NAMM 2020: ESP saves the best for last with stunning new LTD signature models and '87 anniversary reissues

(Image credit: ESP)

NAMM 2020: if you thought LTD might be saving the least exciting launches for its final new gear preview after phase 1 and phase 2 you better order a slice of humble pie; this one is the best yet with signature models, unexpected reissues and even more Deluxe beauties.

Let's take a look…

LTD '87 Series Eclipse 

(Image credit: ESP)

(Image credit: ESP)

Well this is a surprise! As part of ESP's 45th anniversary this year it's going back in time to heady days of the 1980s when the Japanese company made its serious breakthrough in the market. But that's not the Eclipse shape we know, what's going on?

The Eclipse was originally based on the TE Archtop shape rather than the LP-like single cut it became. The LTD Eclipse '87 will be available in two versions and two finishes apiece. 

(Image credit: ESP)

(Image credit: ESP)

The Eclipse ’87 comes in Black and Pearl White, with a Floyd Rose locking tremolo. The Eclipse ’87 NT is available in Turquoise and Pearl White and has a TonePros locking TOM bridge and tailpiece. 

Both models feature neck-thru-body construction and the classic humbucker pairing of a Seymour Duncan ’59 in the neck and JB in the bridge pickup set. 

The pickups also feature original style bobbins for a period correct vibe and a push-pull control to split the coils for added versatility. 

LTD M1 Custom '87 

(Image credit: ESP)

We're staying in '87 with the new M1 – taking its cues from the ESP classic original M-1 model. This neck thru design is built for speed with a three-piece extra thin U-shaped maple neck. 

There's a Floyd Rose 1000 bridge (installed without a recess route) and a rock single Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6 pickup with a push-pull control for coil splitting.

Just in case that's not getting enough out of the one-pickup approach there's a EMG PA-2 boost switch for boosting. 

The M1 Custom '87 will be available in Black, Dark Metallic Blue, and Candy Apple Red finishes.

(Image credit: ESP)

(Image credit: ESP)

LTD Mirage Deluxe '87

(Image credit: ESP)

The third flavour in the new '87 range is the Mirage – another throwback to an old favourite; the original ESP Mirage body shape.

The LTD Mirage Deluxe '87 has bolt-on construction with an alder body and three-piece extra thin U-shaped maple neck being made available in Pearl Pink and Turquoise finishes. 

(Image credit: ESP)

These guitars feature a Floyd Rose 1000 bridge and Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6  in the bridge (again with the original style bobbins and a push-pull control) and a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail single coil in the neck.

LTD Phoenix Black Metal 

(Image credit: ESP)

The return of the Phoenix was announced in phase 1 but this Black Metal guide is a new addition – and it looks like the best iteration yet. 

The Black Metal offers all-black finish, components, and hardware with a single Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker with a push-pull control to select between two distinct voicings.

The Macassar ebony fingerboard with no inlays continues the none more black theme, though glow-in-the-dark side markers are welcome for onstage practicality.,

The Phoenix has neck-thru-body construction using a three-piece maple neck and mahogany body wings. 

LTD EC-1000 Black Natural Burst

(Image credit: ESP)

There's always room for another Eclipse model - this time the contemporary single cut guise. And what a stunner it is, joining the other Deluxe additions announced in phase 1

A burled poplar top helps give it that eye catching visual impact, on a mahogany body with a three-piece mahogany neck and Macassar ebony fingerboard.

Pickups are high output passive humbuckers from Seymour Duncan with a Sentient in the neck and Pegasus in the bridge.

includes a set of high-output Seymour Duncan Sentient (neck) and Pegasus (bridge) passive pickups. It's also available in a Blue Natural Fade finish.

LTD M-1007

(Image credit: ESP)

The LTD Deluxe M-1007 is the latest addition to the M series; a seven-string in See Thru Black Satin Sunburst. 

Another neck-thru-body design, this has a pair of Fishman Fluence Modern Humbuckers with an Alnico in the neck position, ceramic in the bridge. A push-pull control activates the second voicing.

LTD Viper-1000 Evertune

(Image credit: ESP)

Any time the EverTune constant tension bridge is fitted on a guitar we're excited – yes EverTune is that good and ESP has been one of the biggest guitar companies to adopt it on production models. The combination with the Viper here for the first time could be a real winner. 

In addition to rock solid tuning stability you'll get Grover tuners plus Seymour Duncan Sentient (neck) and Pegasus (bridge) passive pickups. They're both splittable with a push-pull control.

LTD AW-7 Baritone

(Image credit: ESP)

There's a fair few updates on the signature model side in the new lineup too. The LTD AW-7 is the Signature Series guitar for Alex Wade of American deathcore metallers Whitechapel and this refresh sees new features added.

The 27” scale model has a swamp ash body with Open Grain Black Satin finish. The five-piece maple/walnut/padauk neck should help with low tuning stability in changing conditions too.  

Other features include a Macassar ebony fingerboard and stainless steel frets. pickups are DiMarzio D-Activator 7s and hardware includes Hipshot fixed hardtail bridge and LTD locking tuners.


(Image credit: ESP)

When we met up with Nergal for a Behemoth rig tour last year he hadn't yet got his hand on this black beauty. It now joins his two previous signatures and is based on the ESP Stream guitar shape.

It finds Nergal moving from Seymour Duncan Blackouts to Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker pickups. The push-pull tone pot gives players access two different voicings of the pickups; switch down for Modern Active or up for Modern Passive Attack. 

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

LTD JR-208 and JR-608

(Image credit: ESP)

There's updates for Animals As Leaders man Javier Reyes with two new models; the LTD JR-208 is an affordable 8-string baritone 27" scale guitar with a mahogany body, a bolt-on maple neck, ESP Designed LH-308N and LH-308B pickups, and an LTD fixed bridge with string-thru-body. 

It’s available in Pelham Blue finish with gold hardware as pictured above.

(Image credit: ESP)

The neck-thru-body LTD JR-608 model has been updated with a set of new Fishman Javier Reyes Open Core Signature Pickups, with a mini-switch to engage the multiple voicings on offer. It's available in Faded Blue Sunburst. 

(Image credit: ESP)

LTD SC-20 and SC-607

(Image credit: ESP)

In 2018 Deftones' Steph Carpenter marked 20 years with ESP, and he's heading into the next decade with two updated Signature Series guitars. 

The LTD SC-20, celebrating Stef’s 20th anniversary of his first ESP signature model, is now available in Sonic Blue finish. 

(Image credit: ESP)

The LTD SC-607 Baritone is being made available in a Purple Satin finish.

LTD SH-207

(Image credit: ESP)

And finally, Korn's Brian 'Head' Welch made the switch from his longtime home of Ibanez to ESP a couple of years ago, and cited the company's use of EverTune as factor in the move. His new more affordable 7-string Signature Series model doesn't have that bridge though.

The LTD SH-207 has bolt-on construction with an extra thin U-shaped three-piece maple neck. It's loaded with ESP Designed LH-307 pickups.

For more info on LTD's range visit ESP Guitars

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Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.