The evolution of ESP's E-II brand

Posted Aug 26, 2014 at 7:30am
Read more about The evolution of ESP's E-II brand at MusicRadar.com

It's been a few months now since ESP announced the restructuring of the ranges it produces. To recap, they now provide what product manager Eric Oppenheimer describes as "five tiers of product lines": the Japanese-made Custom Shop, ESP Original and E-II, the USA-made ESP USA (available only in the USA), plus the offshore LTD range.

"Not every guitar company is as careful to differentiate between its different levels and costs/quality"

Not every guitar company is as careful to differentiate between its different levels and costs/quality of manufacturing, preferring to blanket brand start-up and much higher quality instruments in the same way.

Previously, of course, ESP had its Japanese-made Standard range and it's essentially this that has morphed into the E-II range.

"E-IIs are built at the same ESP factory under the same facilities in the same quality level with previous ESP Standard products," explains Makoto Suzuki from ESP Japan.

"We have two factories. One is mainly to build standard production and one is mainly to build Custom Shop production. Assembly is at the Custom Shop factory: all ESP products are assembled there including the E-II guitars. Both factories are located in Saitama Prefecture, which is next to Tokyo."

But, "it was important to differentiate between ESP's Custom Shop/Original Series and the mass production line, which was ESP Standard," adds ESP USA's Todd Binder.

"E-II was born to represent the next generation of ESP mass production and the [sole] ESP brand was retained for Custom Shop and Original Series, keeping the ESP brand elevated in the premium range it was intended for."

"While some ESP Standard models were rebranded as E-II, many of the models in the E-II line are new designs modelled after the ESP Original series," continues Eric, and that is where the new ESP E-II Mystique fits in.

ESP eii development

"It was designed by our master luthier, Shinichiro Kobayashi," says Makoto. "Our Horizon has been a flagship model for ESP for a long time, with an image of 'heavy metal'. His main concept was to create another flagship model, but based on a more traditional style for a wider range of music styles."

It's a good example of the differences between the E-II level and the more expensive Original series. Our recently reviewed E-II Mystique costs £1,699, while the Original version is over twice the price, at £3,749.

"Original series products are handcrafted one-by-one," explains Makoto, "and E-II products are mass production, like the old Standard series."

"For example," adds Todd, "the E-II Mystique has a veneer for the figured top, while an ESP Original Mystique has a full thickness carved figured maple top. For the observant player, there will be noticeable differences in the details of craftsmanship. ESP Originals have an extremely high level of attention to detail for every process."

A seemingly unusual feature of the Mystique design is that despite being a mahogany/maple dual humbucker 'Gibson/PRS' style guitar it uses the longer 'Fender' scale length.

"We wanted to make the Mystique sound more aggressive and tight by featuring a longer scale," concludes Makoto.

"And another thing we considered was the not-small percentage of bands/ players who use drop tunings these days - a longer scale should be a better fit for both those things."

Read our full reviews of two new ESP E-II guitars on the links below...

Read more about

Add a Comment
0 Comments

Similar Guitar News

Sylosis' Josh Middleton joins ESP roster (11/5/2014)
Read more about Sylosis' Josh Middleton joins ESP roster at MusicRadar.com Josh Middleton - guitarist and vocalist from UK metallers Sylosis - has joined ESP as an endorsee.Josh is one of the UK's best guitarists in UK metal, having formed Sylos...
ESP Guitars' Incredible 'Monster Hunter' Guitar (8/21/2014)
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Monster Hunter video game, ESP Guitars in Japan has created a (very pointy) guitar inspired by the game. The guitar features what can only be called a huge blade with several horns protruding from it...
ESP Announces Limited-Edition Metallica 'Ride the Lightning' Guitar at Summer NAMM (7/18/2014)
A very cool — and very limited — LTD Metallica Ride the Lightning guitar was one of the first pieces of new gear to greet us at this week's Summer NAMM Show in Nashville. Here's some info about the guitar, direct from the ESP Guitars staff: We'...
ESP LTD AS-1FM LB Alex Skolnick Signature Guitar — Review (5/22/2014)
These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the July 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store. Alex Skolnick ...
NAMM 2014: ESP introduces Tombstone Case Co. (1/22/2014)
Read more about NAMM 2014: ESP introduces Tombstone Case Co. at MusicRadar.com NAMM 2014: ESP has introduced a new division, the Tombstone Case Co.The first of ESP's custom graphic designed hard cases was put together for Metallica's Kirk Hammet...
NAMM 2014: ESP Guitars Opens First U.S. Factory; Photos of Nine New Models (1/14/2014)
The ESP Guitar Company has announced the opening of its first-ever USA-based factory. The new ESP USA factory is in North Hollywood, California, a short distance from the company’s USA headquarters. “This is a significant milestone for ESP,” say...
NAMM 2014: ESP Announces Signature Series Guitars for James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Alex Skolnick and More (1/14/2014)
Some of ESP’s most high-profile endorsees have helped create new ESP, E-II and LTD Signature Series guitars and basses, all of which are making their debut at the 2014 Winter NAMM Show. “ESP’s artist endorsees are among the most respected and in...
NAMM 2014: ESP Guitars Announces Availability of ESP Original and ESP E-II Brands in the U.S. (1/14/2014)
ESP Guitars has announced that its new ESP Original and E-II brands will become available in the U.S. in 2014. The availability of ESP Original and E-II brands in the U.S. allows the company to have a consistent set of products available around...
Luthier Spotlight: ESP Custom Shop Guitars by Master Luthier Masao Ohmuro (12/12/2013)
GuitarWorld.com recently posted a fascinating time-lapse video created by the ESP Custom Shop in Tokyo, Japan. It shows a custom guitar, the Ghost Soldier, being built from start to finish. The Ghost Soldier guitar was created by master ESP lut...
Win a ESP/LTD B-10 with ESP and Fates Warning! (12/6/2013)
Read more about Win a ESP/LTD B-10 with ESP and Fates Warning! at MusicRadar.com Progressive metal pioneers Fates Warning are on the road right now on their headline tour of the US, featuring ESP endorsed bassist Joey Vera.To celebrate, Fates Wa...
ESP Guitars' First-Ever US-Based Factory to Open in 2014 (11/15/2013)
ESP Guitars has announced its new North Hollywood, California, factory. It will be the company's first-ever US-based factory. Opening in 2014, the factory will be producing a new line of ESP USA guitars. This new brand will be added to ESP’s exi...