New From ESP-LTD in 2020

January 17, 2020 7 min read

New From ESP-LTD in 2020

Having started out as a small instrument repair shop in Tokyo back in 1975, ESP is now celebrating their 45th anniversary as one of the premier brands in the world of guitars and basses. ESP is happy to ring in 2020 with one of their largest batches of new instruments to date. 

There are so many new and updated ESP-LTD models to introduce in 2020 that ESP has previewed them in three separate batches or ‘phases’. In this article we’ll highlight many of the new and exciting guitars and basses that will be available to you from ESP-LTD this year, including:

  • The New ‘87 Series
  • The Return of the Phoenix
  • New and Updated Signature Models

The LTD ‘87 Series

The ‘87 Series represents a celebration of the guitars from the 1980‘s that put ESP on the map as a major brand. To celebrate their 45th anniversary, ESP is releasing a series of designs based on the guitars of the late 80‘s, some of which, like the ‘87 Series Eclipse model will be surprising to some. In this line you not only see examples of the quality and craftsmanship that transformed ESP from a small Tokyo shop into a major guitar and bass manufacturer, but you also see the evolution of their instruments, which is fascinating, especially for anyone who loves guitars. 

But the ‘87 Series are not meant to be museum pieces. These guitars look, play and sound amazing!

The Eclipse ‘87 and Eclipse ‘87 NT

The first thing that jumps out about the ‘87 Series Eclipse is how much the body shape has changed over the years. The original Eclipse body shape was still a single cut, but more like an archtop Tele style than a Les Paul. The Eclipse 87 comes in Floyd Rose and non-trem varieties, the Floyd Rose version available in Pearl White and Classic Black and the non-trem version coming in Pearl White and Turquoise. All come with blazing hot Seymour Duncan pickups with coil tapping capabilities, making them incredible tone machines in their own right!


The M-1 Custom ‘87 

The M-1 Custom ’87 is based on the legendary ESP M-1 model, one of the original single-humbucker super-strat style guitars back in the 80‘s. This M1 Custom ‘87 offers neck-thru body construction with a three-piece extra thin U-shaped maple neck and features a Floyd Rose 1000 bridge and a single scorching hot Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6 pickup with a push-pull control for coil splitting for modern tonal versatility. The M-1 Custom ‘87 also sports an EMG PA-2 boost switch for when you need extra power to push things over the edge. Available in Black, Dark Metallic Blue, and Candy Apple Red finishes.



LTD Mirage Deluxe '87

Based on the original ESP Mirage body shape, the LTD Mirage Deluxe '87 is a Super Strat Style bolt-on shred machine with an alder body and three-piece extra thin U-shaped maple neck. The Mirage Deluxe ‘87 models feature a Floyd Rose 1000 bridge and a set of Seymour Duncan Pickups that includes a Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6 bridge pickup with push-pull coil split capabilities for sonic versatility and a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail single coil in the neck position.The Mirage Deluxe ‘87 is available in Pearl Pink and Turquoise finishes.



LTD Surveyor ’87

Back in the late 1980‘s, ESP was also getting a lot of recognition as a bass manufacturer, which is why the classic Surveyor bass is making a well-deserved return to the LTD lineup. The LTD Surveyor ‘87 sports a classic bolt-on design with a short 34” scale, giving it great neck feel and super smooth playability. The Surveyor ’87 features top-tier appointments including a Gotoh 201-B4 bridge and a set of Seymour Duncan Vintage bass pickups. This classic bass reboot comes in two finishes: Black and Pearl White.


The Return of the Phoenix

LTD Phoenix-1000 

To continue the theme of 80‘s inspired guitars coming back to the marketplace, ESP is bringing the Phoenix blazing back for another run. Back in the 80‘s ESP was known for making inspiring new takes on classic guitar designs. The Phoenix (the Phoenix in mythology being a kind of ‘Firebird’) is no exception, taking the classic Firebird body shape in a new direction. 

ESP Japan's President, Makoto Suzuki has said of the Phoenix,  "The original Phoenix made its debut in the mid-eighties and it had a pointed headstock, two mini humbuckers and Floyd Rose-type locking tremolo... It was discontinued in the early nineties and the Phoenix-II was introduced in 2008. I personally love its shape and I'd been thinking about bringing Phoenix back to the market for a while." ( Read the rest of the article this quote is from here.)

From its offset single cutaway body to the tip of its reversed headstock, the LTD Phoenix 1000 is a classic tone machine that players have been asking the folks at ESP to reissue for years. For 2020, the Phoenix is making its return in an amazing LTD Deluxe Model that features a pair of Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker active pickups (Alnico in the neck position, Ceramic in the bridge), with a push-pull control to activate the second voicing. 


The Phoenix-1000 Vintage White offers a passive pickup set, featuring a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat single-coil in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan Custom in the bridge which also can be coil split with a push-pull control. Both of these guitars have a neck-thru-body design, with mahogany body wings and a three-piece maple neck. Other features of the new Phoenix-1000 include a TonePros locking TOM bridge and tailpiece, LTD locking tuners, a Macassar ebony fingerboard, and gold hardware.

New and Updated Signature Models

ESP has always boasted a large stable of professional artists who work closely with their engineers to bring you a lineup of accessible Signature Series guitars that deliver exactly what their artists need from their instruments for recording and touring. In 2020, ESP is pleased to announce some of the most exciting Signature models to date!

LTD NS-6 - Nergal of Behemoth

One of the coolest shapes that ESP has offered in recent years is the Stream shape, an exaggerated offset cutaway that distributes the weight of the guitar over a unique surface area, giving it monstrous tone and incredible balance. When it came time for Nergal of Behemoth to design a custom guitar, the NS-6, the ESP Stream shape was his choice along with a pair of Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker pickups with push-pull tone pot to access both active and passive pickup voicings.


The NS-6 offers a set-thru design at 25.5” scale with a mahogany body and a three-piece maple neck that features a Macassar ebony fingerboard with an inlaid Behemoth logo, and glow-in-the-dark side markers and comes in a Black Satin finish.

 LTD AW-7 Baritone - Alex Wade of Whitechapel

The LTD Signature Series guitar for Alex Wade of  Whitechapel, LTD AW-7 Baritone, is back and better than ever! The AW-7 is a massive sounding 7-string guitar with a 27” scale scale length, featuring a gorgeous swamp ash body with an eye-catching Open Grain Black Satin finish. The five-piece maple/walnut/padauk neck sports a Macassar ebony fingerboard and stainless steel frets for amazing comfort. The AW-7 Baritone gets its massive tone from a set of DiMarzio D-Activator 7 pickups, and also features a Hipshot fixed hardtail bridge and LTD locking tuners for rock solid tuning and accurate intonation.



LTD Stephen Carpenter ‘Deftones’ Signature SC-20 and SC-607 Baritone

ESP is celebrating another anniversary in 2020, the 20th anniversary of Stephen Carpenter of Deftones on the ESP roster of artist endorsers. To celebrate ESP is updating two Stephen Carpenter Signature models: the LTD SC-20, based on Stephen’s first ESP signature model but now available in a Sonic Blue finish and the latest version of the Stephen’s Baritone LTD SC-607, which is now being made available in a great-looking Purple Satin finish with Fishman Fluence pickups and string-thru-body construction for incredible sustain and a monstrous tone. 



 LTD JR-208 and JR-608 - Javier Reyes ‘Animals as Leaders’

ESP has also made some major updates on the Signature Series models designed with Javier Reyes of Animals As Leaders. These offset double-cutaway signature models are not just high-quality, they are also accessible and affordable to a wide array of players in the market for high-powered Djent machines. The LTD JR-208 is an 8-string baritone guitar with a 27" scale featuring an offset mahogany body, a bolt-on maple neck with a super comfortable sculpted neck joint, ESP Designed LH-308N and LH-308B pickups, and a LTD fixed bridge with string-thru-body construction for killer sustain and monstrous tone. This Javier Reyes signature reboot is available in a Pelham Blue finish with gold hardware. 


Javier’s neck-thru-body LTD JR-608 model has been updated with a set of his new Fishman Javier Reyes Open Core Signature Pickups, with a mini-switch to engage their multiple voicings and is available in a stunning faded blue sunburst finish with all gold hardware.


This is just a sampling of the great new guitars coming out in 2020 from ESP/LTD. ESP has also announced new black metal models, additions to the 1000, H- and M- Series, and a new line of basses. At the Winter NAMM show ESP will be announcing even more new additions to their lineup! Check back here in about a month to see all of the great new and updated guitars and basses (especially lefties!) that ESP has to offer in 2020!

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