Electric Sound Products, known as ESP, developed in Tokyo Japan in 1975 as a company that supplied custom replacement pieces for electric guitars. Conversely, the first ESP guitar was not created until 1976. The next big guitarist to discover ESP Guitars was George Lynch of Dokken, while searching for guitar parts as he was on tour in Japan. When George discovered that ESP built custom electric guitars, the prototype “Kamikaze” was crafted for him. Even though guitar companies were selling replicas of their guitars for many years, Gibson chose to sue ESP Guitars.

This growth in gross sales was directly linked to Fender buying out Jackson Guitars. Jackson was the company that ESP Guitars was competing with in the 1980’s and 90’s the buy-out of Jackson Guitars, most of the big profile guitarists jumped ship and went over to ESP. Guitar players like Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, found it an easy transition to move over to ESP Guitars due to the prime quality and similar thrash-metal aggressive designs.

ESP guitars are nonetheless highly regarded today. At the 2008 Winter NAMM show, ESP introduced over fifty new guitar and bass models.

By Todd Masters

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