ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte Electric Guitar (with Case)

Designed by Papa Het himself, this mahogany-bodied ESP axe sports a set neck for serious sustain, and custom EMG active humbuckers based on the EMG 81/60.

What's special about this item?

Feature: What it does:
EMG James Hetfield "Het Set" active pickups Based on EMG 81/60; tight attack, scooped mids
TonePros bridge Upgraded materials & precise workmanship
Thin U-shaped neck Slim shape with fast, easy-to-play feel
3-way pickup selector switch Wide tonal range: select neck, bridge, or both

ESP LTD's James Hetfield Snakebyte electric guitar may carry the Metallica frontman's name and signature pickups, but with its set-neck construction and locking tuners, it's got features to please just about anyone with a wild and heavy playing style.

Hetfield-Designed Pickups Roar

Players on a mission to nail those heavy Metallica rhythm guitar sounds will appreciate the pickups loaded in the Snakebyte. The EMG JH "Het Set" pickups were designed in collaboration with Hetfield himself, to evoke the EMG pickups he's used for the past 30 years. The neck pickup includes ceramic poles and bobbins, while the bridge pickup uses steel pole pieces. The results for both are higher-output and fuller in the low end than the EMG 60/81 combo Hetfield previously used.

Solid Design Breeds Sustain

The Snakebyte's all-mahogany body is carved into a wicked body shape familiar to anyone who's seen Metallica take the stage in recent years. Mahogany is a preferred tonewood for players seeking a naturally warm and full-bodied sound. The mahogany neck is set into the body for improved sustain, and is cut in a thin-U neck contour for speedy play. The 22 extra-jumbo fret ebony fretboard features a custom Snakebyte marker centered around the 12th fret.

Thrash Away While Staying in Tune

To ensure the Snakebyte was ready for wild and aggressive players, ESP outfitted the guitar with high-end features like Sperzel locking tuners, and a TonePros locking Tune-O-Matic bridge and tailpiece. read more Though the hardtail bridge does not offer whammy bar potential, the locking bridge and tuners mean you can beat down on the low strings or make wide bends on the high strings without worrying about unintentional detuning. When you do want to take your sound down low, the locking mechanisms ensure you'll stay in the desired drop tuning without having to constantly readjust the keys.


- Mahogany body in signature Snakebyte shape
- Set mahogany thin-U contoured neck
- Ebony fretboard
- 24.75" neck scale
- EMG JH "Het Set" active humbucker neck pickup
- EMG JH "Het Set" active humbucker bridge pickup
- Sperzel Locking tuners
- TonePros Tune-O-Matic locking bridge and tailpiece
- 3-way pickup selector switch, separate neck and bridge volume knobs

Ride the lightning on a true metal machine: the ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte.
WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm -
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Neck Joint: Set-Neck Construction
Scale: 24.75 inches
Body: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Ebony
Nut: 42mm Bone Nut
Neck Contour: Thin U Neck Contour
Frets: 22 XJ
Hardware: Black
Tuners: LTD Locking
Bridge: TonePros Locking TOM Bridge & Tailpiece
Pickups: EMG JH "Het Set" active pickups
Controls: 3-Way Switch, Neck Volume, Bridge Volume
Dimensions and Weight in Packaging
Satin Black
Shipping Weight: 32.25 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 56 x 24 x 5 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): LSNAKEBYTEBLKS
Snow White
Shipping Weight: 31.25 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 56 x 20 x 5 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): LSNAKEBYTESW
Shipping Weight: 32.5 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 56 x 24 x 5 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): LSNAKEBYTECAMO

For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 800-423-8388

ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte Guitar

The original design of the ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte is sure to turn some heads. Adding to the great look of the guitar is a set neck for great sustain, 24.75-inch scale length, mahogany body and neck, and an ebony fingerboard with 22 XJ frets. The Snakebyte comes with a bunch of high-end components, including Sperzel locking tuners, a Tonepros locking bridge/tailpiece, and EMG JH Het Set active humbuckers for high output tone, chunky rhythm, and searing solos.


- Thin U neck contour for comfortable playing up and down the neck
- Set neck for great sustain and stability
- Mahogany body and neck
- 22 XJ fret ebony fingerboard
- Sperzel locking tuners for great stability and smooth tuning
- EMG JH Het Set active humbuckers

Reviewers gave this product an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars. (27 ratings)
Submitted May 16, 2011 by a customer from

"Good work Papa Het & ESP, good work indeed!"

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
(see rating details)
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I am extremely satisfied with this guitar, the only change I am going to make is pulling out the 81/60's and replace them with the brand new "Het set" pickups once they become available around 20 May 2011. Then I will throw the 81/60's in my Gibson Explorer.

I love the sound this guitar produces. the EMG active 81/60's are amazing. As a fan of James Hetfield, I cannot be happier about this setup.

Fantastic, my only complaint is that there is only 1 screw in the trus rod cover. But otherwise, this thing is perfect, it was straight and the action was great right out of the box.

Ease of Use
Oh man the neck is frigging fast. However, if it wasn't for my finger ease string lunricant, i would not be able to move around the neck. Man it was like the paint was still not quite dry....

As stated above, the paint felt "sticky" almost it was hard to slide around without any finger ease. Otherwise this thing will definately be one reliable guitar. I can definately see it lasting as long as my Gibson Explorer

Ok, here we go...For the price. This is 100% worth it. Many people claim that the difference between ESP and LTD is the quality of the qood/craftsmanship/laquer. Well, here is what I see...Both ESP and LTD use Mohogany wood for the body/neck, so maybe its a higher quality wood in ESP...meh...All ESP guitars read more are hand made, while LTD goes through a prduction line. A human person still touches each not a huge difference. And the paint? Ok, well its not as fantastic as on an ESP< however, those minute differences for a 2G price difference? Yeah the LTD is worth the price allright.

Manufacturer Support
I dealt with ESP guitars on one occasion because no one could tell me if this guitar came with a case. So by going through them, I was able to get my questions answered in a timely manner. Great customer support. As far as, they were extremely profesional. When I came to them about the case, they were extremely speedy about getting the answers I was seeking.

The Wow Factor
The headstock is so mean looking. The lower horn really gives it a kick over the typical explorer. The cutout on the bottom half of the rear isn't really needed, but I understand James wanted a radical new design, and this does it. I think if the back stayed the same, it would still kick some serious tail....

Musical Background:
Active Musician

Musical Style:
Metal Metal Metal
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Satin Black

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