10 Guitarists Who Play ESP Guitars

ESP guitars have grown in fame and reputation ever since their founding in Tokyo in 1975. Known for their sleek design and versatility, they have been the instrument of choice for many rockstars.

But just who are these guitarists that love to shred on an ESP? Let’s dive right into it!

1. James Hetfield (Metallica)

The Master of Puppets Himself.

When we think of Metallica, powerful riffs and crushing soundscapes come to mind. At the forefront of this sonic assault is James Hetfield with his trusty ESP guitars.

  • Signature Model: James has multiple ESP signature models, with the ESP Snakebyte being one of the most popular.
  • Why ESP?: Known for their durability, Hetfield’s ESPs can withstand aggressive playing night after night.

Metallica’s sound has evolved over the decades, but James’ commitment to ESP has remained rock solid.

2. Kirk Hammett (Metallica)

Shredding the Night Away.

Another member of Metallica is on the list! Kirk Hammett, the band’s lead guitarist, is as synonymous with ESP as his counterpart, James.

  • Signature Model: The ESP KH-2 is his most recognized signature model, adorned with his famous “Ouija” design.
  • ESP and Kirk: Kirk has relied on ESP for their fast necks, allowing him to nail those speedy solos and intricate scales.

Hammett’s choice clearly showcases ESP’s capability to handle both rhythm and lead sections with flair.

3. George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob)

Mr. Scary’s Choice

As the legendary axeman for Dokken and Lynch Mob, George Lynch‘s guitar prowess is nothing short of iconic.

  • Signature Model: The ESP Kamikaze is what you’ll often see George shredding on.
  • Why ESP?: Lynch loves ESP’s playability and their unique custom designs.

Being a guitar virtuoso, George’s partnership with ESP ensures that he always has the tools needed to execute his complex riffs and solos.

4. Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom)

Melodic Death Metal Maestro.

The late, great Alexi Laiho was known for blending shred-tastic solos with melodic sensibilities.

  • Signature Model: The ESP Alexi series, especially the Pink Sawtooth, is an embodiment of his style.
  • Alexi’s ESP Journey: Alexi cherished the razor-sharp tones and comfort that ESP provided, making it a staple for his aggressive playing style.

Alexi’s legacy lives on, and his choice of ESP guitars played a significant role in crafting his distinctive sound.

5. Stephen Carpenter (Deftones)

Tones as Thick as the Riffs.

Stephen Carpenter’s nuanced playing, blending heavy riffs with ambient textures, defines Deftones’ sound.

  • Signature Model: Stephen’s choice, the ESP Stef-T7B, is a 7-string beast.
  • ESP’s Contribution: The extended-range guitars by ESP perfectly cater to Stephen’s need for deep, resonant tones and atmospheric cleans.

In the realm of alternative metal and rock, Carpenter’s sound, backed by ESP, stands out.

6. Willie Adler (Lamb of God)

Metalcore’s Riff Machine.

When it comes to modern metalcore and groove metal, few can deliver riffs as potent as Willie Adler.

  • Signature Model: The ESP WAR-BIRD is his weapon of choice.
  • Why ESP?: Willie leans towards ESP for their raw power and tonal clarity, essential for Lamb of God’s intricate yet heavy sound.

Adler’s riffing is a testament to how ESP guitars can handle aggressive down-tuning while retaining clarity.

7. Gus G. (Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne)

From Power Metal to the Prince of Darkness.

Gus G.’s lightning-fast solos and melodic approach to metal make him one of the most sought-after guitarists today.

  • Signature Model: The ESP Gus G. NT is a sleek, powerful guitar designed to cater to Gus’s every need.
  • ESP and Gus: Known for its comfort and easy playability, Gus relies on ESP when performing intricate solos at breakneck speeds.

Whether he’s playing with Firewind or alongside Ozzy, Gus trusts ESP to deliver every time.

8. Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy)

The Groove Metal Pioneer.

Max Cavalera’s riffs are instantly recognizable, drawing from thrash, punk, and traditional Brazilian music.

  • Signature Model: The ESP LTD Max Cavalera AX is designed to mirror his aggressive playing style.
  • Why ESP?: Max loves the robust nature of ESPs and their ability to stay in tune even in the most chaotic live situations.

Cavalera’s association with ESP is a testament to the brand’s adaptability across various metal sub-genres.

9. Michael Paget (Bullet For My Valentine)

Metalcore’s Melody Maestro.

Bullet For My Valentine’s blend of melodic hooks and heavy riffs owe a lot to Michael Paget’s guitar work.

  • Signature Model: The ESP LTD MP-600 Michael Paget Signature is a testament to his sonic requirements.
  • ESP’s Edge: Michael leans towards ESP for their blend of aesthetics, playability, and powerful output, vital for BFMV’s sound spectrum.

In the world of melodic metalcore, Paget’s tone stands as a beacon, and ESP plays a pivotal role in achieving that.

10. Andy James (Solo, Five Finger Death Punch)

Shred Sensation.

Andy James is a modern guitar virtuoso known for his immaculate technique and melodic sense.

  • Signature Model: The ESP LTD AJ-1 Andy James Signature speaks volumes of his precise requirements.
  • ESP’s Precision: Andy requires guitars that can keep up with his technical prowess. ESP’s attention to detail, especially in fretwork and neck comfort, makes them ideal for him.

Whether he’s performing a blistering solo or laying down a groove, Andy trusts ESP to deliver the goods.

ESP guitars, as you can see, aren’t limited to a single genre or style. They cater to a diverse range of artists, from the heaviest metalcore bands to rock ‘n roll legends. The brand’s commitment to quality, innovation, and artist collaboration ensures that it remains a top choice for musicians around the world. Whether you’re a budding guitarist or a seasoned pro, there’s probably an ESP out there that’s perfect for you.