suit his aggressive yet melodic playing style. Let’s dive deep into the world of Bill Kelliher and his signature ESP models.

Before we delve into the intricate details of the instruments, let’s take a brief moment to appreciate the man behind them. Bill Kelliher isn’t just a guitarist; he’s a songwriter, a tone-chaser, and an innovator. From the early days of Mastodon, his dynamic with fellow guitarist Brent Hinds has been electrifying, both of them weaving complex guitar lines that often blur the line between rhythm and lead.

His dedication to the craft is evident in the way he plays. Whether it’s the heavy chugging on tracks like “Blood and Thunder” or the melodic introspections of “Oblivion”, Bill’s versatility shines through. He has an uncanny ability to create atmospheric soundscapes and follow them up with skull-crushing heaviness. This balance between melody and might is a testament to his deep understanding of music and his instrument.

1. ESP LTD Sparrowhawk

First on our list is the Sparrowhawk, which is as unique in design as it is in its name. Its offset body gives it a distinct look, setting it apart from the sea of conventional guitar shapes. The Sparrowhawk isn’t just about looks; the design contributes to its playability, especially for players who like to access higher frets without obstruction.

Tonewood and Build

The Sparrowhawk boasts a mahogany body that promises warmth and resonance. Paired with a maple cap, the guitar ensures clarity in every note, no matter how saturated your distortion might be. The set-thru construction provides stability and enhances sustain, making every note ring out with authority.

Electronics

With a pair of Lace Sensor Divinators, the Sparrowhawk is equipped to deliver both clean tones and aggressive distortions with ease. These pickups, designed in collaboration with Bill himself, cater to the varied sonic palette that Mastodon’s music demands.

Esp Ltd Sparrowhawk Specification Table

CategorySpecification
General
Brand:ESP LTD
Configuration:HH
Strings:6
Made in:Indonesia
Series:Signature
Colors:Black
Left-Handed Version:No
Body
Type:Solid Body
Body Material:Mahogany w/ Maple Cap
Bridge:Tonepros Locking TOM & Tailpiece
Neck
Neck Joint:Set
Tuners:LTD Locking
Fretboard:Macassar Ebony
Neck Material:3Pc Mahogany
Decoration:Blocks
Scale Size:24.75″
Shape:Thin U
Thickness:1st Fret: 0.787” (20mm) – 12th Fret: 0.866” (22mm)
Frets:22 XL Jumbo
Fretboard Radius:13.78″
Nut:Plastic
Nut Width:42mm (1.654”)
Electronics
Switch:3 Way
Knobs:Dome
Pickup Mods:Coil Split
Volume Controls:1
Tone Controls:1
Bridge Pickup:Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup:Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6 (Humbucker / Passive)

2. ESP LTD BK-600

The BK-600 might look familiar to some as it borrows its aesthetics from the classic single-cut design but refines it to suit Bill’s specifications. It’s a solid piece of craftsmanship, built for the road, the studio, and intense playing sessions.

Build and Feel

Like the Sparrowhawk, the BK-600 utilizes mahogany as its primary tonewood, ensuring a rich and full-bodied sound. The ebony fingerboard provides a slick and fast playing experience, perfect for both rhythm chugging and lead playing.

Electronics and Sound

The guitar houses a set of Lace Sensor Dissonant Aggressors. These pickups are versatile, capable of delivering punchy rhythms and screaming leads. The push-pull coil-splitting feature adds another layer of versatility, offering an expanded tonal range.

ESP LTD BK-600 Specification Table

CategorySpecification
General
Brand:ESP LTD
Configuration:HH
Strings:6
Made in:Indonesia
Series:Signature
Colors:Military Green Sunburst Satin
Left-Handed Version:No
Body
Type:Solid Body
Body Material:Mahogany (full thickness)
Bridge:Tonepros Locking TOM Bridge & Tailpiece
Neck
Neck Joint:Set
Tuners:LTD Locking
Fretboard:Macassar Ebony
Neck Material:3Pc Mahogany
Decoration:Flags
Scale Size:24.75″
Shape:Thin U
Thickness:1st Fret: 0.787” (20mm) – 12th Fret: 0.866” (22mm)
Frets:22 XL Jumbo
Fretboard Radius:12″
Nut:Plastic
Nut Width:42mm (1.654”)
Electronics
Switch:3 Way
Knobs:Dome
Pickup Mods:Coil Split
Volume Controls:1
Tone Controls:1
Bridge Pickup:Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup:Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6 (Humbucker / Passive)

3. ESP Bill Kelliher Eclipse (2016)

The Eclipse is one of ESP’s most iconic designs, and Bill Kelliher’s signature version brings his personal touch to this classic shape. It’s elegant, with a hint of aggression, mirroring Bill’s playing style.

Construction

The Bill Kelliher Eclipse continues the tradition of using mahogany as its base tonewood, providing a rich and resonant tonal foundation. The guitar’s set-neck construction ensures maximum sustain and a seamless transition between the neck and body.

Pickups and Tone

This model is equipped with Bill’s signature Lace Sensor Divinator pickups. They are versatile, dynamic, and responsive, reflecting Bill’s eclectic playing style. From clean arpeggios to the heaviest of riffs, this guitar can handle it all.

ESP BILL KELLIHER ECLIPSE Specification Table

CategorySpecification
General
Brand:ESP
Year:2016
Configuration:HH
Strings:6
Made in:Japan
Series:Signature
Colors:Military Green Sunburst Satin
Left-Handed Version:No
Body
Type:Solid Body
Body Material:Mahogany w/ Maple Cap
Bridge:Tonepros Locking TOM Bridge & Tailpiece
Neck
Neck Joint:Set
Tuners:Sperzel Locking
Fretboard:Ebony
Neck Material:Mahogany
Decoration:Flags
Scale Size:24.75″
Shape:Thin U
Thickness:1st Fret: 0.787” (20mm) – 12th Fret: 0.866” (22mm)
Frets:22 XL Jumbo
Fretboard Radius:12″
Nut:Graphite
Nut Width:42mm (1.654”)
Electronics
Switch:3 Way
Knobs:Dome
Pickup Mods:Coil Split
Volume Controls:1
Tone Controls:1
Bridge Pickup:Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup:Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6 (Humbucker / Passive)

Bill Kelliher’s collaboration with ESP has produced instruments that are not just a reflection of his personal taste but are also versatile tools suitable for any serious guitarist. These guitars are built for the stage, ready to be played hard, and designed to deliver night after night.

Whether you’re a Mastodon fan, a lover of heavy music, or just someone who appreciates a well-crafted guitar, Bill Kelliher’s signature ESP models are worthy of your attention. They encapsulate the spirit of a musician who has dedicated his life to pushing the boundaries of metal music, and they stand as a testament to his indomitable spirit and unmatched prowess.