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    

Esp M-2 M-ii Deluxe Guitar In Beautiful Shape!Esp Ltd Deluxe Ec-1000 - Made In Korea Esp Ltd Deluxe Ec-1000 Electric Guitar Amber SunburstEsp Ltd Deluxe Ec-1000 Guitar Amber Sunburst W/ Hardshell CaseEsp Ltd M-1000 Guitar White With Mods And Upgrades Seymour DuncanEsp Ltd Dv 200 Dave Mustaine Black Flying V 6 String Electric Guitar New NibEsp Ltd Deluxe Ec-1000 Electric GuitarEsp Ltd Ec-1000 Vb Electric Guitar W/ Emg Pickups Vintage Black - NibEsp Ltd Kirk Hammett White Zombie Guitar Low Serial Number Metallica Signature1998 Esp H-302 Horizon Electric Guitar Neck Thru Design W Hs Case Sweet PlayerEsp Ltd Ec-1000vb "vintage Black" Guitar W/hscEsp Ltd Ex-400bd Guitar Black Diamond Plate Emg Ex400bgLtd Esp 4-string Bass Guitar B-154 - RedEsp Ltd B-206 Sm Natural Satin 6-saiter Aktiv BassEsp Ltd Standard Mh103qm Electric GuitarEsp Bass Guitar Body 1980s Japan MijEsp Standard Eclipse-ii Electric GuitarEsp Ltd H-208 Black 8 String Electric Guitar H Series Basswood Body H208 H 208 Esp Mh-100 Electric Guitar/ Floyd Rose /nice Project/ Ready To Finish/nrEsp ( Ltd) Les PaulNew Esp Custom Shop HorizonEsp Horizon Custom GuitarEsp Ltd Jh-600Fender Make History Guitar Picks Usa Music Shop Display Embossed Metal Sign Esp Ltd 6 String Sc -500 Electric Guitar Made In KoreaEsp Shredder Guitar 1987? Esp Parts Guitar Duncan Pickups Floyd Rose Tremolo NrEsp Ltd Ex307 7 String Guitar Blackouts Hipshot Tonepros Low Reserve Djent MetalEsp Stef B8 8 String Guitar Deftones Stephen Carpenter Signature Model W/caseEsp Ltd Ec-401vf Fcsb Standard Eclipse Package Aaa Maple Top W/esp Dlx Hard CaseEsp Ltd Kh 202 Guitar,kirk Hammett Model,korea,emgs,floyd Rose,clean,no ReserveEsp Ltd Ex-250 Mahogany Body Duncan Designed Pups Electric Guitar Explorer StyleFender Custom Shop Guitar Embossed Metal Sign Shop Display ArtEsp Guitar H1001 W EmgsEsp M100fm Guitar Body Electric Guitar Bass Stickers Martin Mxr Dean Taylor Esp Morley Randall CordobaEsp Ronnie Wood Signature Model Guitar, Blue, Fire Damaged, Selling "as Is" Ltd Esp Aquamarine Guitar H-250 Set-neck Duncan Designed Pickups - HscEsp Edwards Jf-x Mana Signature GuitarLtd Made By Esp - F-50 Electric Guitar. Comes With Padded Guitar Case.Esp Ltd B-334 4-string Bass Guitar Red Stain Finish Road Runner Gig Bag 13-11Esp Electric Guitar And Bass Black Bk Leather Strap Model Ml25blood Esp Ltd Ex-50 Electric Guitar With Esp Fitted Hard Shell CaseEsp Ltd Viper 50 Electric Guitar Black Cherry With Gig Bag **great Condition**Esp Ltd Mg-750 Transparent Black Guitar Body Floyd Ready Esp Electric Guitar And Bass Large Over Sized Novelty Pearloid Finish Pick GiftEsp Ltd H-200Ltd By Esp V-100 V Guitar Made In KoreaEsp Ltd M Series M-15 Electric Guitar - WhiteEsp Electric Guitar And Bass Baseball Cap Hat Black Trucker StyleEsp - Ltd M-200fm Body And Attached Neck Only. Plastic Cover Plates Included.Esp Ltd Standard F-50 Electric GuitarNos Tone Capacitor Solar .025 Uf 50v For Fender Gibson Prs Epiphone Esp EtcEsp Guitars & Basses - Large 3' X 2' Banner - Nice