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Back in 1975, a small Tokyo shop opened its doors making and selling custom-built parts for the most popular guitars of the day. Eventually, that small shop began building its own guitars, eventually growing into the ESP of today. Ever since entering the American market in the '80s, ESP has had a reputation for its outstanding instruments, which include a great selection of extended-range electric guitars. One of ESP's best-loved product lines is the LTD series, which makes some of the guitar world's most famous designs accessible to any guitarist. You'll find a lot of familiar looks in this lineup, from the Explorer-style body of the 7-string EX-307 to the dovetail LV307 or the classic shape of the EC-407. If you want to push the envelope with 8 strings, check out the H-338 with ESP ALH-208 pickups or its EMG 808-sporting big brother, the H-308.
If you're looking for a premium ESP guitar built by experienced Japanese luthiers, set your sights on the E-II series guitars. These high-end instruments offer an alder body with a maple neck and Gotoh tuners. On the Horizon 7, you also get a Gotoh T.O.M. bridge and tailpiece, along with EMG's 81-8 pickup at the bridge and the 707 at the neck. To crank things up even higher, try the Horizon FR-7, which adds a flamed maple top and Floyd Rose tremolo bridge - not to mention the Seymour Duncan SH-14 and SH-2 pickups to make the most of that bridge. With the FR-7, there really isn't much you can't play - but if you're still craving more, then you'll want the eighth string on the E-II HRF NT-8B. This king of the E-II lineup comes with Seymour Duncan AHB series active pickups to push even the lowest notes with clarity.
Which ESP extended-range electric guitar is right for you? That's up to you to decide. Think about which design appeals to you the most, which pickups you like best and whether you'd prefer to stick to the LTD series or go all-out for the E-II guitars. The first step to getting an instrument you're proud to own is making a careful decision, but it's safe to say that any of these ESP guitars is a great choice as long as it's what you're looking for in an axe.
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