ESP KH-2 Ouija, “The Ouija”, one of the ESP and METALLICA / Kirk Hammett most recognized and sought after guitars” because of its rarity and how much Kirk Hammett is identified with it, and all the stories and the mysticism around them.Seen in countless Metallica gigs, this is a very beautiful instrument, true collector´s item, and a really bad ass guitar!!!
This guitar was ordered to the ESP Custom Shop as a special request by Kirk Hammett. Kirk is a great horror / monsters memorabilia fan, and the design was just perfect for him. First batch of Ouijas were made for the Japanese domestic market in or around 93-94, all were neck thru, it´s said that 7 were built, including 2 for Kirk. The first ever Ouija built was for Kirk and has two spelling errors, you can read (WILLIAM FUED TALKING BAARD SET” instead of “WILLIAM FULD TALKIN BOARD SET”.
So in the mid nineties ESP introduces the Ouija as a Bolt On guitar in the market, some were made with the correct moon and stars inlays and some were built with the skull and crossbone inlays. The most sought after were of course the moon and star inlays, because is just like Kirk´s one at first look. It was around 1998 Parker Brothers or Hasbro sent a cease and desist order to ESP USA. The truth is there was never any lawsuit just a letter. That makes these produced guitars until the date very rare and sought after, because of the limited units and the rarity, because no Ouijas could be ordered to the Custom Shop after that because of Hasbro´s right over the design.
More than 10 years after that, and due to the big demand and popularity of this concrete model, ESP paid Hasbro to produce a very limited edition of 50 Black Ouijas, and 50 White Ouijas (known as reversed Ouija), some specs were different than the original, neck thru, ebony fretboard, mirror inlays…This edition were priced at $10.000 each guitar, and was sold out, so today is very hard to find one of these pieces too, it have become a true collector’s item.
Still yet, the original Ouija is very sought after and flaming people´s dreams, some fans choose the original over the re-edition because is the 2original” and the real thing, and that´s why the Ouijas sells for big dollar in the second hand market.
Mostly people and webs say that only 49 moon and stars inlays and 49 skull and crossbones bolt on Ouijas were produces, but that isn´t totally true. A friend of mine from Italy, Alex, has a really good web about guitars and specially Metallica guitars, with a very good research about the Ouija, with lot of info about this model:
As far as I know for my own researches and info, and I totally agree with Alex, there are one Ouija neck thru with the misspelling (Kirk´s one) another one with right spelling (Kirk´s property too) and 5 more neck thru for the Japanese market, all of them with reverse moon and starts inlays. Then there are two neck thru with correct moon and inlays position (one is owned by Kirk and another was for ESP boss at the time), 12 bolt on with skull and crossbones inlays like the regular KH-2 and 51 bolt-on Ouijas with the moon and stars inlays, just like mine.
Resuming the “story” of this guitar is a mythical ESP guitar totally associated with Metallica and Kirk Hammett, very exclusive and hard to find and way pricey. I´ve been lucky enough to own 3 of them and, after selling and have none, I recently got this one and keep it as a treasure. Is in an EXCELLENT condition, and is one of the first ever Ouijas made as Alex states in his web (mine is 21107, just one bolt on moon and star inlays Ouija ever known
The guitar is basically a regular KH-2, but with best Woods and best finish, they were made in the ESP Custom Shop when they produced really fine high quality guitars, similar quality as what today we know as “Limited Edition”.
Bolt On construction, same type of Wood, hardware, but different electronics (2x 81 EMG´s in the Ouija) than a KH-2, but you can state that these guitars are really over any regular KH-2 in quality / finish /sound / playability. And of course, because its exclusive design.
– Alder body, Bolt On construction
– Maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, thin U, 24 Extra Jumbo frets.
– Moon and Stars inlays and OUIJA graphic in the body
– 2 EMG 81 pickups, 2 volume knobs, 1 tone knob
– Original Floyd Rose bridge
The guitar sound simply AWESOME, different from a KH-2 RELIC and any KH-2 I´ve played. I like the neck thru construction in the RELIC or the 2009 re-edition, but the sound of the original is special to me, little bit different, punchy-brighter, 100% METALLICA sound. Even being a bolt on is very easy to play and adjust, you can tell the ESP Custom Shop did a good job on these ones
First Ouija I had was bough just a week after I bought my first RELIC, found it by casualty, and as the odds of finding one is very rare, I really had to buy it even risking my marriage because of the famous “OH, NO, NOT ANOTHER GUITAR!!!” problem.
Got it in Norway, was on eBay. Seller was a Norwegian with 0 feedback as seller/buyer on eBay, wanted just wire transfer payment and looked like a scam, really, so no one bided on it because of the risk involved.I did a little research, asked for pics of the guitar with my name on a paper so I could be sure that the seller really had the guitar and was not bluffing and tried to minimize the risks.
The seller ended up being a really nice guy, we talked for several days and ended up buying the guitar. Wasn´t cheap but it wasn´t expensive due to the price of these guitars, and the condition of this one.
A year after that, I saw another OUIJA for sale. Was TOTALLY MINT, never played, plastics still on it and was also signed by Kirk Hammett himself. Saw it in the States, the seller was a girl who won it in a radio contest and, before it went skyrocket high price, I closed a deal. That´s how I managed myself to have 2 Ouijas at the same time. Thought about keeping first for playing and the second one as a collector pristine condition item, and that´s what I did, but after a while I realized that was nuts owning two so expensive exactly the same guitars, so, sold the first one in just a couple of hours of the sale add posted to a big fan of METALLICA who played in a well known Metallica Tribute band here in Spain, a really nice guy who plays the hell out of it.
So, I kept the 100% MINT Ouija signed by Kirk, but after some time of not playing it scared of ruining it, and because another expensive guitar crossed in my way, as far as I already owned a RELIC (also had two and sold one!), I decided to sell the Ouija.
Just lasted some hours for sale, in spite of the price, a really nice guy contacted and told me he was inmediately buying it. Guitar wasn´t cheap, but you can´t see a 100% MINT and signed Ouija everyday, so, I really think I could have sold it for more, but I´m happy because the guy who bought it was also a really nice guy, we even still talk time to time.
As a guitar collector mainly focused in 80´s and 90´s hard rock guitars, and being a big fan of METALLICA myself, I would have to have kept that guitar in my collection. An OUIJA is a MUST HAVE guitar for me.
The next day I sold my last Ouija, I began to look for another one, and I´ve spent years without seeing one for sale, or at least one in good condition / fair price.
Spent years surfing the net daily, eBay, guitar forums, ESP forums, Metallica forums… but nothing , I couldn´t find a 90´s Ouija. Finally, a good friend of mine who bought a 2009 re-edition White Ouija, call me and told me that he was selling most part of his collection, and, along with some other guitars (spent A LOT OF MONEY that day, hope my wife doesn´t read this) I got the White 2009 Ouija re-edition. It´s an amazing guitar, totally cool, but I don´t want to extend about it here, I will do in its own review, but…I still had that feeling inside me that wanted a true black 90´s Ouija just like the one´s I had, maybe it was just the recall of finding one, or the need of having “the true one”, but I never left the search of a black 90´s Ouija.
I´ve told this a lot of times but I will do again: One of the most amazing parts of collecting guitars is the people you meet with the same love for guitars and music, usually nice, warm people you are lucky enough to finally end up as friends, sometimes even very close friends.
One of this close friends of mine, with whom I share a lot of hobbies including electric guitars, had moved to Denmark because of its job, and he knew I was after an original Ouija, and just out of casualty a guy who was going to the same gym happened to have one for sale, price was not too high and my friend had the opportunity of inspecting it personally and send it to me, so I gave it a shot. The guitar looked good, so I told him to buy and send to me in Spain.
Then, when the deal was almost closed, I asked my friend for the Ouija serial number in the headstock, and my friend told me that it had none. The Ouija didn´t have any serial number in the back of the headstock and, after close inspection, it seemed like if it was erased somehow. It had the neck joint plate serial, but the headstock serial was erased, so I told him to stop the negotiation until have some more information about that point.
The serial number is what identifies the guitar, and it HAD to be there, it didn´t, the guitar could be a fake, or even worst, a stolen one.
After talking again with the owner (I must say he is a nice guy too, and now a new friend), he told us that the serial number had been erased by the last owner he bought the guitar to, but he didn´t know why he did, he had noticed that when I bought the Ouija, so he took the guitar to an authorized ESP dealer in Denmark which stated that the guitar was 100% legit, so he kept it. He is not a collector or very into ESP guitars, so he didn´t give importance to the fact of the erased serial number. He also didn´t have the Certificate Of Authenticity (COA), but is true that a lot of Ouijas came without it, so that wasn´t really an issue.
I did a lot of research about that concrete guitar for days, through my net of contacts, ESP collectors, dealers, etc. I personally contacted to ESP and, sending them some close pics, the neck joint plate serial, etc, I was officially told by ESP that it was an authentic, 100% original ESP Ouija.
That really calm my nerves, the guitar was original, so , I did a lot of research in forums, shops, particular collectors, etc and stated that the guitar was not stolen, no Ouija had been reported as stolen, so, the guitar seemed “clean” and 100% original. Couldn’t find the original owner (the actual owner had no records of him), so, I decided to give the OK to the deal.
After all, I had the verification of its authenticity through ESP and knew 100% that the guitar had no issues.
My friend bought the guitar for me and sent it to me in Spain. After some days, the guitar was delivered, and I was SO NERVOUS…I carefully inspected every detail of the guitar, took the neck apart to search the neck pocket, which matched my information and my Ouija database, as well as the ESP verification, inspected the condition of the inlays, the Ouija graphic and everything was just OK, it was for sure an authentic Ouija in very very good condition, apart from the erased serial number.
Now, I was really curious about the story of this concrete guitar, who was the original owner, why the serial had been erased, etc.
I did some research for months in the ESP forums, the most known guitar forums worldwide as well as some Metallica forums, until I found out a guy who claimed to be the original owner, he identified the guitar because of the erased serial number. I spoke with him and he told me that the guitar was owned by him a lot of years ago, he already bought it with the erased serial number to the original owner who bought it from the shop.
The original owner was a friend of his, and the guitar was stolen from his friend´s car, and then, a couple of days after, the thief tried to sell it to a pawn shop. Apparently, the thief erased the serial number so the guitar couldn´t be identified, the owner of the pawn shop called to a couple of well know guitar stores in the area which already had the report of that guitar being stolen a couple of days before, so, he called the police and retained the guitar (the thief run away as he noticed that something was going wrong), the guitar was picked up by the police and returned to its original owner. And that´s the story of how the guitar number was erased
But, the big surprise came when that guy who told me the story of the erased serial number, also told me that he had the original COA that came with the OUIJA. He couldn´t find it when he sold the Ouija, and, when some years ago he found it, he framed it for display as a curiosity. He was kind enough to sell it to me for a reasonable price, and I finally was lucky enough to, not just find the story of my Ouija, but even get the original COA that the guitar originally came with.
The COA matched the info I had of the neck joint plate serial number and the neck pocket / neck info, and I finally found out the original serial number of this OUIJA, KH-21107, second bolt on Ouija ever made (or at least known!).
I also matched the info with several ESP collectors, and one of them, Alex (the owner of the guitarscollector web) identified and registered my OUIJA in his web and OUIJA database after sending him some pics. As I said, Alex has a GREAT web about Metallica guitars, with lot of work and hours of research on it, his Ouija database is really good, and it provides a lot of info about this model: http://www.guitarscollector.com/1993—1999—esp-kh-2-ouija–limited-edition-.html
And that´s how I unveiled the mystery of this Ouija, and I got one of the coolest Ouijas ever made for my personal collection. First Ouijas are more desirables, as where the first ones made in the Custom Shop and are being said to be made with better Woods and sent to big dealers as a representation of the craftsmanship of the ESP Custom Shop.
The guitar is in very good condition, not 100% mint as the one I had but I´d say 95% (apart from the erased serial number, of course). What I can state is that this concrete Ouija is totally badass!!! Sounds totally killer, I can remember my other Ouijas, and even have recordings of them, and this one has more “power”, more sustain, I´d say. About playability, is as good as the other two I had, but the rosewood in the fretboard is way more beautiful, with more grain, and as I say, the sound of this guitar, is somehow better than the other two I had.
Is another of my jewels in my guitar collection, because of its exclusivity and the feelings that awake among the ESP collectors and the Metallica fans, and mainly because what this guitar means to me and all the efforts I´ve made to get it, and all the research I had to do. And is a REAL PLEASURE to own this guitar along with the white 2009 re edition.
Owning both, displayed together in my wall, is just AWESOME, people totally freak out when they see the same guitar in black and white, and the ESP / Metallica collectors get totally amazed. I enjoy this guitars just looking at them.
The esthetic of these guitars is just outstanding, totally a Custom Shop work of art, you can feel it just looking at them or picking them up and strumming a chord. Is not a regular KH-2 with an Ouija graphic, that´s for sure.
You have to be careful when searching for one of these, there are a lot of fakes, regular KH´2 modified to look like an original Ouija, even with modified inlays, so is very hard and risky to get one of the originals without close inspection, trust in the seller, etc.A true Ouija worths a lot of money, so be careful if you see “cheap” Ouijas or an amazing deal to pop up… it could be a chinese replica, or a regular KH-2 with a fake neck and applied Ouija graphics.
People searches for the original Ouijas for years (believe me, I´ve done myself), and every year there are less that pop up, they get more expensive and, because of the effect of years and use, in worse condition. I can totally assure that this model will be one of the most sought after iconic guitars in several years. It already is, but will increase its rarity within the years, along with the price and the mysticism.