The Fake ESP Thread

The Fake ESP Thread

Pushead and I are here to help verify ESP and LTD guitars. If you have, or are looking to buy a guitar that you're unsure of, post pictures and questions in this thread. Please post clear pictures of the front and back of the headstock, the fretboard, and the front and back of the body. Preferably before you buy anything.

Anyone else is free to offer suggestions on authenticity. If you answer a post, please tell us why you think it's real or fake.


Ryu is in a group on Facebook that I visit. Everything I've seen has worked out smoothly with him. The guitar is legit.

Phil O.


Kinda beat, but how about this LTD Explorer? No hard shell case, but the pickups seem correct? I'm also guessing the truss rod cover isn't original? Thanks in advance!


It's legit. A 1997 LTD EXP-200. Those are the right pickups for the first year of the model, as is the 2 dots at the 12th fret instead of the LTD logo. Looks like it's lived a rough life. That board is beat.

Phil O.

Thanks Pushead! Maybe I can get an ebony board installed if it's worth fixing up . Is 1997 the model year? The serial seems to indicate that it was made in 1998-99, but I've read about the date inaccuracies with these.


97, 98, what's a year between friends? It's hard to nail down the years on those 90s era guitars. Even harder for guitars from the 80s.


Looking to purchase an ESP RZK-1 or 600 Olympic White or Silver for my friends birthday. He’s been a huge rammstein fan since the family values tour.




A colleague of mine acquired this guitar in ‘92 from a friend of his that I’m told had a collection of high end guitars. My colleagues  ambition to learn guitar was short lived, so it was cased up and stored away at his parents home until it was recently rediscovered. Appears to be an early Kamikaze that unfortunately my friend had sanded the finish when he first got it as he planned to paint it. :/

No serial number found on the headstock/neck, but there are 4 digits hand written in the neck pocket. 

Tremelo is not recessed and has ESP on it. 
Bridge pick up is a Dimarzio. 
Fretboard is ebony. 
Tuners say “Made in Japan”. 

This thing is one of the nicest playing guitars I’ve held. 
I’ve hit a road block researching this and hoping someone here might be able to assist.



Yeah, a late 80s to early 90s Kamikaze. 

Eric K.

Hello, I’m looking to buy this ESP Standard Horizon and I was wondering if it’s legit.

Owner said pickups are Duncan JB and 59, and they originally came with nickel covers. But I cannot find any pictures of them online with nickel covered pickups.

Also, he said it’s 2011 series, but it seems like it was made in 2013 according to the serial number. Does this mean it is 2011 series but made in 2013 right before the brand name changes to E-II?

The middle of letter E (the part where it looks like a speaker shape) looks kind of funny. Like it’s curved not straight. Is this something I should be worried about or is this how the logo looked on some of previous models? I did find few pictures with similar shaped ‘E’ but not very clear.

How much do you think these guitars worth at the moment?

Thank you for your help !!



Eric K.


It's legit. A 2013 model. The logo is correct, though it's a bit closer to the tip of the head stock that most, but that's not totally uncommon. No worries, it's good.

Eric K.

Thank you !


Dirk V.

Hey guys!


I have my LTD Vulture up for sale on and someone offered me to trade it with his ESP Mirage. I think it’s kinda cool and could see having the body refinished in like an aged white color but keeping the headstock the way it is. Now, I want to make sure that it’s even genuine and perhaps get a little background information on the guitar as I can’t find much about it. Also, would it be a fair trade? (My Vulture does have a chip in it from shipping so I don’t expect the most high end of guitars, but anyway) 

What I know from the guitar: 

the guy says it’s a 1984 ESP (The) Mirage Deluxe. Made in Japan, upgraded pickups. And he isn’t the first owner (not much of a problem to me though) 





Rafly R.

Can you check this esp ec-1000STBC


Is it original?

Rafly R.

Rafly R.

Valentin P.

Hi, my first ESP and it seems I've been scammed. I bought this guitar for ''ESP M1'' and it seems its a fake. It says ''Rhythm in jump dancing close to you'' om the bridge. I'm just shattered.


Well, I'm not feeling good about this one. What does the serial number say? It looks like it starts IR, which at best would put it as a Chinese or Indonesian LTD. The bridge is obviously not stock (though that engraving brings back hilarious memories.)

I'd try to get your money back.

Valentin P.

Yeah, I did return it yesterday. I don't have much experience with ESP guitars, less though with supposedly "vintage ones" but this guitar was unnaturally light - my Jackson Soloist Stars feels double the weight (and ten times the quality) of it. This had some Dimarzio pickups but was the guitar with less sustain I have ever played, maybe partly due to the crappy bridge - the posts on this thing were moving freely...

No doubt a fake, a Franken partcaster ESP built or who knows, but no chance of it being a genuine 1986 M1 as it was advertised. Even the entry level LTD 60 series feel much better quality wise. Thanks for taking the time to answer and best regards! 

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