Edwards "ESP" guitars

Hey all,

I’m something of a guitar collector/player and have always wanted a plain (no binding, no fancy “burst” top, no block inlays) Explorer-style guitar, sans pickguard. To that end, I just ordered an Edwards Explorer (http://www.espguitars.co.jp/edwards/original/E-EX-105E.jpg) from a reputable Japanese guitar shop.

I really wanted an ESP, but they’re ridiculously expensive, and as it turns out Edwards is an ESP brand (sold only in Japan). From what I’ve been told, they’re somewhere between ESP and LTD quality. (Built in Japan in the ESP factory, but on machines rather than by hand.)

Anyone here have any experience with Edwards? I don’t, which is why I’m a little nervous, but I’ve played some ESPs that I’ve loved and some LTDs that I liked a lot, so I’m hoping for the best…


I’ve owned both an ESP Custom Shop guitar (Horizon) and an LTD 7 String, but not an Edwards. The ESP Custom Shop guitar (former guitar of Michael Wilton’s) was exquisite in craftsmanship. The LTD was surprisingly high quality – for a few hundred bucks it had a set neck, bound fretboard, high quality finish, etc. It need a fret job and a good setup and a better set of pickups, but other than that it’s great (but sitting in a case until I sell it – I think I prefer Baritone 7 strings).

I highly recommend the LTDs for someone looking for a good inexpensive guitar.

At the higher end, such as ESP, Anderson, Zion, etc. I generally think most of it is a rip off. I have two guitars custom built for me by a luthier in San Diego using off the shelf parts (Strat style, scalloped necks) and Warmoth finished bodies and necks, and I’ll put those up against any Anderson and they were a fraction of the cost (maybe $1500 at most in parts & labor vs. $3000+ for a Suhr, Anderson, etc.)

I tend to agree. I’ve got several guitars that are worth upwards of $2,000 or more, but I’d never pay that much. At a certain point (in my experience it’s usually around the $1,000 mark) you reach the point of diminishing returns – in so far as playability and tone are concerned.)


Any guitar I’ve paid over a grand for wasn’t worth it.

I had a Jackson neck-through (Grover made) didn’t sound “right”
I had a Steve Vai Jem guitar–never stayed in tune.
The Jackson bolt-on I have (also Grover-made) has been rock solid. It listed for almost 2g, but I got it for $700.
I have an Ibanez–I forget the model, that’s also quite good.

I enjoyed the ESPs I’ve played, but never played an Edwards.

I so know what you mean. I recently bought a USA-made, neck-through Jackson Kelly ($999) that I love, but have owned two other Jacksons over the years that, yeah, no matter what I did to them, they just wouldn’t sound “right.” They were both thin-sounding (regardless of which pickups I tried) and had no sustain.


That sounds right. The bolt-on Jackson rocks. I used to play it through a Marshall Artist Head and 2
4x10s. That fucker growled. Zero tuning problems. I’d snap 2-3 strings in one session and floater never went out.

I’ve also got a '62 reissue I replaced the stock pickups with I think the EMGs that were the humbuckers in a single-coil.

I’d really like to get an American Charvel with the gold logo.

I need to play more. It’s been years since I’ve played.

There are generally three things you pay for in a guitar:

  • the name
  • quality of components
  • appearance

You can easily pay $1000+ for a guitar just because it has hot shit top of the line components but might have fairly mundane woods (e.g. alder body, maple fretboard, etc.).

My guitars have boutique shit on them, because I finally ‘designed’ my guitars to fit my exact playing style. They use common woods instead of crazy shit like bubinga or korina or walnut – one is alder, the other is swamp ash (both the common Strat). They both have maple necks, one with a rosewood fretboard and the other with a pau ferro (slightly exotic) fretboard.

They’re both scalloped, which adds to the cost.

Nothing crazy so far. Now, locking tuning machines, which I HAVE to have – that adds a $50 or so to the cost right there. I think I have Schallers, although the Sperzels are just as nice. I use Fender Amer Std. tremolos, one is blocked and the other floats. Not too exotic, although you do pay more for it than some generic Gotoh or something.

Pickups consume a lot of money too. One of mine has a Lawrence L-500 (inexpensive) but then two Kinman single coils (expensive, but not like Van Zandt expensive). The other has an EMG 89/SA/SA w/ EXG system, which is like $200+ for the set. Maybe close to $300. On the passive model I have a crazy 5-way mega-selector that lets me automatically coil tap based on position so I get a Tele sound in the mid position and humbucker in the #1 position (instad of a single coil).

Finally, one of the guitars (the swamp ash one) has a flame maple top. Both have gorgeous finishes, which also add cost.

You could build functionally identical guitars for half the price if you went with a natural urethane finish, no locking tuners, unscalloped, fairly standard pickups, Gotoh or other common bridge (or a fixed bridge), and/or got seconds on the bodies/necks.

You could also build functionally identical guitars for double the price if you went with some really exotic woods (koa body or goncalo alves neck w/ Brazilian rosewood fretboard), build styles (set-neck or neck-through-body) or components like a real Floyd Rose trem ($170+ for that alone).

For those curious, here’s what they look like:

My friend took his Jem 555 back for the same reason, something to do with the trem it uses. My brother doesnt have any probs with his Jem 7VWH tho.

I was looking at some of the ESP customs, including the new ones announced this year. For the GBP 3000-4000 most are though, you could get a custom one built to spec from a luthier, 2 even.