Are ESP Guitars Worth the Price? A Complete Review

Closeup of a man playing an electric guitar

ESP guitars are an excellent choice for beginners and experienced players alike. These guitars are made from high-quality materials and have various features.

The company is known for its high-quality products and has been endorsed by some of the most famous guitarists in the world. 

ESP makes some of the most popular electric guitars on the market today. Their catalog includes everything from affordable beginner models to high-end professional instruments.

Some of the most notable artists who have played ESP guitars include Randy Rhoads, James Hetfield (Metallica), Kerry King (Slayer), Jeff Hanneman (Slayer), KK Downing (Judas Priest), John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and many more.

ESP guitars are an excellent choice for beginners and experienced players alike. These guitars are made from high-quality materials and have various features. 

One thing that makes ESP guitars such a great choice is their price point. You can find them for less than $1000, making them perfect for those on a budget. What are ESP guitars, and where can you buy them? This article will help you understand this fantastic guitar. What are the advantages of an ESP guitar? Read on to learn all you need to know!

What Are ESP Guitars?

ESP Guitars was founded in 1975 by Hisatake Shibuya, who was an accomplished artist in his own right. He’s considered to be one of the most influential guitarists in Japan. 

He wanted to create a line of instruments that would rival those made by American manufacturers like Fender and Gibson. His vision was to create a guitar line incorporating elements from different models into one device.

For example, one of his first designs included Fender Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls elements. The result was a hybrid design that has become iconic for ESP guitars.

ESP guitars are renowned for their rich, warm sound and extravagant looks. However, they also have a distinctive look and can be a stylish addition to any collection. Their guitar ranges range from streamlined single cutaways to custom-designed offset models. Moreover, ESP guitars are typically more expensive than their LTD counterparts. That’s because ESP uses high-end woods and artisans to build their instruments.

The M Series includes many ESP guitars with Alder bodies and Maple necks and adhere to the S-type tonewood formula, which yields focused mid-range tones that cut through even the most hectic rock mix. ESP guitars come in either a bolt-on or neck-through configuration, with a neck-through design ensuring enhanced sustain. The bolt-on version features more top-end snap.

ESP guitars are known for their superior quality and craftsmanship. Unfortunately, these guitars are typically expensive. ESP started as a repair shop in Tokyo, Japan, and has since expanded its production base to the United States. 

Although their custom-made guitars are often quite expensive, they are still made by highly skilled luthiers and are known for their excellent craftsmanship. ESP also manufactures guitars in California for their USA series. You can choose between the ESP 2020 and the LTD series. ESP guitars are also available in lower-cost options.

The Top 6 ESP Guitars

ESP guitars have long embraced the maxim that more is better when introducing new models. The latest phase one mega-launch introduced 43 new models and comprehensive updates across the ESP and LTD range. In addition, the Metallica frontman created a new signature guitar in the band’s signature camo print, the Snakebyte Camo. The guitar features Hetfield’s signature EMG JH SET active humbuckers and a TonePros locking TOM bridge.

ESP makes several hardware parts, including bass bridges, ESP Flicker tremolo, and ESP Labs pickups. Most ESP hardware parts are only sold to guitar manufacturers and are not available to the public. ESP has several lines and has a range of models for every player. The content is split into two main categories: USA and Japan. USA-style guitars are more expensive than their Japanese counterparts.

1. ESP LTD Deluxe EC 100

The ESP LTD Deluxe EC 100 is a famous guitar that combines a traditional acoustic guitar design with modern innovations. This instrument features an all-black body, a maple neck, and a multi-hued iridescent finish. 

It also features a tone pros locking bridge and a pair of ​​EMG-81/60 pickups, except on some models, there are Seymour Duncan passive pickups.

It features a volume and tone control knob and a coil-splitting switch.

If you are new to ESP guitars, this instrument will give you a great start. The ESP LTD offers a high-quality instrument that can meet the needs of all players, from beginners to intermediates to experienced players. 

This guitar is highly versatile and can do fast leads, thick rhythms, and great cleans. Its sonic qualities are outstanding, and you’ll be amazed at how easily you can bend and dig the frets on this instrument.

If you’re looking for a quality electric guitar with great tone and design, look no further than the ESP LTD EC-1000T. This guitar is packed with significant parts and is an excellent choice for all playing styles. In addition, its mahogany body, EMG pickups, and comfortable fretboard provide a rich, full sound that translates across genres.

Even after all these years, the ESP LTD EC-1000 remains one of the top choices for guitarists.

ESP LTD Deluxe EC 100
Photo source:

2. ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte

The ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte electric guitar features a set neck design and locking tuners. As a result, this instrument has all the bells and whistles of a classical ESP guitar. 

The Snakebyte also features a high-quality ebony fingerboard with Snakebyte inlay on the 12th fret. In addition, the Snakebyte guitar is available in a range of attractive colors, including black.

The ESP LTD Snakebyte is the signature guitar of metal great James Hetfield, renowned for his unique pickup configurations and signature sound. 

The Snakebyte boasts high-end hardware and high-quality components, including James Hetfield’s signature EMG pickups. The Snakebyte combines classic rock tones with the versatility of active pickups. Its aggressive design and tone make it a must-have for any metal enthusiast.

The ESP LTD Snakebyte has a neck that features locking tuners, improving tuning stability and making string changing easier. 

The ESP LTD Snakebyte meets all beginner-friendliness criteria, including the type of frets, scale length, nut width, and bridge style. In addition, it has 22 jumbo-style frets and an XL-Jumbo-style pickup. 

These guitars are ideal for playing jazz and similar genres, allowing you to play high-pitched notes. ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte guitar.

ESP LTD James Hetfield Snakebyte
Photo source:

3. ESP LTD Kirk Hammet Signature White Zombie

The ESP LTD KH-WZ White Zombie electric guitar is designed to honor the legendary guitarist’s penchant for classic horror films from the 1930s. 

The White Zombie’s alder body and bolt-on maple neck feature a thin U-profile. It is Floyd Rose them older, and EMG Kirk Hammett Bone Breaker pickups produce a crisp sound.

Kirk’s signature KH-WZ White Zombie features an alder body and maple neck with a Pau Ferro fingerboard. The guitar has 24 extra-jumbo frets, and the EMG active pickups create a unique tone signature to Metallica’s lead guitarist. 

The black hardware, tuners, and graphic hard case make this a unique guitar combo.

ESP LTD Kirk Hammet Signature White Zombie
Photo source:

4. ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Iron Cross

The ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Iron cross electric guitar is an exclusive, limited edition guitar with a maple-topped mahogany body and a robust mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard. 

The guitar is equipped with EMG JH signature active humbucker pickups. Other features include TonePros locking Tune-O-Matic style bridge and LTD locking tuners. James’s ’73 Gibson Iron Cross inspires the guitar’s design.

The ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Iron cross uses high-quality components and is built to last. For example, it features the TonePros T3BT Tune-O-Matic bridge, which can be locked into place by a bolt. These components contribute to even development of electric guitar sound. 

The locking mechanism of the ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Iron Cross guitar is designed to ensure high tuning stability and make string changing easier.

The ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Iron cross guitar is a personal custom model designed for guitarists by Metallica’s frontman James Hetfield. 

The guitar features a mahogany body with a maple cap, ebony fingerboard, and extra-jumbo frets. The guitar is fitted with James’ own EMG JH SET active pickups and TonePros locking bridge. 

The ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Iron Cross is available in a Snow White finish and black stripe graphic.

ESP LTD James Hetfield Signature Iron Cross
Photo source:

5. ESP EC10 Electric

Despite its modest price, the ESP EC10 Electric guitar delivers excellent performance for the money. Though it won’t be as good as guitars that cost thousands of dollars, it will satisfy most players. 

While the guitar may lack the quality of a premium model, it is still an excellent choice for a beginner guitarist. In addition, while the guitar’s pickups may not be the best in the world, they do the job very well for their price.

ESP’s EC-10 electric guitar features a thin maple neck and dual humbuckers. It also features a numeric rating on the headstock. 

The guitar has a ‘flag’ style headstock and standard LTD tuners. Tuners on the ESP LTD EC-10 are good and should provide good tuning stability. However, the tuners will vary from one model to the next because of the mass production process.

This guitar is an excellent choice for beginning electric guitar players. It features an affordable price and features a thin U-shaped maple neck. 

Its pickups are ESP-designed LH-100 pickups. The guitar also comes with a gig bag for easy transport. The ESP EC10 is the ideal guitar for beginners and intermediate players.

ESP EC10 Electric
Photo source:

6. ESP LTD Kirk Hammett KH-602 

The ESP LTD KH-602 Kirk Hammett Signature Series Electric Guitar offers the classic tone of the legendary metal guitarist. The guitar’s neck-through-body construction and EMG Kirk Hammett Bone Breaker pickups provide a robust, metallic sound that makes it a perfect choice for heavy metal players. 

The guitar also has low action and easy-fret strings that make fretting the strings a breeze.

Another feature of the ESP LTD KH-602 guitar is its locking nut. The locking nut prevents the strings from moving out of tune even after heavy use. Although it costs a little more than its competitors, the locking nut makes it easier to maintain the correct tuning and prevents notes from going out of pitch. This feature also comes with a retainer bar.

The ESP LTD KH-602 guitar is a high-end model made in Japan and Korea. This guitar has EMG 81/60 pickups and a Floyd Rose tremolo system. 

The neck-through construction makes it ideal for playing fast and aggressively, while the Floyd Rose tremolo system offers excellent control over the guitar’s volume. The guitar is a great choice for heavy metal players because of its unique features and value.

ESP LTD Kirk Hammett KH-602 
Photo source:

What Are the Advantages of ESP Guitars?

While ESP guitars are known for their incredible sound, you might be wondering if they are good enough to be considered for a custom guitar. Luckily, there are some advantages to purchasing an ESP guitar. First, this manufacturer is known for its quality. 

While mass-produced models may not be as beautiful as custom models, you can rest assured that they will perform well. So whether you want a single-cutaway guitar or an offset model, ESP has a guitar to suit your needs.

ESP USA offers many models ranging in price from affordable to high-end. In addition, there are two lines of ESP guitars – the standard series and the LTD series

Both of these lines cater to different styles and playability. The ESP LTD TED-600 features an Eclipse shape and an upgraded construction with white hardware and components. This guitar is an excellent choice for those who want the best performance for a lower price.

ESP has many advantages over other guitar manufacturers. ESP guitars are made by highly skilled craftsmen using premium materials. While the ESP LTD line is lower-priced, they still feature the same attention to detail that sets the company apart. 

Furthermore, they are available in an extensive range of sizes, which is very convenient for guitar enthusiasts. ESP is a Japanese company that recently established a factory in the U.S. and launched the USA series.

ESP has produced guitars for decades, competing with some of the world’s top guitar manufacturers. Their thin necks have made them popular among shredder players, especially in modern heavy metal. Thin necks make ESP guitars more comfortable to play, which has led to their popularity.

What Are the Disadvantages of ESP Guitars?

You will notice only a few disadvantages of the ESP guitars. Indeed, you can’t get the same quality with other guitars, but it is worth it for the price.

The main disadvantage of ESP guitars is that they are not as aesthetically appealing as other types of guitars. While some people might not mind this, it is still something to consider before making a purchase.

Another disadvantage is that these guitars are more expensive than other guitars. This means that if you’re on a tight budget and have to buy one, you may not be able to afford an ESP guitar.

As mentioned above, another disadvantage of ESP guitars is their size and weight. They tend to be bigger and heavier than other models because they’re made with more metal than different types of guitars. This makes it difficult to carry around if you’re often traveling on tour or traveling by plane.

ESP guitars lack the shredder shape, but the brand’s guitars do have solid wood bodies and maple necks.

Although ESP guitars are made with high-quality materials, LTD guitars are cheaper and lack the signature sound of ESP. Furthermore, while they may be less expensive, LTD guitars have fewer unique parts and production techniques. Therefore, they will never be able to compete with ESP’s guitars. And while there are some similarities between the ESP guitars and LTD guitars, they are vastly different.

Where Do You Buy ESP Guitars?

ESP started making replacement parts for guitars but has since grown into a full-fledged guitar-making company. ESP guitars undergo a strict quality control process before they reach the market. 

To make them as high-quality as possible, ESP guitars must pass several string-level tests. There are two main lines of ESP guitars: LTD and ESP. LTD guitars are the cheapest. On the other hand, LTD guitars offer great value for money, and they feature many signature models of top musicians.

ESP Guitars and Metallica

Metallica has long been associated with ESP Guitars. In 1984, their hit album Ride the Lightning changed the course of metal. The band and ESP teamed up to create an electric guitar that honored that moment. The guitar is adorned with a graphic finish that replicates the album’s cover. It also comes with a certificate of authenticity. This collaboration between ESP and Metallica has lasted for over 30 years and continues to inspire many musicians.

In honor of the band’s 30th anniversary, ESP Guitars have introduced limited-edition signature models endorsed by James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett. The guitars will feature the “KH-V” graphic art finish and retail for $600. The guitar will also have gold hardware. It is expected to be available in stores in January 2014.

The ESP E-II Series bridges the gap between the LTD lineup and the Original line. These guitars are hand-crafted in Japan by master luthiers. They are known for offering unmatched playability. ESP also features many models for the most demanding guitar players. In addition, you can choose from ESP’s premium Custom Shop creations. This means that Metallica can get the guitars they have always dreamed of while supporting the brand that made them famous.

The Horizon series features several guitar styles. The Horizon model was first introduced in the ’80s when the “Super-S” style guitars were popular. It bridges the gap between LP-style instruments and S-type instruments. Its utilitarian body shape and 25.5″ scale length are ideal for aspiring metallers. The Horizon model also has a carved maple top for snappy note response.


If you’re looking to buy a new guitar, ESP guitars are an excellent choice. This article will discuss the ESP LTD Deluxe EC 100, the James Hetfield Snakebyte, the Kirk Hammet Signature White Zombie, and the James Hetfield Signature Iron Cross. We’ll also discuss the ESP LTD signature models, which feature players worldwide. Finally, we’ll conclude with our personal experiences with these guitars.

Was this article helpful?