ESP Guitars Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary

March 1, 2005, 15 years ago

news riff notes esp

The following press release is courtesy of

ESP Guitars is celebrating its 30th year in business throughout 2005. The milestone is being celebrated with a new 30th anniversary logo, special performances from the company’s top artist endorsees, and more.

“ESP is thankful to everyone who helped us grow over the years,” says Matt Masciandaro, ESP president. “We’re very proud of having produced a range of guitars and basses that have been so well accepted by the world’s top players. ESP’s motto has always been ‘If you can dream it, we can build it’, and we still stick to that philosophy.”

Now a world-renowned, highly respected instrument manufacturer, the ESP Guitar Company had humble beginnings as a small custom shop started by Japanese businessman Hisatake Shibuya. It was 1975 when Shibuya founded a chain of music/audio retail stores called Electronic Sound Products, or ESP for short. In 1983, the stores started making replacement parts and accessories for the booming guitar market. Two years later, in 1985, ESP began building entire custom guitars for special customers. It was not the company’s intention to get into the mass market of guitar manufacturing at the time. Instead, they only hand-built special custom guitars for professional touring and recording artists.

By 1986, ESP’s guitars had gained such an excellent reputation that the company opened an office in New York City to make custom guitars for 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 ESP’s detail-obsessed custom design and manufacturing, the company has since attracted a tremendous artist endorsee roster, and some of the custom guitars created for the artists have become top-selling signature models. These include models by George Lynch, Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield (also of Metallica), Ron Wood (ROLLING STONES), Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH), Jeff Hanneman (SLAYER), George Lynch (Dokken/LYNCH MOB), Stephen Carpenter (DEFTONES), 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 via less expensive manufacturing techniques, the LTD brand has allowed a much broader range of musicians (including first-time buyers) to affordably take advantage of the company’s 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.

“It’s been an amazing run so far,” continues Masciandaro. “But our focus is on the future, and we have many great plans in store. Here’s to the next 30 years!”

For more information call 800-423-8388 or visit

Featured Audio

PRIMAL FEAR – “I Am Alive” (Nuclear Blast)

PRIMAL FEAR – “I Am Alive” (Nuclear Blast)

Featured Video

HOMICIDE Premieres “Scourge Of God”

HOMICIDE Premieres “Scourge Of God”

Latest Reviews