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The first dedicated store for providing custom parts to hot-rod guitars opens in Tokyo. The shop is called Electric Sound Products, or ESP.
ESP gains attention as a reputable provider of high-quality replacement parts. ESP also begins crafting the first complete guitars under the ESP and Navigator brand names for the Japan market.
ESP replacement parts for electric guitars and basses are introduced to the US market.
ESP begins creating custom instruments for local New York artists and top session players. Some very early ESP users included Bruce Kulick (KISS) Carmine Rojas (David Bowie), Ronnie Drayton, Vernon Reid (Living Colour), and Page Hamilton (Helmet).
Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones works with ESP to develop a custom guitar, later to become his signature model.
The ESP 400 Series becomes the company’s first production line to have US distribution. Today, these early 400 Series instruments are regarded as among the industry’s best vintage reproduction instruments.
On tour in Tokyo, George Lynch of Dokken (and later Lynch Mob) visits an ESP store to purchase a replacement neck. Upon learning that they made custom guitars as well, he sat down with ESP’s luthiers and ordered the first now-famous Kamikaze guitar.
ESP introduces the M1 Standard, M1 Custom, and Horizon Custom guitars, and the Surveyor bass.
Seeking a new guitar for the start of the Monsters of Rock tour, Kirk Hammett of Metallica discovers ESP and creates his first custom instrument, later to be known as the KH-2.
ESP debuts their first signature model, the George Lynch Kamikaze.
ESP is now based in a loft in downtown New York on 19th Street.
Kirk Hammett’s signature ESP KH-2 is introduced.
ESP’s New York HQ moves to 48th Street to be near the action of the city’s famous strip of music stores.
ESP’s Signature Series grows, as does its standard product line.
The US replacement parts business is discontinued in order to focus completely on the guitar and bass line as well as custom shop instruments.
ESP moves its US headquarters from New York to Los Angeles, opening an office on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.
Designed to provide ESP’s high quality standards to a more affordable line of production-model guitars, the LTD brand is born.
New ESP Signature models arrive from artists such as Stephen Carpenter (Deftones), Jeff Hanneman (Slayer), Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly) Jake E. Lee (Badlands) and James Hetfield (Metallica).
The LTD line gains popularity, earning its own level of acceptance among artists.
ESP is ranked among the music industry’s top ten fastest growing companies.
ESP debuts the Xtone brand, beginning with the semi-hollow archtop Paramount Series.
Dave Mustaine teams with ESP on his new DV8 signature model.
ESP and LTD guitars and basses are now distributed in over 30 countries.
Metallica’s James Hetfield and ESP collaborate to introduce his ESP Truckster signature model.
ESP celebrates its 30th Anniversary.