ESP reveals the stunning 2021 Exhibition Limited Series – unique Japanese Custom Shop models with eye-popping finishes

ESP Exhibition Limited Series
(Image credit: ESP Guitars)

With ESP already having unveiled dozens of highly shreddable electric guitars for 2021, it is now the turn of its Japanese Custom shop to show what it can do – and its Exhibition Limited Series does not disappoint.

Each instrument in the series is unique, handmade in Tokyo by ESP's master luthiers, and uses materials we are not used to seeing at any price point. Indeed, these designs are off the charts when it comes to details, taking the basic ESP design shapes and running with them.

There are three Arrows in the collection, and you have never seen the off-set V shape like this before. Our favourite has a flamed maple and stabilised resin spalted maple top on a body of white limba.

For something less pointy, you could have a Mystique that has a Claro walnut top and body with a Honduran mahogany centre, all finished in gold-leaf graphic.

If King Louis XIV played electric guitar, you'd get him this for his Christmas – even the Seymour Duncan 59/JB humbuckers have wood coverings. It's quite something.

There are some truly bewildering finishing techniques used here, such as the Honeycomb flamed maple and blue resin pattern found on the Horizon-CTM FR's top – a look that's reprised across the pickup covers and headstock

While there is no plain offering – that would defeat the purpose – the Snapper in See Thru Green Burst is a high-end S-type that is not too far away from an Ernie Ball Music Man Sabre in terms of style, and has a more everyday finish. Albeit, it's an everyday finish if you typically choose your weapon from PRS's Core collection.

There are 42 instruments in the collection, with a number of exquisite bass guitars there too. You can check them all out at ESP Guitars, where they are listed with their final destination at an ESP dealer. 

Prices TBC, but they will be guaranteed bring a tear to the eye. But if these big ticket items are beyond most us, the epic ESP/LTD 2021 lineup offers plenty of choice, with some of the sweetest heavy metal guitars we have seen in recent times.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.