What is so good about ESP guitars?

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8,318
They've had a few big "Metal" endorsements like George Lynch, the guys from Metallica, Kerry King from Slayer off and on (he keeps jumping back and forth with BC Rich).  A lot of what they offered was a Hot-Rodded Superstrat design, a Floyd Rose humbuckered Strat.  They had a few Gibson inspired designs like the Eclipse (LP) and the now discontinued Explorer.  They were a Japanese alternative to Fender or Gibson, like Ibanez.  It seemed their target demographic was the metal market, however Ron Wood had (still has) a signature Telecaster model.  I've never seen him play one though (see, James L, you can have your Warmoth and endorsement too).  It of course wasn't called a Telecaster.  More often than not, ESPs were EMG equipped.

15 years ago, the ESPs were high dollar and rarely seen.  LTD was their economy version, like comparing Gibson and Epiphone, or Fender and Squier.  No one would be caught dead on LTD, it was a low-rent ESP.  If an ESP had a set neck and active pickups, the LTD version would be bolt-on with passives.  In the last few years, the LTDs are more prevalent being more visible with the "famous" players.

There's nothing particularly special about them, not horrible either.  ESP has a custom shop.  In '97, I submitted an order for a bid.  It was an Alder bodied, Floyd Rosed, EMG 81 & 85 equipped Telecaster (when they still offered one), solid black with a white pickguard.  Think of a Jim Root signature Tele with a Floyd Rose.  They wanted $2,300.00!  Ouch!

 

DocNrock

Senior member
Messages
4,295
Back in the day, I wanted an ESP, but couldn't afford one.  Now, I prefer Jacksons, and of course Warmoths.

Super Turbo pretty much nailed it.
 

stormbringer

Senior member
Messages
286
I have an '87 The Phoenix (Firebird shaped) w/ EMG 89s. It's a bad ass guitar. Well built, plays, and sounds great. The only real drawback is it's heavy. Not sure I'd buy a newer ESP, maybe one actually made in Japan, but certainly none that come to the USA...
 

shanejw

Senior member
Messages
698
I've had a couple of LTD guitars and I thought they were a pretty good deal for the $$.  I always ended up favoring import jacksons just because of the more color choices that they offer.  Seems like the only colors they really offered were black and red.  I see that they have been expanding on that as of late.  I would recommend them to someone on a budget.  The neck through construction was pretty comfortable to play also.
 
C

Creepies

Guest
A friend of mine has had two Les Paul style ESP guitars (EC 1000 and EC 400) for about 4-5 years and to this day I can't stand them. It's not that they're BAD guitars, they're just so completely and startlingly average. Looks, sound, playability, all as average as you can get.
 

po_0784

Active member
Messages
88
Ibanez & ESP are great guitars for the price, especially the lower-end models. Recently, ESP equipped their LTD guitars with good pickups, and some nice cosmetics, etc. Under a 1k in budget, I would go anyday for a Iba/Esp instead of a Fender/Gibson.

We may accuse ESP and Ibanez of using endorsees to sell guitars. But come on ppl. Gibson and fender are even worse. They dont need to do this kind of marketing anymore, because its just the "hype" to buy a fender or a gibson. The hardcore "vintage police" do the job free of charge. Nobody is willing to buy a vintage rusty ibanez neck screw for 500$, but this is just the everyday psychologically challenged act of a die-hard fender customer  :icon_thumright:.
 

LeeSkelly

Active member
Messages
38
From a different viewpoint: there was a time when active guitar pickups were something of a novelty. Some people saw it as a fad some jumped on board and some didn't notice for a decade.  ESP was perceived by some people as being more forward-thinking as far as electronics were concerned and quickly gained a reputation as innovative builders of metal/shred/high-gain guitars. They were affordable at first and there was the whole "which speed camp are you in? Ibanez, Charvel, Jackson, etc" Which suddenly made people very aware of the branding on a headstock. Not to mention the 80s mentality of painting your guitar with a portrait of Bela Lugosi, Snakesn'Skulls, or a large-chested blond in front of a waving American flag ( all of which ESP would gladly do). George Lynch, Jeff Hanneman, two guys from Metallica, some others, have sworn by 'em for awhile.  That being said, I've never much cared for their product one bit. Just blah not exciting or extraordinary in anyway. The neck s are too thin, quality wasn't great, electronics not exclusive by any means. Anything that you can point to in an ESP as a selling point, someone else can do better. Maybe ESP has some advantage I don't know about?  They are just not for me.
 
C

Creepies

Guest
po_0784 said:
Ibanez & ESP are great guitars for the price, especially the lower-end models. Recently, ESP equipped their LTD guitars with good pickups, and some nice cosmetics, etc. Under a 1k in budget, I would go anyday for a Iba/Esp instead of a Fender/Gibson.

We may accuse ESP and Ibanez of using endorsees to sell guitars. But come on ppl. Gibson and fender are even worse. They dont need to do this kind of marketing anymore, because its just the "hype" to buy a fender or a gibson. The hardcore "vintage police" do the job free of charge. Nobody is willing to buy a vintage rusty ibanez neck screw for 500$, but this is just the everyday psychologically challenged act of a die-hard fender customer  :icon_thumright:.

Gotta agree with that. Even though I don't like a $500 ESP, a $500 Fender is usually gonna feel a heap cheaper.
 
Messages
8,318
Gibson and Fender, with their authorized dealers, are making it to where only a big box chain store can afford to carry them.  In many cases, the store is required to carry their entire line, and pay for 50% of the cost up front.
 
C

Creepies

Guest
Super Turbo Deluxe Custom said:
Gibson and Fender, with their authorized dealers, are making it to where only a big box chain store can afford to carry them.  In many cases, the store is required to carry their entire line, and pay for 50% of the cost up front.

BOOO!!
 

T.L.

Senior member
Messages
332
ESP is a bunch of hype. I have an ESP M-II standard, and although it's a decent guitar, it wasn't worth the $1200 I paid for it. There are guitars that cost half as much that are of better quality and playability. I just like the way the ESP looks. Jackson makes better quality guitars than ESP...
 

Xochitl

New member
Messages
24
I have an Horizon NTII. It's really a good guitar. And I have or had American Fender, G&L or GIbson to compare to. I don't understand why some are trashing ESP so hard here. I don't mean this is the best manufacturer out there, and I don't like either many of their designs, but it certainly is among the top "industrial" makers. It looks like you need to prove yourself(ves) by overreacting to the big exposure and excessive hype they are having.
BTW, Jackson had its part of fad during the 90's, and it made dream (still makes actually), but they are infamous now by having neck alignment and bridge problems. See, every manufacturer has its pros and cons
 

JamesL

Senior member
Messages
1,019
I have one... By force, not choice...
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Though I have no complaints at all about it.. Minus the actives...


I love the way it plays,sounds, feels..
It's super light and is easy to play.
 
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