Now a world-renowned, highly respected instrument manufacturer, the ESP Guitar Company had its humble beginnings as a custom shop in the rear of a Tokyo music store. It was 1975 when ESP founded a chain of retail stores called Electronic Sound Products, or ESP for short. In 1983, ESP began making replacement parts and accessories for the booming guitar market.
By 1986, ESP's guitars had gained such an excellent reputation that the company opened an office in New York City to meet the increasing demand among players in the US. Shortly thereafter, Dokken's George Lynch and Metallica's Kirk Hammett chose ESP to build new guitars to their respective specifications, and the company quickly became the first choice for rock and metal players who wanted more than an off-the-shelf axe could deliver.
With ESPs detail-obsessed custom design and manufacturing, the company has since attracted a tremendous artist endorsee roster, and some of the custom guitars created for these artists have become top-selling signature models. These include models by George Lynch, Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield (also of Metallica), Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), Jeff Hanneman (Slayer), George Lynch (Dokken/Lynch Mob), Stephen Carpenter (Deftones), Will Adler (Lamb of God), and many others.
With the desire to maintain their status as a high-end, custom guitar maker, but wanting to offer a more moderately priced brand for wider distribution, ESP added the LTD brand in 1996. Offering many of the superb features of ESP guitars, the LTD brand has allowed a much broader range of musicians (including first-time buyers) to affordably take advantage of the companys products. In 2003, their X-Tone series of semi-hollowbodied guitars debuted to rave reviews, and opened the door for an entire new group of players to consider ESP as a serious choice.