ESP Guitars

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About ESP Guitars

ESP guitars have been one of the top choices for hard rock and metal electric guitars for decades now. With several high profile performers choosing to play ESP, their visibility as a brand is very strong. Thankfully, this is backed up by a famously high level of quality, sound and playability. Beginning in Tokyo, Japan, ESP as a company have headquarters in Tokyo and Los Angeles and supply ranges of guitars for both Eastern and Western markets that vary quite wildly in shape and design. Lots of ESP guitar designs are altered and updated take on classics designs, re-appropriated for new generations of guitarists looking for their own new breed of instrument.

The ESP umbrella has a few brands underneath it: ESP Itself, ESP USA, E-II and LTD. ESP guitars are the highest quality production instruments made in Japan. ESP USA is a semi-custom shop located in Hollywood, CA that offers limited options outside of going to a fully-blown custom order. E-II is a newer range of Japanese instruments that bridges the gap between LTD and ESP. LTD is the most affordable and often-seen range of guitars & basses, made in South Korea and Indonesia, depending on the model.

In terms of models, each sub brand uses the same signature shapes like the Horizon, the Viper, the Eclipse and so on. Specifications are tailored more to the harder rock/metal side of things with high output pickups and locking tremolos. This makes a lot of sense since the most visible players of ESP guitars include Metallica, Rammstein, Mastodon, Korn, Slayer and the Deftones. This level of endorsement has been instrumental in solidifying the brand's reputation.

At guitarguitar, we cater to a large audience of tehcnical, metal and cutting edge guitarsists. Naturally, that means we keep a large and comprehensive range of ESP and LTD guitars in stock throughout all of our UK stores. We are one of the UK's largest authorised ESP dealers and so have a fantastic understanding of this wonderful brand. Have a good look at our selection online or visit us in person to test drive your next ESP guitar.

Frequently Asked Questions about ESP Guitars

The most popular ESP guitar shape is the Eclipse, which is a modern take on the classic singlecut set neck guitar design.
Guitars carrying the ESP name on the front of the headstock are made in Japan with some limited edition and custom guitars coming from the USA. E-II guitars are also made in Japan. LTD guitars are made, for the main part, in South Korea, though some of the entry level guitars are produced in Indonesia.
ESP does not, in fact, stand for Extra Sensory Perception but the rather more sensible, if prosaic, Electronic Sound Products.
Not really. ESP guitars are a range of high quality Japanese-made Rock guitars. LTD guitars are a range of licensed ESP designs made in South Korea and occasionally Indonesia. LTD guitars are made to fit specific budgets and price points, whereas this is less of a concern with ESP guitars. Both Brands are 'ESP': the LTD range spans many different areas of the market from beginner to pro whilst ESP guitars are high end only. Visually, lots of the models may appear to look similar but underneath the hood, they can differ quite significantly.
Well, James has been known to play a great many ESP guitars so it does depend on which permutation or 'era' of Metallica you're referring to, In the days of the Black Album and so on, he played an Explorer model that strayed a little too closely to the Gibson model for comfort and so ESP were obliged to change the outline somewhat. Today, you'll find the 'EX' shape to be a close fit to what Hetfield likes. One of his most famous guitars of the last decade or so is the 'Iron Cross', which is an Eclipse model with some military style regalia as it's graphic finish. There have been a few variations of this and you can currently buy an ESP and an LTD version of this in White. Nowadays, ESP and Hetlifeld have created two further signature guitars: the Snakebyte, an update on his cherished Explorer design, and the Vulture, a similarly styled interpretation of the FLying V. These are all available from guitarguitar.