The Fake ESP Thread

Updated
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.

DAVID A.
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"

Pushead

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

DAVID A.

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.

Thanks!!

Pushead

It looks good to me. I couldn't make out the serial number to tell you the year (seems either 2016 or 2019), but I everything is correct for the model.

Connor O.

Also if it helps, from what my eyes can make out, the serial number is ES7740163

Connor O.

Thanks Pushead, I really appreciate your response. Everything looks good to me too. The only thing was I don't know how far back they've made the  see thru black M-II in left handed. Is there a way to check? Like a catalogue or something?

 

Cheers

Pushead

The serial number is likely ES17, which means it would be a 2017 model.

Connor O.

I managed to get the serial number off of the seller and it is ES7740163. Here's the photo for reference:

 

Pushead

Oh, that's right. The E-II guitars started with the year at the end. It's a 2016 model. It's the second and third last numbers with the final number being that it was made on the production line. It's a 2016 model.

Connor O.

Thanks! Just from the look of it, it seems pretty legit. I guess ESP was making them in lefty back in 2016 too. Their 2016 catalogue has this guitar listed with the same specs etc, but obviously for right handed. Most of those catalogues don't mention which lefties were being produced at the time for some reason.

Paul P.

Hey guys. I have one that I’m pretty sure is fake, but just want to make sure. Good news is I got it at a pawn shop and had the manager tell me I can take it back if it is indeed fake. The main red flag is that I can’t find the serial number anywhere, not even underneath the pickups.

Pushead

Nope. It's a fake. Good news about being able to bring it back. Shape is wrong and the logos are bad, though the EMGs look to have been swapped with real ones. The truss rod cavity is terrifying looking.

I'm hoping the pawn shop didn't hit you for the actual value of a used MX.

Paul P.

Yeah, the truss rod cavity looks like you might have to use an ice pick to chip away the paint and primer to actually adjust the truss rod. Lol

So, the logos didn’t look terrible to me. I know we’ve all seen worse, but on the back, is it supposed to say “Custom Shop” or “Custom Guitars”?

The EMGs May be real, but they’re passive. Idk who the hell would order a “custom shop” guitar with passive EMGs...

 

Interesting tidbit... Apparently, the gobs of paint in the truss rod cavity is the extra paint they saved by not fully painting the cavity behind the switch and knobs. If you look to the left of the switch in my picture above, you can see bare wood. Behind the pickups is the same. Also, no shielding under the pickups either.

 

Now that I’m typing all this out, I realize I probably shouldn’t have bothered asking if this was a fake. Lol

Doug H.

Can someone please help and tell me if this looks real or fake.  The serial number shows 1996.

Miki L.

Hello, I have an ESP eclipse NT from 2004, I was researching and it only appears in the 2003 catalog. It is a model that was only manufactured for the Japanese market, I bought it second-hand and I would like to know if my ESP is authentic. Thank you very much!!!

Pushead

Hi Miki, I believe what you have there is legit. ESP had gotten out of the flat-topped Eclipse around then, but this must have been a left-over order to deliver. You don't see them often, but there are a few out there.

As for Doug's V, we saw further photos on another forum. There are some details that are correct, but once we see inside the pickup cavities, closer shots of the finish and the wiring, it seems that it isn't an ESP.

Doug H.

Thanks for all of your help.

 

RE:  Pin Strip Cleanliness

I was able to compare mine to 3 new, unsold Alexi Laihos in person and The trips in mine are just as clean as the stripes on theirs.  Mine looks better and feels better than their white with black serial number E2330212.  There is absolutely no bleeding to the naked eye, only when substantially magnified by the camera I used.

I just took a picture of mine super up close with a super high end camera to show two spots where the top lawyer of finish had been damaged or chipped of to show lawyering in the finish.

 

RE:  Electronics

I find toggle switch and pots for another ESP 96 custom shop and the toggle is the same and their pots as well as mine are both Alpha pots.  I have to agree that the solder beads on the other 96 seemed to be a little cleaner, but can you really preclude something from being legit based on cleanliness of solder beads.

OI had posted one photo that you saw was actually my guitar techs work after we put new pots and electronics in.  His work is pretty sloppy for sure.

 

My biggest hang up is the cheap LH-100 ESP pickups that seemed to be original and the neck binding kind of bothers me, but that could have been redone.

 

RE:  Neck and Playability

This guitar plays as good if not better and feels just as solid as my real Custom Shop Gibson and real Custom Shop Fenders.

Miki L.

Thank you very much for the answer.

Thank you very much again.

Doug H.

Pus:  In addition to the above, I do really appreciate you though taking the time to look at mine and others.  That is cool.

I am not looking to ever sell mine as it literally plays amazing and looks amazing in person.  Definitely like it more than Custom Shop Les Pauls and it is way better than Suhr from a quality and playability stand point.

Going to drop BKP Aftermaths in it when they get here Monday.

Doug H.

The other thing that bothers me as why would a cheap fake to go through the extra effort of making very difficult pin stripes whose arc at the bottom is consistent with 80s models Jackson Custom Shop Randy Rhodes.

 

Unlike those on my guitar, the Alexi Laiho Stripes are much boxier and easier to replicate, but they also came out AFTER 1996 so it would seem this guitar is a legit pre Alexi Laiho guitar with what I think would be very difficult pint stripes to paint.  I could personally do the boxy Laiho stripes myself.

 

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