Like many other companies, ESP only build mass produced guitars and basses, but custom shop instruments as well.
ESP brand and Navigator brand in the Japanese market. Ronnie Wood became aware of ESP instruments and began using them. By the 1980’s ESP replacement parts were introduced in the USA.
|ESP 400 Series 1984|
By 1984 ESP began building custom guitars for well known artists including Vernon Reid, Vinnie Vincent and Bruce Kulick. Around this same era ESP introduced the 400 Series to US markets.
They also began making bodies and necks for Kramer Guitars, Robin Guitars, Schechter Guitar Research and DiMarzio.
By 1985 guitarist George Lynch discovered ESP guitars while touring
The result of this encounter was his Kamikaze guitar, which became ESP’s first signature model. This was followed by several other models including the M1 Standard, MI Customer, Horizon Custom and Surveyor bass.
|ESP USA president, Matt Masciandaro|
In 1993 ESP moved their headquarters to
Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard. A few years
later the LTD series was created to produce high quality guitars and basses and
a consumer friendly price. ESP also introduced Korean and Indonesian made LTD
instruments. Due to high tariffs ESP quit selling much of its Japanese made
guitars in the United States.
This resumed in 2000 when trade regulations became more favorable.
|'96 ESP LTD|
|2005 ESP Paramount|
By 2005 ESP introduced their Xtone Line which included the
|ESP JH Truckster|
This was ESP’s 30th Anniversary and to celebrate they created the James Hetfield Truckster model in their signature line-up.
ESP hand builds its Custom Shop and Original Series models in
The Standard Series models are made in Japan at the company’s factory.
|ESP EX (extended range) LTD|
Numerous sites state Gibson sued ESP Guitars. I cannot find any source to corroborate that fact. However, ESP did make changes to the instruments.
James Hetfield is probably the most renowned user of the ESP EXP series, which he has been using since the late 80's. He further popularized the series with his legendary "EET FUK" EXP and his custom ESP JH-2, a black EXP with diamond plating.
Currently Musician’s Friend offers 155 different ESP models.