E-II vs Original?


Is the quality really that much different? I know originals are handmade or whatever but is there really a huge difference between them other than price? I'd love to have an original series but I cant really justify $4000 for a guitar if the biggest difference is one says "ESP" on it as much as I'd rather have that on there..


Just a guess, but I'm assuming the quality of wood is better on the handmade ones. E2 might have a B+ grade whereas USA ones are A/A+.

Andrew j.

The EII's are factory made with machines with easier finishes. The amount of time in actual human hands is significantly less than a custom or USA. However...old standard ESP's never came with blemishes or concerns. It seems the new EII's have.

I'll give you a better summary when I get my hands on one in three weeks


Dave R.

Take a look at the ESP Original landing page and read up on some of the special features. They really are works of art, hand made by ESP's master luthiers. Were you to get your hands on one, all questions would suddenly be answered:


Andrew j.

Dave...I just bought an EII HORIZON III.

is this guitar going to look, play, and feel like a $1700 guitar? Is it a "real" ESP"?

Dave R.

It is a 'real' ESP in the sense that E-II is an ESP owned and produced brand just as the 'Standard Series' was. It will not see the peak level of craftmanship and attention to detail that the Original Series does (nor Custom Shop for that matter), nor will it carry the same price tag. But you are still getting one hell of a fine instrument by any standard. Post photos when you receive!


Hi ! I just bought an E-II FRX Black. It came with EMG pick-up. I asked my dealer to change it to Seymour Duncan, SH1-n @ neck and TB-6 @ bridge. However, it came so with a 3-way switch. Can I install a 5-way switch and if yes, where to find the procedure to do this ?

Paul W.

Just bought an E-II Horizon NT7B a couple months ago. The quality of the instrument is fantastic and I couldn't be happier with my purchase. Only issue I had was with the factory strings going out of tune but once they were replaced, the tuning stability is amazing.

I know what byou mean about wanting 'ESP' on the headstock instead of 'E-II' as I had wanted one of the standard series for a long time but couldnt afford one until that line was discontinued. I still wish mine said ESP on the headstock but all around I am still satisfied with this instrument. 

scott s.

I just got The E-II MK-I Mille Petrozza guitar yesterday and it is not good. It's like the quality of an LTD. I am sending it back.  I have many standard ESP's and a custom shop one as well. The E-II's dont come close in my opinion.  I'm sad because I love the looks and features this guitar has and I kept looking at the pictures of it online and was getting so excited for it to arrive but I'm very dissapointed.

MIchael K.

im with scott on this im about to be on my 2nd e-ii replacement because of blatant issues that were not caught at the factory

Martyn R

Having been sat on the fence for a while, it's interesting to see that prices of new & used E-II 's (ES12-15****** serial numbers) are levelling off around $600-$1000 / £500-£900 & there are loads up for sale at $1000 / £1200+ but remain unsold . Do an eBay check of sold/completed listings, the green prices font were sold & red unsold.

Dealers & shops in Uk now don't stock esp & E-ii other than LTD and get them on special mail order only. I recently asked one shop about getting an original series horizon in stock to try out and he pretty much laughed his pants off.

After owning 2 standard series (horizon & formula) I admit I'm gonna struggle to lower my self to buying an e-ii unless it's really cheap, so the wait continues for that perfect standard series horizon, HRF or formula NT.

If anyone is selling a standard series contact me & I can arrange collection / courier to UK to get me fixed up with my lifetime keeper!




Keep an eye on eBay and Reverb for a used 90s-00s Standard Series. Can find lightly used ones for around a grand and they are superior to the E2s in every way, in my experience. Same specs, sure, but wood selection and overall craftsmanship doesn't seem anywhere near the mid 90s-00s SS models. I've tinkered with quite a few E2s just out of curiosity, and my mid 90s The Eclipse and early 2000s M-II blow the E2s out of the water in every way... and these days, a lightly used one is cheaper than an E2 as well. 

Shannon  H.

Yea guys I got a 2008 m2 urban camo with the head stock pointing down and the original esp logo in the headstock I also have an ec 1000 ltd. I can honestly say that the ec 1000 on its best day its still a heaping pile of garbage compared to the std and yes 100% the e2 is different than the std original ,,,,,,so if you get a chance to buy an original std get it they play amazing YOU WONT BE DISSAPOINTED


Hey guys, I just bought an ESP E2 M2 URBAN CAMO and couldn't be happier, the guitar was well made,  I inspected it thoroughly and couldn't find any outstanding defects.  The guitar plays great and sounds awesome, so good that I ordered another one just like it and expecting it to arrive next week.  The guitar was made in Japan, the urban camo paint job on it is phenominal, I'm real pleased with the first guitar and hoping to have the same results with the next one.  I'm pretty picky when it comes to my guitars and ESP has passed the test with this guitar, I hope #2 is just as good as #1.


Update:  ESP E2 M2 Urban Camo Guitar #2:  I got the second guitar from American Musical Supply about a week ago and couldn’t be happier,  I thoroughly inspected this guitar for any flaws, and couldn’t find any.  The only thing I noticed about this guitar was that the paint job was a little darker than the first one.  The greys and black was a little more defined than the first one, and there were differences in the camo pattern, but I expected that, each guitar is unique, I know they can’t be exactly the same.  All in all I am really happy with this second guitar, it’s a freakin shred machine like the first one.  I’ve decided to keep it in standard tuning and adjust the first one to Eb tuning.(you know Slayer tunes).  But ESP Has hit another home run in my book with these 2 guitars, I can’t stop playing them, i’m driving everyone crazy here at the house with my guitar playing daylight to dark.  Rock on ESP!!!

Louis Torres Photography

If someone today said, "I'm going to gift you $2,000 in cash. Would you rather buy a brand new ESP E-II for $1,800 or buy two used but mint condition 1996 ESP MII Standards that are selling for $900 each, what would you do?" Without hesitation, the latter would win since I've purchased NUMEROUS ESP MII Standards built in the mid 1990s that were absolutely perfect in every way. To me, ESP E-II is a rebadged LTD Elite Series that's renamed E-II (Elite-II). Ever wondered what happened to E-I? Yeah, it was an LTD, in case you missed that because you're too young to remember. Here's one guy who owned the LTD Elite and bought an ESP E-II. You can find this thread in this group, User ID: TT.

"I can only tell you about the Eclipse E-II as I had an LTD Elite Eclipse and now an Eclipse E-II. I don't know what's going on at the Japanese factory, but from the 2 2014 E-II's I just got I'm not thrilled, and the are NOT the ESP quality I expect. They are not even as high quality as most ESP LTD guitars that are much lower priced and are not made in Japan. ESP really needs to check into this.

They lowered the price on their Standards, but then come with new models with ultra high prices. I'm now wondering if the E-II's are being built by student luthiers and the higher priced models built by their expert builders. If so, that's not good expecially when the quality is not up to par."

There are numerous posts like this, so if you think the ESP E-II is the same as the Standard, maybe they've updated these issues but with posts as early as 2019, it doesn't seem like it. Anyway, I'll stick to the golden era of ESP guitars! Mid 1980s through 1997.

Warmest Regards, 

YouTube Creator,

-Louis Torres

Paul J.

I have a 2019 Eclipse E-ii.  I couldn't imagine how it could be more perfect.  It looks perfect, is flawless, was set-up very well to my taste, sounds excellent.  I really don't know what else I could ask for. 

To each their own.  Certainly glad I bought it over any Gibson.  And I'm sure the ESP USA are works of art.  And I'm sure the older standard series were great.  But the e-ii was a great decision for myself.  Couldn't be happier.

James O.

This has been my experience of the E-II line also.  I have an Eclipse, an M-II and Horizon.  Each arrived perfectly setup and flawlessly constructed.  They are my favorite guitars by far.   


I agree. My E II is solidly built, has a great finish and plays like a dream. Easily worth every penny. 

Jason M.

I bought an E II Horizon 3 a couple years ago after reading great reviews about it, and was very satisfied. Ended up selling it, then got to a point where I wanted something LP style, looked into Gibson, and went back to ESP for an E II Eclipse with active EMGs. I was beyond satisfied. I cant speak for the LTD line, but make no mistake... E IIs are excellent guitars. No flaws on mine, both played like a rocket out of the box. At this point, I'm completely sold. There's debate over the value/cost of the USA line, which boils down to wood/finish quality, duel neck supports and I suspect to some degree, labor cost. As far as I can tell anyways. That said, I've got an Original Custom Shop Eclipse Andromeda II being shipped to me now. I fully expect to have my socks blown off....

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