6/06/2012

c.1980 ESP Stratocaster Clone (400 Series?) Electric Guitar


This is a fantastic, Japanese-made, early 1980s Strat copy in a close-to Seafoam Green finish and boasting (purportedly) EMG Strat pickups. I haven't opened up the pickguard to check, but believe me, they sound 100% nice. Like the just-posted P-Bass, I also picked this up in trade today.

This guitar is something like a nice hybrid of 1960s and 1950s Strat aesthetics combined, with the same spot-on playability and excellent feel. It's a fast, comfortable guitar to play, and if you've heard the gossip on old ESP (Electric Sound Products) clones, you know just how good they are and how much harder it is to find one with the small Fender-style headstock vs. the later and more common "ESP style" headstock (similar to Peavey's cut on the T-60s).


My work included a fret level/dress and full setup as well as cleaning and fretboard conditioning. The guitar itself is almost entirely original with the exception of the volume knob, which is a replacement and reads "tone" instead.


Note the cool Kluson-style tuners with the split shafts. Vintage look, for sure! If this had the right decal popped on it'd be hard to tell the difference...


 Good rosewood board.


 Bridge shows rust and tarnish -- and why not? Adds authenticity...! The pickup covers are nicely "yellowed" and the pickguard is mint green.




It's hard to see, but the "ESP" mark is pressed into the wood at the back of the headstock. Otherwise, this guitar could be confused for a nice quality DIY kit instrument.



No skunk stripe on this neck, but the worn-in brass neck plate is pretty nice.


Comfortable tummy cut.


There's obvious use-wear on this guitar especially on its edges and "lower bout" but overall it's pretty darn clean for an early-80s workhorse. This model later became known under the "400 Series" line, but the only markings to betray this one's origin are on the back of the headstock with a pressed-in, thin-line "ESP."

1 comment:

ZedStone1 said...

I have blonde colored telecaster with the same headstock stamp, same fretboard ( i was told it was Brazilian rosewood at the time). I don't know anything about it really, except it sounds beautiful when it's not even plugged in, has a large sound and rings great. and when i got it, it was the greatest score ever. Guitar shop i bought it from went outta business before they collected. was supposed to be a $1800 bill, and i got it for $300. sold my custom les paul over this 1.it's simply too good to get rid of.