ESP Guitars (NAMM Booth #208A/B) has always had one of the most impressive artist endorsement rosters in the entire industry, so it’s no surprise that the company has continued expanding its Signature Series guitars and bass offerings for 2016.
“Our ESP artists are extremely important to us,” says Chris Cannella, ESP’s Director of Artist Relations. “The number one reason that people get into various styles of guitars and basses is that their biggest musical heroes and influences play them. This year’s new models and new artist additions to the Signature Series are among the best we’ve ever had.”
The newest member of the ESP artist family is the legendary Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, and he has a Signature Series model being introduced for 2016. The LTD GT-600 is based on the ESP Viper shape, and includes 24 frets, two custom EMG Glenn Tipton 81 active pickups, a chrome pickguard and truss cover, and a Kahler tremolo.
Other new Signature Series artists include Alan Ashby (Of Mice & Men), who has customized a TE Series guitar for the LTD AA-600. Mille Petrozza (Kreator) has put together a daring V-shaped model with Fishman Fluence pickups, a Floyd Rose, and glow-in-the-dark side dots with the E-II MK-1 and the LTD MK-600.
Marco Mendoza (Dead Daisies) joins ESP’s lineup of Signature Series bass artists with the LTD MM-4 FM, styled on the ESP Vintage-4 and including EMG X-Series pickups and a Hipshot drop tuner. Another longtime ESP player, Ted Aguilar (Death Angel), designed the LTD TED-600 which is based on the Eclipse shape and stands out with a Snow White finish and white components/hardware.
Two of ESP’s most iconic players, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica, also have new Signature Series models in the final stages of development, with details forthcoming. The new James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett guitar models are scheduled for release in early 2016.
More of ESP’s current lineup of Signature Series guitars and basses also received new models and updates. George Lynch is an iconic player who has been attached to ESP for over two decades, and two new models are being debuted: the GL-200 Sunburst Tiger is being offered in the LTD Series for the first time, and the spectacular new LTD Burnt Tiger guitar offers a carved body with a tiger design and a burned-in logo.
Alex Skolnick (Testament), who joined the ESP family in 2013, has updated his signature models with the ESP Alex Skolnick FR and the LTD AS-1FR FM. Both new models feature a flamed maple top in Black Aqua Sunburst finish and a Floyd Rose tremolo. Phenomenal player Andy James’s Signature Series has grown with the new E-II AJ-EC-7, which (as the name implies) is a seven- string guitar that makes use of the single-cutaway EC shape.
Alex Wade, Ben Savage, and Zach Householder of Whitechapel have also made significant updates to their respective models with the LTD AW-7B, LTD BS-7B QM, and LTD ZH-EC7B QM. All three are seven-string models at 26.5” baritone scale, and outstanding new finishes. It’s a similar story for Buz McGrath and Ken Susi of Unearth with the LTD BUZ-7QM and LTD KS-M7 ET, whose new seven-string guitars offer features like Fishman Fluence pickups and an EverTune bridge on Ken’s model, along with great new finishes and tonewoods.
One of ESP’s most highly-respected players, Stephen Carpenter of Deftones, has updated the seven- string LTD SC-607B and the eight-string LTD SC-608B to also include Fishman Fluence pickups. One of the most original and outrageous new Signature Series models comes courtesy of ESP player Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Killer Be Killed) with the LTD MAX-200 RPR which sports an entirely new bevel-edged body shape.
Michael “Whip” Wilton of Queensrÿche has helped create the MW-TRIRYCHE, a guitar with graphics and inlays that help commemorate the 25th anniversary of his band’s classic album Empire. Not to be left out, the frontman and bassist of one of metal’s “Big 4”, Tom Araya of Slayer, has completely updated his signature basses to become even more menacing with the ESP Tom Araya FRX, the LTD TA-604 FRX, and LTD TA-204 FRX. Last but certainly not least, Will Adler (Lamb of God) has a new version of his ESP Will Adler Warbird and LTD WA-WARBIRD with Fishman Fluence pickups.
Detailed information on the entire line of ESP, ESP-E-II, and LTD Signature Series guitars and basses is available at the ESP Guitars web site at espguitars.com.