#1
Okay, I know these aren't in stores yet, but let's bs this for a bit.

I'm a fan of ESP's stuff, they're tanks.


They're doing something different for 2014. What they're calling the "E-II" line of guitars,
and they're billing them as "The New Standard". Shortly before this bit started to unfold, I'd been cussing and discussing things with ESP's rep on Facebook.
He told me and I quote "The E-II's will not be replacing the ESP "Standard" lineup. " (semantics kinda bites him in the biscuit's here. . . If they're "not replacing the "standard" lineup", then why are they being billed as "The NEW Standard".

I realise it may seem like adolescent frettering over the brand on the headstock, but this isn't the reality of it. The lineup looks as though they lumped the LTD Elites in with select ESP Standard modles.
I'm concerned about mass-production overshadowing quality. So I'm more focused on the overall outcome of this seemingly messy and unsure Horizon.

So, lets speculate. . . What do my fellow ESP nuts think?
#2
I thought E-IIs landed in stores last year.

It does seem like most of the old ESP models which were removed have come back as E-II models, with basically the same specs but a lower price. I am yet to play any E-IIs in person but they look fine to me. I know a lot of people aren't a fan of the logo, but I think there's nothing wrong with it.

I've not heard them referred to as the new standard though.


It's an odd move but it seems that they really just want to try and keep the ESP branding for Japan, with only a handful of proper ESP branded guitars being available outside their country (Save for custom shop models).

The LTD Elites didn't last long, but I think they merged them up into E-IIs because they were of a quality closer to an ESP than an LTD so the LTD branding might have been hurting the sales/impressions? (Purely speculation here). Possibly also to try and simplify the branding a bit more.


I dunno, long story short it doesn't bother me. As far as I can tell the E-IIs look fine.
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#3
Just seems like they're attempting to increase the value of stamping the "ESP" logo on the headstock of their guitars.
#4
Quote by kingking22
Just seems like they're attempting to increase the value of stamping the "ESP" logo on the headstock of their guitars.


Solid business model, along with the "custom shop" versions of production guitars.
#5
Quote by VVolverin3
I thought E-IIs landed in stores last year.



I've seen a few NGD's on other forums for them, so I"m inclined to say you're correct
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#9
^ That's sort of my big concern with the EIIs (and also the LTD Elites before them). I could well be wrong (and I hope I am), but I'm kind of wary that they're rebranded Edwardses. Not that there's anything wrong with Edwardses, they're good guitars, but you can get them for an awful lot less than they're charging (at least in the UK) for LTD Elites and EIIs!
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
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#10
lolololol at LTD Elite failing.

Dunno what dumb ass though it'd be a good idea to put the LTD brand on a Japanese guitar.

Unless it's assembled in China like Edwards and they didn't say so. I would lose a lot of respect for ESP if so.


Now, I think they have WAY too many series. People are going to get confused. ESP seems to be driving a car with shot steering, swerving all over the place trying to find foothold.

The simple model of the mid 2000s was far more effective for brand and quality identity.

LTD < LTD Deluxe
ESP < ESP Original
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#11
Agreed. The big problem is anyone with any sense knows what they're up to- kind of hedging their bets. They hope that people who buy the LTD Elites/EIIs will tell themselves they're "just as good" as the "genuine" ESPs while hoping that anyone buying a "genuine" ESP will think it's better. The big problem is (if the LTD elites have failes as you suggested, I have no idea) that's a dangerous game to play, by trying to get both customers you can end up with neither. People like me will hold off until the truth comes out.

Plus I mean I've seen Edwardses with "made in Japan" stickers/stamps, so they have form in trying to pass the Edwardses off as MIJs when they're really (from what I hear) "part-MIJ". It wouldn't be a stretch to see them doing similar with the LTD Elites and the EIIs (and certain the LTD Elite superstrat looked suspiciously similar to the Edwards version).

Now, I'm sure those Edwardses I saw were "technically" MIJ in that the proper percentage of the work was done in Japan so that they could legally say it was MIJ. It still leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you thought it was 100% MIJ, though.

The other thing that makes me suspicious is how both the LTD Elites and the EIIs have a lower price than the old ESPs. Maybe that is a genuine tacit agreement that the ESP prices were getting too high... but if so why not just lower the price and keep the name/branding the same? Maybe there is nothing to it and I'm just paranoid, but if so it does feel a bit like going round the world for a shortcut...
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jan 28, 2014,
#12
From what I have seen elsewhere is that the LTD Elites are now included in the E-II's.

Also, I believe the prices have gone up considerably on the ESP's. This prices me and a lot of people out of the ESP Standards. Also, I think the used market for ESP's is gonna suck. People are now going to want more for used guitars with the ESP brand because the retail price has risen.

I guess the E-II is the new standard, because that is all I could hope to afford any time soon.
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#13
last week I bought a LTD Elite eclipse I and it is as good as my old ESP Horizon. I see no quality difference. Same craftmanship same quality and sometimes I think LTD Elite is better.
#14
Dave, I think some of the price difference may simply come down to the fact that they're "official" imports. The Edwards model I have retails at $1500 ish in the US, but that price is inflated because you have to import them specifically one at a time from Japan, where they retail closer to 1100. So just the fact that these new ones are official, volume exports may have an impact on the prices.

About the origins and Edwards/ESP difference - the ESP Standard series strats have actually historically been made by Edwards. So it's a bit complicated to say that these new ESP import lines are "rebranded" Edwards, when it's possible that all that changed with this "new" lineup was a different badge for the new market. I don't know if that's true for any of the other models, but it shows that this isn't as simple as "Edwards models with ESP badges" because in some cases you'd get a scenario where two guitar lines were made in the same factories, right next to each other, and one got an Edwards badge and one got an ESP - so how do you define "rebranding" in that situation? I don't know. Edwards is a strange outcropping of ESP. It's not an Epiphone-Gibson relationship. Edwards is sort of the Fender Japan of Japan, if that makes any sense

Anyway, country of origin is definitely tough to nail down on these, and the brand itself is sort of nebulous, especially in the way that Edwards/ESP/LTD blur the lines of what comes from where and why. All I know is that if these guitars are similar to the quality of the Edwards imports I've played, they're going to be great. More Japanese imports are always a good thing. Prices and availability will be the real acid test here.
#15
Quote by Roc8995
(a) Dave, I think some of the price difference may simply come down to the fact that they're "official" imports. The Edwards model I have retails at $1500 ish in the US, but that price is inflated because you have to import them specifically one at a time from Japan, where they retail closer to 1100. So just the fact that these new ones are official, volume exports may have an impact on the prices.

(b) About the origins and Edwards/ESP difference - the ESP Standard series strats have actually historically been made by Edwards. So it's a bit complicated to say that these new ESP import lines are "rebranded" Edwards, when it's possible that all that changed with this "new" lineup was a different badge for the new market. I don't know if that's true for any of the other models, but it shows that this isn't as simple as "Edwards models with ESP badges" because in some cases you'd get a scenario where two guitar lines were made in the same factories, right next to each other, and one got an Edwards badge and one got an ESP - so how do you define "rebranding" in that situation? I don't know. Edwards is a strange outcropping of ESP. It's not an Epiphone-Gibson relationship. Edwards is sort of the Fender Japan of Japan, if that makes any sense

(c) Anyway, country of origin is definitely tough to nail down on these, and the brand itself is sort of nebulous, especially in the way that Edwards/ESP/LTD blur the lines of what comes from where and why. (d) All I know is that if these guitars are similar to the quality of the Edwards imports I've played, they're going to be great. More Japanese imports are always a good thing. Prices and availability will be the real acid test here.


(a) That might be true in the USA, but in the UK you can get an Edwards (even if you import it yourself) for a lot less than a LTD Elite or EII. I think so, anyway I just had a quick look into it there.

(b) I didn't know that about the strats, that's a good point.

(c) Yeah that's kind of the point I'm making, at least at the price these are liable to go for in the UK (above £1000 basically). At that kind of money I'd like to know where they're made, and to know for sure that they're not just a rebranded cheaper guitar- a very good cheaper guitar (in the case of Edwards), to be sure, but cheaper all the same. I'm not going to be pleased to pay £1200 for something which I can get (more or less) for £800, for example.

(d) Agreed. As you said, the price is the thing. And also a bit more transparency would be nice, too.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
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#16
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) That might be true in the USA, but in the UK you can get an Edwards (even if you import it yourself) for a lot less than a LTD Elite or EII. I think so, anyway I just had a quick look into it there.

(b) I didn't know that about the strats, that's a good point.

(c) Yeah that's kind of the point I'm making, at least at the price these are liable to go for in the UK (above £1000 basically). At that kind of money I'd like to know where they're made, and to know for sure that they're not just a rebranded cheaper guitar- a very good cheaper guitar (in the case of Edwards), to be sure, but cheaper all the same. I'm not going to be pleased to pay £1200 for something which I can get (more or less) for £800, for example.

(d) Agreed. As you said, the price is the thing. And also a bit more transparency would be nice, too.

A) I wasn't comparing Edwards to ESP prices - it was just about import costs. You can get some Edwards models for less than some ESP models, because that's generally how the pricing structure works. My point was that low numbers of individually imported guitars from both brands inflated the prices. I just used Edwards prices because I knew them off the top of my head.

B) As above - if you bought an ESP strat (ESP Vintage Series) and an equivalent Edwards strat (E-SE 93) the prices should be very close, because the guitars themselves are nearly identical. So if the prices for those two guitars has a large discrepancy, something else is going on. That's the point I was trying to make in A).

C) I think we're crossing wires here. It depends on the model. In some cases it is pointless to worry that your new EII is a rebranded Edwards because Edwards was making the old ones anyway. As far as strats go there's really no point in saying that ESP is a superior brand to Edwards because they are one and the same. The same guys are making all of those guitars. So worrying that they'll cut corners is legit, but worrying about rebranding specifically is a red herring. The branding was always somewhat arbitrary.

If you're not talking about strats, though, things get more complicated - the ESP Les Paul style guitars are made rather differently than the Edwards ones. Price is one dimension of that but some of the Edwards models are higher end than some of the ESP models. For the most part the delineation is that Edwards makes the vintage style LPs and ESP makes the more modern ones.

D) That's the real problem. It's so absurd to have to untangle the whole thing like this. ESP makes more modern LP style guitars until you get up into the $2K range, Edwards makes vintage style ones that are cheaper until you get to the E-LP-125, Edwards makes all of the strats but they put different badges on some of them, and it's all the same company in the end. It's silly.
#17
Yeah I think we are talking at cross purposes, quite possibly

I agree with you completely on D). I think that's also making us cross our wires, because ESP has different models for different parts of the world. I know here in Europe/UK there's the Vintage Plus model, which is £1500-£1600 (http://www.projectmusic.net/esp-vintage-plus-sc-pearl-white-9791-p.asp or http://www.projectmusic.net/esp-vintage-plusm-distressed-blk-black-9789-p.asp ). Now, the spec on those does look a bit different to the Edwardses so I'm not sure if they're the ones you're talking about, but they're the only strat-type ones I can find on the UK ESP website. You can get an Edwards strat for around half that, whether you import to the UK from Japan or get it from a dealer here (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ESP-Edwards-E-SG-90LT2-Electric-Guitar-White-/370888016883?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Guitars_CV&hash=item565aa603f3 I realise that's an SG. But its model number/price is broadly similar to the Edwards Fender copies. That's probably a slightly optimistic price as I think that's being sold by a dealer which no longer sells them, but even at full price you're maybe talking £200 more than that. Or from Japan, a similarly-priced model: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ESP-Edwards-E-LP-98LTS-Flamed-Lacquer-DUNCAN-Long-T-Tobacco-Made-in-Japan-New-/271366963375?pt=Guitar&hash=item3f2ebb40af Factor in postage and shipping and you're up to maybe £800 or so, which is half what the ESP is selling for.)

Anyway, long story short, if they *are* the same thing (the Edwards strat and the ESP-branded strat I posted) that obviously makes the ESP (or EII, or LTD Elite, or whatevre they decide to call it next week) strat look very, very expensive.

I know what you mean about the red herring thing- that's a good point. On the other hand, even that is possibly a red herring. If they were always Edwardses (the strat ones, I mean) and were being sold for ESP prices, then that's screwing over the customer. If they were originally being made as ESPs (and being sold for the associated price) but are now being made by Edwards with only a slight decrease in price (compared to what you could get an Edwards-branded guitar, which is essentially the same thing, for) then it's also hurting the customer.

Does that make sense? It's getting late I think we're basically on the same page, as you said, just it gets confusing very quickly with ESP and its associated brands.

EDIT: oh as regards (A) I was comparing similar models, I think.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jan 29, 2014,
#18
You're comparing apples and oranges, you can't just pick a random Edwards model and a random ESP model. If you compare the Vintage Plus with the E-SE 93 they should be quite close. Over here the ESP is 1300 and the Edwards is 1150. Not a large difference.

And no, I don't think it's screwing over the customer to sell "Edwards with an ESP badge," firstly because that's not really what's happening and secondly because the quality difference is illusory. The ESP/Edwards distinction was arbitrary, it's all the same people at the same company (at least for strats), and the delineation doesn't work in the way that you're saying it does. Fender makes 2 guitars called the Standard Strat, and they're not even made in the same country. If they tried to sell the MIM Strat as a USA strat, people would be rightfully mad. But if they decided tomorrow to rebrand the USA strat as the Original Strat and the MIM as the Standard, you wouldn't say that MIM was a rebadged USA, would you? That's what I'm trying to tell you. This is a change in marketing only, it's not a "rebranding" in the way that you're saying. If you are concerned about rebranding, it's because you're assigning qualities to the brand that do not actually exist. For resale I guess that could matter, perception is reality, but I don't think that was what the conversation was about.
#19
Yep I realise that and I've conceded that point. My point is the Vintage Plus here is £1600 ($2600) while you can import an Edwards strat for about half that.

Also I wasn't picking a random model, as I pointed out in my previous post I picked the model with the closest list price to the strats (since I couldn't find a price on the strat offhand quickly- its model number is 93 as you said, i.e. 93000 yen list price, and the SG or Les Paul model numbers/prices were around that). When I got my Edwards the fender copy prices were broadly similar (actually very slightly less). So I think it's fair to get a price on those other models and assume that the Edwards strat would be a similar price (I looked on ishibashi and ikebi but they seem to have stopped stocking Edwardses).

Just out of interest, where did you get the info about the Edwards strats being made in the same place as the ESPs? Last I heard the Edwardses were started in China and only finished in Japan (but that may well have only referred to the poly and LTS Gibson copies).
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jan 30, 2014,
#20
It was talking to the guy who imported mine, I think. The ESP Vintage Series then would also be started in China and finished in Japan. Apparently enough of the construction is done in Japan that they can call that the country of origin.

You guys are really getting hosed on the ESP strats
#21
Yeah definitely

And yeah. I didn't realise that about the ESP strats. Thanks for the information (I think that's the case with the Edwardses too, they can technically be called "MIJ", though mine didn't have an MIJ sticker or stamp on it, and I've seen ones which did.)

It's kind of ironic that I thought I was being paranoid, and while I was wrong, I was actually arguably wrong in such a way that the reality was worse than I thought I was scared that these newer, cheaper "ESPs" might be Edwardses. I didn't realise some of the old, "genuine" ESPs might also be glorified Edwardses

The other thing I'd say is, which you brought up a few posts back, is that ESP really has no-one to blame but itself for the conspiracy theories etc. in this thread. If they were just a bit more upfront (or at least not so confusing with the branding), they could clear this stuff up pretty quickly. Granted some of it probably stems from not being able to sell some stuff in the USA, but still.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jan 30, 2014,
#22
What do you guys mean "Finished in Japan?" they make them elsewhere and set them up in Japan? How did you find out?

I remember a few years back I saw a Schecter video (who are also owned by ESP) and they showed a bunch of people setting up fully assembled guitars at Schecter HQ in the USA. However it was back when Schecter was only making guitars in South Korea or Indonesia, they didn't have a USA Series (not sure if they do now). It seemed like they were trying to give the impression that they had "That USA quality" when they didn't.

Very strange...
#23
IIRC they do the basic woodworking etc. in China but then the assembly/gluing/fretwork/paint etc. in Japan. But I might be misremembering (or the original info I got could be iffy).

Someone on one of the Japanese guitar forums who spoke Japanese emailed ESP and got an answer. IIRC that's how we found out for sure.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#24
I guess that makes sense as long as the use nice wood it shouldn't matter where they cut it out, especially the body. I'd say the fretwork is probably one of the most important things so doing it in Japan is pretty clever of them.

I found the Schecter video and it wasn't as seedy as I remember, plus they were also leveling the frets.
#25
Honestly, the only thing I'm interested in with ESP at this point is the Mystique line. But that's second to my obsessive GAS for a nice 8 string.
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#26
Quote by MegadethFan18
I guess that makes sense as long as the use nice wood it shouldn't matter where they cut it out, especially the body.


yeah
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?