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 far as the guitar was picked up from home, I knew I had fucked it up.
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.
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.
A great investment for sure, a great guitar to play and admire, and a real pleasure and pride to have in my collection.