ESP vs LTD Guitars: What's the difference?

A pair of ESP guitars next to a pair of LTD guitars
(Image credit: Future)

Amongst some of the biggest names in the world of electric guitars, particularly within rock and metal, are ESP and LTD. You’ll often see these two brands’ names together as the latter is owned by the former. They often have the same or similar body shapes, and will share many of the same features, so what are the differences between ESP and LTD?

LTD essentially produces more affordable versions of ESP guitars and basses – they range from relatively cheap starter instruments to more expensive, reliable workhorse guitars for working musicians. ESPs are very premium instruments and so they usually carry a hefty price tag. The idea behind LTD was to make these amazing, cutting-edge instruments more accessible to a wider audience.

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Richard Blenkinsop

After spending a decade in music retail, I’m now a freelance writer for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player and Reverb, specialising in electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and almost anything else you can make a tune with. When my head’s not buried in the best of modern and vintage gear, I run a small company helping musicians with songwriting, production and performance, and I play bass in an alt-rock band.