ESP has moved to Phase 2 of its improbably large 2021 product launches, unveiling another ample consignment of new LTD and LTD Deluxe electric guitars and basses.
Hot on the heels of ESP's Phase 1 announcement, these new models includes updated Signature Series models, a host of new colour options, plus refreshed spec and finishes across the lineup. There is also some intriguing news for fans of extended-range guitars, with the TL Series welcoming a 7-string acoustic guitar to its ranks, the TL-7.
Among the minor aesthetic updates, we've got the LTD SN-200 S-style electric in Charcoal Metallic Satin and Dark Metallic Purple Satin finishes, while the Viper-256 is given an eye-popping Dark Brown Sunburst that really brings out the detail in the quilted maple top.
The LTD GB-4 bass has been updated in Vintage white, while the LTD AP-204 looks resplendent in Dark Metallic Purple.
Let's take a look at the highlights from Phase 2, starting with the new Signature Series models...
LTD Signature Series Josh Middleton JM-II
Josh Middleton of Sylosis/Architects gets a signature model for 2021, and it's a doozy. A quilted maple-topped S-style with an alder body and string-through-body hardtail, the JM-11 in Shadow Burst features a pair of Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker pickups, a speedy U profile bolt-on neck and 24 extra-jumbo stainless.
“The prime focus for me with this guitar is something that sounds great recorded,“ says Middleton. “I obsess over my rhythm tone and I want a guitar that sounds great and is inspiring to me.“
LTD Signature Series Mike Schleibaum MSV-1
Darkest Hour's Mike Schleibaum plumps for the pointiest guitar on the rack for his signature model, taking the ESP Arrow body shape and running with it.
Finished in Olympic White, Schleibaum's MSV-1 has neck-thru-body construction, a maple-capped mahogany body, 24 extra-jumbo stainless steel frets, block inlays, Grover tuners, a Floyd Rose 1000 bridge, with a single EMG James Hetfield signature active humbucker in the bridge position.
LTD Signature Series Max Cavalera MAX-200 RPR
The Soulfly frontman's signature has been refreshed with a Military Green Satin finish, a basswood body, maple neck, and a set of high-output ESP Designed LH-150 humbuckers.
LTD Signature Series Bill Kelliher Sparrowhawk
The Mastodon guitarist's signature offset now comes with Seymour Duncan Distortion humbuckers with custom covers, a black finish and gold hardware.
LTD Arctic Metal Series
The, err, polar opposite to the Black Metal Series, the Arctic Metal Series is nonetheless pretty darn metal. Here we have Arrow, EC, Phoenix, M-HT and seven-string baritone M-7BHT.
All are white on white, fitted with a single EMG 81TW bridge humbucker plus a push-pull coil-split, and are cooler than a polar bear eating a Cornetto.
LTD EX Black Metal
The LTD Black Metal EX takes the sharpened Explorer-esque body shape and gives it the minimalist treatment, with a single active EMG 81 humbucker in the bridge
Glow-in-the-dark side markers is the only light you will get from this
One for your Korn meets Dylan nu-metal folk jams – or, indeed, for something progressive and off-piste – the TL-7 is a seven-string hybrid acoustic with Fishman electronics to make it stage-ready.
LTD Deluxe EC Series
The LTD Deluxe EC Series updates comprise an EC-1001 in Tiger Eye finish, and two EC-1000FR models in Black Satin and See Thru Black finishes.
The EC-1001 comes equipped with a set of direct-mounted Fishman Fluence Open Core Classic Humbucker pickups, with push-pull voicing-select controls, while the EC-1000FR models see a set of EMG 60 and EMG 81 active humbuckers in the satin finish model and EMG 66TW and EMG 57F on the See Thru Black.
Each model shares the mahogany body, mahogany neck-through construction, with 24 extra-jumbo stainless steel frets and Grover tuners.
LTD Deluxe LTE-1000 EverTune
With its EverTune bridge and a set of active EMG 60/81 humbuckers, the LTE-1000 is one solid-looking T-style. The Charcoal Metallic Satin finish sets it off nicely.
LTD Deluxe H-1008 Baritone EverTune
ESP/LTD's most weaponised electric? Quite possibly, H-1008 Baritone EverTune has eight strings, a 27” baritone scale, 24 extra-jumbo stainless steel frets, an EverTune bridge, and active EMG 85-8H and EMG 81-8H humbuckers.
ESP promise more announcements for its E-II, ESP USA, and ESP Original Series soon. See ESP Guitars for more details.