Any ESP experts out there? Looking to confirm authenticity of a Japan Custom Shop HSS...

Discussion in 'Non-Fender S-Type Guitar Forum' started by sam_in_cali, Jan 21, 2020.

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  1. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    I'm eyeing what is purported to be a ESP Japan Custom Shop HSS on reverb and looking to confirm its authenticity. I've reached out to ESP customer service and the ESP forum but thought I'd throw it out for a look here. Any help is appreciated.


    From seller's description:
    The guitar does not include the original case or any COA. I reached out to ESP Customer Service when I acquired the guitar to see if they could provide any additional info. They said it was the genuine article, but admitted that their record keeping is somewhat lackluster and guessed it was built some time in the early 2000s and sold outside the US market.

    esp 13.JPG esp 12.JPG esp 11.JPG esp 10.JPG esp 8.JPG esp 7.JPG esp 5.JPG esp 3.JPG esp 2.JPG esp 1.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  2. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

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    crooked tuner placement on a Custom Shop guitar?

    fishy
     
  3. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    What tuner looks off?

    I saw that first link and that's partly what is causing my curiosity since there is no SN on the headstock and only a 4-digit one stamped on the neck plate. But ESP is also notorious for having one of the worst serial number databases out there too...
     
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  4. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

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  5. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

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    the low E tuner looks like it was mounted crooked. could be the photo

    not a game changer, just raises questions
     
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  6. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

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    looks like a nice guitar and probably sounds great
     
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  7. CigBurn

    CigBurn Total Hack

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    Gorgeous body on that one..nice.
     
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  8. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    Ya, reminds me a bit of my cousin's old Ibanez roadstar save for the ebony fretboard. I'm debating letting go of my RR1 to fund this one....dunno....decisions decisions.
     
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  9. CigBurn

    CigBurn Total Hack

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    Yeah tough call. :)

    567744423182855GayS.JPG
     
  10. Stratoblaster

    Stratoblaster Strat-O-Master

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    That Japanese ESP stuff is all over the frickin' map. Meaning, they used a lot of different builders/luthiers in Japan at different times for different reasons. Also, you could custom order a lot of options like Carvin/Kiesel guitar. Serial numbers are different for different builders/eras etc. I ran into this mess when I was trying to verify a local guitar for sale and finally gave up on it.

    Cool guitar though!
     
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  11. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp Senior Stratmaster

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    That's a sweet looking ESP! Love it. Hope it's legit and hope you give it a new home.
     
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  12. mshivy

    mshivy Most Honored Senior Member

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    Scott!!! Get hold of yourself!!!

    Ok seriously, nice looking guitar but we basically have no way of knowing what it really is. I don’t care for the blurb that guy wrote.
    Plus it is a non-tremolo

    I’d say hold one to what you have, The feeling will pass
     
  13. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp Senior Stratmaster

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    ESP are making some really sweet eye candy outta Cali these days. Follow them on Instagram & you'll see what I mean.

    I'd wait for the right time (and steep fund savings) and buy one of those new. IMHO, anyway.
     
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  14. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    I never thought I'd see THAT guitar again.
    I honestly don't know how old I was when mom tossed it.
     
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  15. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    I know, bro! Its a sickness I tell ya!
    TBH though, the hardtail is kinda the allure on this one for me. :(
     
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  16. pinkoboe

    pinkoboe Strat-Talk Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I do not consider myself to be an ESP expert by an means but here are some of my semi-informed observations:

    1) Neck looks legit. The "ESP Custom" logo appears to be silk screened as it should be. The fakes utilize the water slide decals you can find on Ebay. ESP also does an fairly unusual and difficult to fake thing where the ends of the frets are filled in with fretboard colored material so the tangs for the frets are not visible. This guitar in question appears to have that feature. Further, the four digit handwritten code is similar to what I have on my ESP necks.

    2) As for the body, some ESP's have an ESP logo stamped into the neck pocket, some don't seem to have it. The workmanship (without seeing under the pickguard) looks like ESP quality as does the hardware.

    3) The only thing I see that gives me pause is the neck plate as I have not come across one that looks exactly like that. The serial number is quite large, and the distressed finish on it does not match the new shiny black hardware on the rest of the guitar. Also, the numbers are not lined up properly (ESP doesn't generally have sloppiness like that), and the logo just looks a bit off to my eyes . I attached a picture of an ESP neckplate from another auction for reference below. New ESP neckplates with logos are available for sale separately on Ebay, but they would not come with a serial number. That said, this could be a 100% legit neck plate as ESP seems to have been rather inconsistent with the logos and have many many changes to the neck plates over the years.

    Hope this helps!


    [​IMG]
     
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  17. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    I appreciate your insights! I'm still waiting to hear back from ESP but I did get a response from a forum member over on their board which matches your observations:

    The guitar is legit. I've never seen a serial number stamped so large on the neck plate before.

    I'd guess somewhere in the early to mid 90s. They didn't start using the circle logo on the back of the neck until around 1990, and only on guitars released outside the Japanese domestic market. By 2000-2001 they started using serial numbers on the back of the headstock.
     
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  18. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Do it or screw it.

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    The plate looks rustic like the finish. I bet it's real.
     
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  19. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    UPDATE: ESP wrote back and confirmed it was legit. I just hope now it plays as well as it looks. I'll post a NGD thread sometime next week...

    Hello,

    Thank you for reaching out to us and sending these photographs. We have received requests for this exact instrument in the past. Due to a lack of records, ESP Japan was unable to provide an exact year of production. They were able to confirm this as a legitimate ESP instrument made in Japan in the mid-1990s. We hope that this is helpful, andif you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

    Best Regards,

    Customer Service
    ESP Guitars
    Phone: 800-423-8388
    Fax: 818-506-1378