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.


It's legit. A 2019 EC-1000. Good luck if you decide to get it.


Thank you kindly, going to go get it this afternoon!

Meeky F.

Need help dating/verifying this oddity.

No serial number or logos other than what's shown.

Bought it used ~20 years ago in Massachusetts.

2 volume, 2 tone, 3 way toggle on upper horn, and a Kahler. 

I've never seen a Horizon model with a Les Paul style electronics layout.



Hard to pin that one down. It's likely newer than 1990, which is when they switched to the current "knife" shape for the headstock instead of the Jackson shaped. No ESP circle logo on the back leads me to believe it was made for the Japanese domestic market, but with no serial number, it could be that the guitar was refinished at some point in the past. I've seen that logo before, though it's not a common logo.

I've never seen that setup before on a Horizon, but again, guitars ordered in Japan don't always (or even often) match what is available in a catalog. With the switch on the top horn, 4 knob layout and Kahler, I'd suspect it was special ordered in Japan sometime in the early 90s.

Meeky F.

Thanks, Pushead.  Appreciate your time.

Nothing looks fake about it?

I plan on putting it all back together if it's worth it.


The logo is the most suspect looking thing, but again, I've seen it before. I think you're in good shape.

Hexter S.

Wow great thread, thanks for all your efforts Pushead


I also have an ESP with a kinda suspect logo that I thought was legit to a specific time period, but now I don’t know what to think!


Yeah, it's a 2013 so that logo is correct. It was the transition period between ESP Standard and E-II.

Hexter S.

Thanks for confirming, I rarely see similar models, so good to have the peace of mind. Love this thread am learning a lot!

Ace L.

I'm amazed that this thread is still active. Most of the finds here seem to be legit. I hope mine is too. 
Thanks for you work Pushead! 

Just made a recent purchase. The guitar looks cool and was offered at a decent price. Can't seem to find any info about it.
I can't find any Grassroots Guitar with the "GR" on their headstock, models with similar body shape seems to all have a floyd bridge, not the bridge shown on the Pic.


I have no reason to believe it's not a legit Grassroots guitar, the shape and especially the back of the headstock all check out. Based on the serial number it's a 2011 model, but I don't think I've ever seen a Grassroots webpage or catalog to even compare it to.

roman d.

I know how to play with Guitar because I have learnt some basic techniques about Guitar from the experts.  Dissertation Help Uk


I'm looking at an ESP Horizon as a project guitar to tinker with and fix up. I found a 1990 ESP Horizon (they say Custom, but it may be a deluxe). Can you give me any thoughts regarding these photos and let me know what you think? Does it look legit?

It only has 22 frets and is a bolt-on.

If it's real, is $900 too expensive?
Really appreciate your help.




Yeah, the Horizon is legit. Probably from the very early 90s. With only 22 frets and bolt-on, it's probably not a deluxe. In the time period, I'm used to 24 frets with a bolt-on being the Deluxe model and a neck-through being the Custom model. But ESP has always played fast and loose with their naming conventions.


Hi all, this is my first post:

I recently bough a (supposed to be) custom 1996 EXPlorer with tremolo, a floyd rose. The owner says the headstock was broken during the import from japan, and reconstructed from other woods in a Luthier store in Madrid. Overall of the guitar seems legit, it is heavy weight, killer tone, and confortable to play, but it has no serial or documentation (or at least we havent found them). The guitar is actually old, you can see a lot of scratches, rusty metals, and a lot of battle scars. Anyway I am not an expert and I would like to have some help from you, please . Here are some pictures, please let me know if you need extra details...:

Pushead wrote:


Hi again, 

I dont know if it is clearly visible, but on the tuners in the pictures above it is writen "made in japan"


It looks fine to me. I'm not sure that the headstock has been replaced. The logos and shape all look correct.


Thanks a lot! I was worried with the fact of not having a serial number... maybe is something written down in any part of the guitar, or you can detect a fake fact inspecting the hardward.

I am more calmed now, anyway if you want to check any other thing of the guitar please let me know and I will upload it here (wiring, the inside...)


Thanks again!!

Connor O.

Hi I'm looking to buy this see thru black left handed ESP E-II M-II and wanted to ask you guys about its authenticity before I do anything. My gut feeling is that it is genuine but you guys would know leagues more than I do about that. It's hard to make out the serial number, but i think I can see that it was made in 2016, however I'm not sure if they made them in 2016 in left handed.  I'm sorry about the grainy photos.


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