NAMM 2022: ESP officially confirms Kirk Hammett signature V-style model, the LTD KH-V

Kirk Hammett ESP LTD KH-V
(Image credit: Michael Astley-Brown/Future)

NAMM 2022: Fans of Kirk Hammett will no doubt be familiar with his elusive custom shop ESP V electric guitar, which the Metallica heavyweight has been playing intermittently over the past few years.

Well, in what comes as a pleasant surprise at this year’s NAMM show, ESP has confirmed that an LTD version of Hammett’s ESP V – aptly named the LTD KH-V – is officially on the way.

Arriving next year, the slightly offset V carries a hint of ESP’s USA V-II model, though features a slightly more traditional look, thanks to the presence of a pickguard and double humbucker configuration.

The LTD-V will be available in three alluring finishes – Black Sparkle, Red Sparkle and Metallic Gold – and is said to be based on three separate custom shop ESP Vs that Hammett had built back in 2019.

These three custom models arrived in the exact same finishes as the LTD version will be offered in, with the first – the Gold Metallic ESP USA V-1 – dating back to October 17, 2019.

And, judging by the early pictures we have gathered from the show floor, the LTD KH-V looks to be an uncanny recreation of The Nicest Man in Metal’s pre-existing custom model.

Case in point is the Gold Metallic LTD KH-V, which flashes an identical finish to Hammett’s ESP V-1, as well as a pair of EMG pickups, string-through-body design and two-knob control layout. Even the quirky, slightly warped shark tooth-style inlays have made the cut.

At first glance, there are only a few differences we can discern. Namely, KH’s ESP models featured a partially scalloped fingerboard from the neck joint onwards, whereas the LTD versions look to have regular ‘boards.

Indeed, the Red Sparkle and Black Sparkle LTDs look to be equally faithful to their forebears, boasting color matched finishes, EMG pickups and the same slightly offset V design.

An accompanying plaque posted next to the three models read, “The ESP USA shop built three offset V guitars for Kirk in 2019, and this instrument is the first sample of the LTD version of that model.”

The post also confirmed that the LTD KH-V is currently in production, and will be hitting shelves early next year.

ESP's new LTD KH-V guitar

(Image credit: Michael Astley-Brown/Future)

Unfortunately, that’s all we have to go on right now, though since the Vs are slated to arrive in only seven months, we can’t imagine it will be too long before we get some more concrete details on the LTD KH-V.

It looks as though Hammett may be getting a few more V signatures under his belt in the near future, too, after he recently took to the stage wielding what we hypothesized to be an upcoming Gibson Flying V signature guitar.

Head over to our NAMM 2022 live blog to keep up to date with everything that’s going on at this year’s gear fest.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.