The ESP LTD GK is a Chinese-made synth controller with no built-in pickup (foto 1) and a GK MIDI hex pickup, which I modded to add a humbucker so I could use it with V-Guitar equipment from Roland. I picked one up at an Amsterdam guitar store and got a cheap 2nd hand guitar synth to test with (GR-33). The factory workmanship on this is mediocre, but with some adjustments it can perform well. The neck is fairly slim (19.5/21.5 mm) and reasonably good for faster playing.
The mods and adjustments I did:
- Routed out a humbucker slot in the body – it’s a relatively soft material and I just chipped it out manually with a Dremel and some cutting tools. The cutting was not ideal on the edges but it’s covered up by the PU frame anyway.
- Insulated the PU cavity using copper tape.
- Mounted the humbucker and ran its cable to the GK-2A unit. I noticed later that the string widths were not matching perfectly (facepalm).
- Re-glued the GK-2A hex pickup using extra-strength Scotch double-sided tape
- Re-crowned the frets and polished the sharp edges. Adjusted the neck tension and saddle heights/intonation.
The guitar now plays surprisingly well for a body made of compressed material and a neck that is of mediocre quality. It’s a light synth controller and the humbucker sounds very good, in the dual pickup context of the GP-10 I now use. Quite a versatile controller and it can emulate all sorts of guitars as well as polyphonic signal processing from the hex MIDI PU, alternate tunings, digital pitch modulation, and other crazy effects not easily achievable with traditional electric guitar pickups.