NAMM 2018: ESP debuts a host of new guitars and basses, including signature, multi-scale, Evertune and Black Metal models

NAMM 2018: As per tradition, ESP has served up an early Christmas gift, sharing a sneak peek at its announcements for 2018.

However, given the sheer quantity of new guitars and basses on offer for 2018, we can’t imagine there being too much more to come at NAMM, aside from the odd E-II - there are over 50 updated LTD models, fresh designs and extended-range versions here.

Most notable are a host of signature models for Deftones’ Stephen Carpenter, UK shred ace Andy James and Behemoth man Nergal, while the addition of multi-scale, Evertune and Black Metal models further bolster ESP’s well-equipped credentials.

We’ve rounded up the new releases below, with the word from ESP. Scroll on down for a closer look at each model, and visit ESP Guitars for more info. Rest assured, whatever's left to come at NAMM, we’ll be first on the scene…

New Signature Series additions

PRESS RELEASE: As we have in many previous years, let’s kick things off with a highly-anticipated new Signature Series model for ESP icon George Lynch.

The LTD GL-KAMI4 is based on one of the legendary guitarist’s most famous ESP Custom Shop models, and offers Lynch’s well-known “Kamikaze” graphic finish in eye-grabbing neon colors, as well as a distinctive sawtooth-shaped headstock.

The GL KAMI-4 features an alder body, bolt-on maple neck with maple fingerboard, a Floyd Rose bridge, and a combination of a new Seymour Duncan Signature George Lynch “Hunter” pickup in the bridge with an ESP Designed single-coil pickup in the neck position.

It was 20 years ago, in 1998, that we introduced the first Signature Series guitar for Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter. We’re celebrating that 20th anniversary milestone with the LTD SC-20, a 6-string model that harkens back to Stef’s early days with ESP.

A neck-thru-body design, it offers a maple neck with alder sides in See Thru Green finish, and includes components such as a Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 pickup paired with ESP Designed LH-150N and LS-120N pickups, as well as an ebony fingerboard with glow in the dark side markers.

In other Stef-related news, we’re also offering two of his most popular signature guitars in new finishes (since apparently, it’s time to move beyond basic black). The LTD SCT-607B will be available in Green Sparkle, while the LTD SC-608B is coming out in Red Sparkle.

Speaking of newly-available finishes, here’s one that people have been asking for all year long. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has been performing on tour over the past 12 months using a killer Purple Sparkle version of his ESP signature guitar, and now you can play it too with this updated LTD KH-602.

The guitar includes new EMG Kirk Hammett Bone Breaker Signature pickups and an environmentally-friendly fingerboard made of Pau Ferro.

A brand new addition to the LTD Signature Series is the NW-44, the signature model of Neil Westfall of Florida-based rock band A Day To Remember.

Based on the EC body style, the guitar comes in Olympic White finish, and features set-thru construction at 25.5” scale, a mahogany body with maple cap, a mahogany neck, and a single Bare Knuckle Aftermath pickup.

UK-based shred sensation Andy James has been connected ESP for a good while now, and his new Signature Series models have been updated with the outstanding EverTune bridge. The six-string AJ-1 EverTune (Black Satin finish) and seven-string AJ-7 EverTune (White Satin finish) now feature the EMG 66/57 pickups sets with Brushed Black Chrome covers.

Two members of Poland-based extreme black metal kings Behemoth are getting new Signature Series models. Frontman Nergal’s new model, the LTD Nergal-6, is based on the ESP Eclipse shape with black hardware and Fishman Fluence pickups.

Bassist Orion’s new model is the LTD Orion-5, a five-string bass with a Seymour Duncan P/J pickup set. Both models come in a menacing Black Satin finish, and have the band’s emblem inlaid on their respective fingerboards.

We’re not done yet. Three more ESP Signature Series artists have updates to their models. First is Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher, whose LTD Sparrowhawk model is now available in a great-looking Pelham Blue finish.

Mille Petrozza of Kreator has made his LTD MK-600 available in Black Satin finish.

Last but definitely not least, the punk rock master Lars Frederiksen of Rancid has had us do a new version of his LTD Volsung model in a Distressed Black Satin finish which looks amazing.

New multi-scale guitars: introducing the LTD M-1007MS and M-1008MS

PRESS RELEASE: You’ve been asking us for multi-scale guitars for years, and we promise: we’ve been listening. It just takes a while to do things in the uncompromising way we do at ESP, but now the time has come to introduce the new seven-string LTD M-1007MS and eight-string LTD M-1008MS.

Multi-scale guitars make use of an angled fret arrangement to offer different scale lengths for the various strings of the guitar, allowing for optimal string tension, and has also been stated by many players to offer an ergonomic improvement for the fretting hand.

The new models have varying scale lengths of 27” - 25.5”. They are bolt-on designs that use a “drop top” of thick flamed maple that’s bent over a lightweight mahogany back.

Both models offer a five-piece neck made of maple and exotic purple heart wood, with a Macassar ebony fingerboard that includes offset abalone dot inlays.

Top-tier components on the new M-1007MS and M-1008MS include a set of Seymour Duncan Nazgul and Sentient pickups that were custom-made for ESP with a special angled design and pole spacing optimized for the multi-scale design.

A push-pull control on the tone knob allows for coil splitting, providing a wealth of flexible tones. Other components include a Hipshot multi-scale bridge and ESP locking tuners.

New Black Metal Series

PRESS RELEASE: We’re unveiling three new models in a brand new LTD Black Metal series. The guitars, comparable in build quality to our LTD Deluxe 1000 Series models, are the LTD EC Black Metal, LTD M Black Metal, and LTD Viper-7 Black Metal.

They all feature design similarities including a single premium-quality pickup, and a menacing all-black aesthetic that includes Black Satin finish, black hardware, and even a newly-designed black metal LTD logo on the headstock.

All models provide a Seymour Duncan “Blackened” Black Winter pickup that is mounted directly to the guitar’s body, Macassar ebony fingerboards with no inlays, glow-in-the-dark side markers, and black binding on the neck and fingerboard.

New LTD Deluxe “1000 Series” guitars

PRESS RELEASE: Thousands and thousands of serious musicians take their LTD Deluxe “1000 Series” guitars into the studio or out on tour for reliable, high-quality performance day in, day out. We have a bunch of killer new additions to this popular series.

The new seven-string LTD EC-1007 EverTune and eight-string LTD EC-1008 EverTune feature the acclaimed EverTune constant tension bridge system in extended range guitars with the popular single-cutaway EC body style. The EC-1007 EverTune offers an EMG 60-7H/EMG 81-7H pickup set, while the EC-1008 EverTune includes an EMG60-8H/EMG81-8H set.

Another new EverTune-equipped EC-1000QM EverTune model is being offered with a great-looking quilted maple top in Dark Brown Sunburst finish.

A beautiful new EC-1000FM model has joined our offerings, with their flamed maple tops in See Thru Purple and See Thru Green finishes, an ebony fingerboard, and high-quality Seymour Duncan pickups.

Rounding out the updates to the EC-1000 models, we’re now offering Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker pickup sets in two more new versions of the EC-1000, with the EC-1000S Fluence (in Black finish) and the EC-1000FM Fluence (flamed maple top in Tiger Eye finish).

The new LTD H3-1000 has the bold angular curves of the ESP Horizon-3 while being made available at a price most musicians can still afford. The H3-1000 offers set-thru construction at 25.5” scale, pairing a mahogany body with flamed-maple top to a three-piece maple neck with Macassar ebony fingerboard. 

It includes a Tonepros TOM bridge with string-thru-body design, and a Seymour Duncan Custom-5/Jazz pickup set, with a push-pull coil split on the tone control.

Also in our H Series, we’ve made some design changes to our LTD H-1001QM, removing the purfling from the fingerboard and switching to direct-mount Seymour Duncan pickups. The LTD H-1007FM is a seven-string version of the guitar, with a flamed maple top in See Thru Black finish.

Rounding out our LTD Deluxe additions, the new LTD MH-1000NT STP is a quilted maple-topped guitar in See Thru Purple finish with direct-mount pickups, while the LTD SN-1000HT offer a dual-humbucker design with high-quality Seymour Duncan pickups and a hardtail bridge, with a killer Charcoal Metallic finish.

New LTD 400 Series models

PRESS RELEASE: We created the LTD 400 Series as the perfect choice for musicians who are serious about their live performances and recordings, but need an instrument with high-quality components and reliability that’s still within their budget.

New additions to this range of guitars includes the LTD FRX-400 and seven-string LTD FRX-407. Both models feature the beveled, angular look of the FRX shape, and offer EMG pickups and Floyd Rose tremolos.

The MH Series combines design elements from our Horizon shape (like an arched top) with aspects from the M Series, like the inline headstock. The new LTD MH-400M and LTD MH-400M NT are fantastic-looking guitars with mahogany tops in Natural Satin finish. Both models feature direct-mount Seymour Duncan pickups.

The new LTD MH-400B is a six-string baritone guitar in Black Satin finish that offers a direct-mount EMG active pickup set.

Rounding out our new 400 Series instruments is the LTD Viper-400M, which offers the mean-looking asymmetrical double-cutaway body of the Viper with a mahogany top in Natural Satin finish. The guitar also features Seymour Duncan pickups.

New 200 Series models

PRESS RELEASE: Guitars in the LTD 200 Series offer a tremendous amount of value, and are absolutely some of the highest-quality guitars in their affordable price range.

We’re proud to have seriously revamped the 200 Series offerings for 2018 with some exciting new models like the LTD Arrow-200, a bold-shaped guitar with set-neck construction, a Floyd Rose tremolo, and a pair of ESP Designed humbucker pickups.

Extended range guitars in the EC Series are also being made available in a lower-cost guitar with the new LTD EC-257 and LTD EC-258. The EC-257 is a seven-string guitar at 25.5” scale, with a TOM-style bridge and tailpiece, and open-coil ESP Designed pickups. The EC-258 is an eight-string at 26.5” scale with soapbar-style ESP Designed pickups and a hardtail bridge.

For those about to rock with the new LTD EX-200, we salute you! This model, now built with set-neck construction, is available in Black and Black Cherry Metallic finishes, and offers ESP Designed humbucker pickups and TOM-style bridge and tailpiece. The new LTD H-200FM has also been updated to a set-neck design.

Overall, the 200 Series took a big leap ahead with the new LTD M-200, LTD M-200FM, LTD MH-200, LTD MH-203QM, LTD MH-200QMNT, and LTD Viper-201B. All of these guitars offer the terrific value you need, combined with the tones and playability that will let you do your best work.

Updated LTD basses

PRESS RELEASE: We’ve also taken the opportunity to make some refinements to a few of our most popular LTD basses. First, the LTD B-208SM is an update on the B-208 - one of the coolest choices in 8-string basses around - with a new Spalted Maple top, a roasted jatoba fingerboard, and a new control layout.

Also in the B Series, the LTD B-204FM and LTD B-205FM take two of our most popular and affordable bass models, and offer them with a great-looking flamed maple top in translucent See Thru Red and See Thru Blue finishes, along with new fingerboard wood and improved control layout.

Finally (for now), the LTD AP-204 bass is now available in Black Satin and Natural Satin finishes, and both look awesome. We will have some more new bass introductions later in 2017, so no worries, you bass rockers.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

Stay up to date with the latest gear and tuition. image
Stay up to date with the latest gear and tuition.
Subscribe and save today!