Japanese guitar maker ESP, short for Electric Sound Products, opened in 1975 as a small shop that made and sold replacement guitar parts. It only took a year for owner Hisatake Shibuya to decide that he wanted to start creating his own guitars, and by the 1980s, the company was selling high-quality handmade guitars to some of the highest-profile rock musicians in the United States.

Today, ESP is probably best known for its Signature series, which features beautiful guitars that were originally custom-made for popular rock and metal musicians but are also available to the public. The series got its start in 1986 when George Lynch of the American heavy metal band Dokken walked into an ESP shop in Tokyo. When Lynch discovered that the company made custom guitars, he decided to design his own.

Lynch’s guitar became the Kamikaze, a yellow, red, black, and beige beauty. Comprised of a maple body and neck with an ebony fingerboard, the Kamikaze features Gotoh tuners, a Floyd Rose Original bridge, and Seymour Duncan Screamin’ Demon and ESP SS-120 pickups. Lynch Signature guitars grew to include other models, such as the M-1 Tiger, the Sunburst Tiger, Skulls & Snakes, the GL-200MT, the GL-256, and the GL-56.

Although Lynch’s guitar was the first, the guitars created for Kirk Hammett of Metallica are considered the crème-de-la-crème of ESP’s Signature series. Hammett’s KH-2 model, featuring EMG active pickups, Gotoh tuners, and a Floyd Rose Original bridge, was one of the first ESP guitars to be mass-produced.

Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom has five Signature guitars that bear his name. All feature a Flying V body style. His Alexi-Scythe features Gotoh tuners, a Floyd Rose Original bridge, and EMG HZ F-H2 pickups with a MM-04 on-off boost switch. Laiho’s Alexi-600-Blacky and Alexi-600-Scythe models feature Grover tuners, a Floyd Rose 1000 Series bridge, and EMG HZ F-H2 pickups. And his Alexi-200 features ESP tuners, a Floyd Rose Special bridge, and ESP LH-301 pickups.

Even the Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood has his own custom ESP Signatures, which strongly resemble the Fender Telecaster. Each is made with an alder body and a bolt-on neck and features Gotoh tuners. Finishes range from sunburst with a maple neck to black or red with a rosewood fingerboard.

In addition to its Signature and custom-made guitars, ESP also produces Standard, LTD, and Xtone guitars. Unlike the Signature series, LTDs are mass-produced in a factory and therefore more affordable. ESP’s LTD guitars are offered in three lines—standard, deluxe, and graphic. Guitars in the Xtone series have semi-hollow bodies and two humbucker pickups, except for the PA-1 semi-acoustic model, which uses an internal B-Band Electret Film Transducer pick-up.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vintage Guitars Info

Vintage Guitars Info

This great reference site features detailed sections for vintage guitar makers including Gibson, Fender, Martin, Gr… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Want to see all the old brochures and ads for your favorite vintage axe? Check out this great site, which showcases… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

New Suhr Modern Montego Black Metallic W/binding Aldrich Paf Fender Esp Prs Esp Edwards Edwards E-lp-98 Lts Les Paul Mij Japan Gigbag Case Seymour Duncan2004 Esp Eclipse Ctm1 Pre-lawsuit Full Horn/4 Knob Amber Cherry Burst 24v ModVery Rare George Lynch Signature Esp Kamikaze Ii (2) Guitar - Blue/red/whiteMint Esp Ltd Ec-401fm Black Cherry Sunburst With Esp Hardcase Solid Emg 6 StringEsp Ltd Ec-1000 DeluxePre-owned/used Esp Ltd F-250 Black Agathis Body 6 String Guitar IndonesiaEsp V-307 Electric Guitar Seven String Ultra V Emg Pickups Matte Black Shredder Esp Signature James Hetfield Truckster Ltd Metallica GuitarEsp Ltd Deluxe Ec-1000 Asb Flamed Maple With Case, Free ShippingRare Esp Ltd 7-string M-207 Gunmetal Gray Electric Guitar; Right-handedEsp Standard Eclipse-ii Electric GuitarEsp Ltd Ec -1000 Electric GuitarEsp Ltd Distressed Electric Guitar Series Te-202 Rose-wood 3tb Finish ^ Esp Ltd M10kit-car Electric Guitar With 10 Feet Cable, StrapEsp Ltd Eclipse Ec-1000 Deluxe Black Cherry Maple Quilt Top W/ Coffin CaseEsp Ltd Viper 301 Guitar Made In KoreaEsp Ltd Ec-1000 Guitar Emg Pickups Glossy BlackRonnie Wood Esp TelecasterEsp Telecaster Humbucking Pickup, Neck PositionEsp Ltd Deluxe Ec-1000 Black 6 String Electic Guitar With Kases Hard CaseEsp Ltd Ec-256 Lemon Drop Left Handed Electric Guitar B-stock 2426Esp Ltd Ec-256 Lemon Drop Left Handed Electric Guitar B-stock 2426Esp The Hybrid And CaseEsp Ltd Guitar And Coffin Case Zach Householder Zh-7 Stblks Zh7 White Chapel Esp Ltd Ec-256 Lemon Drop Left Handed Electric Guitar B-stock 2426Esp Ltd St-213 Hss Maple Black 2013 Electric Guitar *brand New*saleEsp Ltd Viper 400 Electric BassEsp Telecaster Bridge PickupEsp Ltd Ec-401vf See Thru Black Cherry Sample/prototype Electric GuitarEsp Ltd Ec-401vf See Thru Black Cherry Sample/prototype Electric GuitarEsp Ltd Ec-401vf See Thru Black Cherry Sample/prototype Electric GuitarEsp Ltd Ec-1000qm Stbc Deluxe Electric Guitar **includes Brand New Case**Esp Ltd Short Scale - 5 String Electric Bass Guitar With Bag Esp Ltd Mh-50 Black Sample/prototype Electric Guitar 2046aEsp Ltd F-50 Black Electric Guitar Sample/prototype Rare Bridge Pu Only ElectricEsp Ltd M-10 Kit Black Electric Guitar With Gig BagEsp Alexi-600-blacky Electric GuitarG&b Esp Pickup SetEsp James Hetfield Black Truckster Guitar Metallica Not An Ltd!!!Esp Custom M--ii Neck Through Gunmetal Blue With Hard Shell Case 2001 Esp Ltd Mc-00 Max Cavalera Lime Green Clean No Reserve !!!Esp Xtone Exotic Wood Cutaway Acoustic-electric GuitarEsp Ltd Alexi-600 Scythe White Electric Guitar. Alexi Laiho Signature Guitar!Esp Ltd Ec-10 Guitar Brand New With Gig Bag 6 String, Lec10bkNew Esp Ltd Xtone Pc-2 Silver Sparkle Semi Hollow Body W/ Case *no Reserve*Esp Ltd Hybrid-ii 2 Electric Guitar 2013 Model Factory 2ndEsp Japan Kirk Hammett Kh 1 Guitar Pick Up Esp Ltd M-10 Kit Black Electric Guitar With Gig Bag