Tell Me About My 'ESP M-1 CUSTOM'

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by bigislandpaisan, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. bigislandpaisan

    bigislandpaisan Member

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    I have this ESP M-1 CUSTOM, which I bought in 1988, and about which I know nothing. Being a Strat guy, I never played it; I just bought it cause the shop gave me what I thought was great price if I bought it along with an amp I was after - I got the guitar, the case, and a new Marshall 4001 (Studio 15) for three bills. Over the years I've tried researching it, but always came up short - even what's left of ESP couldn't tell me anything. Can anyone tell from the images of its Japanese; American; worth much; why it has a Jackson-looking headstock, etc? Any info would help.

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  2. Pushead

    Pushead Member

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    Definitely MIJ, well past the time of the NY shop. Mid 80s looks right for the guitar. Maple neck through with alder wings. ESP used the similar style to Jackson headstock in those days. They didn't make the switch to their current style of "knife-stock" until 89 or 90.

    I'd have to look inside the neck pickup cavity to confirm, but it's likely that it only had the bridge pickup when it was made. Because of the deep lower cutaway (called a scult in ESP lingo) ESP usually used a very slanted single coil as a neck pickup, and then typically called it an M-II (for 2 pickups). The "Custom" designation was given because it's neck-through. Bolt-ons were called "Deluxe."

    In the condition, I'd suspect around $500USD for it. Perhaps more for the right buyer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
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  3. Grenville

    Grenville Member

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    I believe the ESP factory at that time also made the Kramer "American Series" guitars.

    I had an ESP M-II Deluxe (bolt-neck) from that era that was lovely, the vibrato worked better when I took the lock-nut off and replaced it with a Graphtec nut though.
     
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  4. bigislandpaisan

    bigislandpaisan Member

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    Wow. Thanks guys. So nice to finally hear from people who know something about these guitars. Preciate the info!
     
  5. Pointy Headstock

    Pointy Headstock Member

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    Agree emphatically with Pushead (with the exception of Custom vs. Deluxe)

    * MIJ - The black smudge on the back of the headstock was/is a "Made in Japan" ink stamp.

    * Likely made somewhere between 86-89. (I have an 87 Phoenix with the same black MIJ stamp and headstock shape). Jackson did actually send a cease and desist over that headstock design.

    * Neck thru ESPs from the mid 80s frequently had their serial numbers stamped at the base of the fret board (closest to the body).

    * Definitely looks like pickups were replaced. I agree with Pushead that the neck pickup and 2nd volume knob are almost certainly post factory mods- the placement of the neck pickup ring so close to the sculpt does NOT look like it would be acceptable to an ESP Japan luthier from that era). The original Floyd Rose might also be a mod (upgrade actually). My Phoenix and MIIs from the same era all had ESP "Sinclair" Floyd clone bridges.

    * ESP has used "Custom" Deluxe" and "Standard" to mean several different things over the years. During this time period "Custom" denoted 24 frets and "Deluxe" denoted 22 frets (same held true for bolt-ons from this era).

    * Unmodded I've seen M1's go for $800-1200 (pinkbursts seem to fetch a premium). ESP models from "before Metallica" seem to be a harder sell. With the mods and chips/dings $700 is probably about what you'll be able to fetch (and it is liable to take awhile).

    Good luck- Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  6. bigislandpaisan

    bigislandpaisan Member

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    Ah. Cool. That's why I took a shot of that ink stamp. In case anyone recognized what is was. Funny, not knowing much about these guitars I never would've thought the neck pup and knob were mods. really interesting. And now the neck pup ring being on top of that sculpt sticks out like a sore thumb. No serial # on the neck heel or elsewhere though. Always wondered what the 'custom' denoted. Awesome info you guys. More than I ever expected. Thanks!

    Btw, any idea if I could expect any issues if I strung it by tightening the bridge string compression blocks (or whatever they're called) on the 'ring' - or whatever THAT thing's called called too :)0 - that the strings come wound around on one end, rather than cutting it off and clamping down on the string itself? The latter way is how I strung it that one and only time all those years ago, but I never asked if there was a specific way it was supposed to be done.

    Also, the neck is dead straight with the strings off but when they were on (just before I took them off the other day to clean it) the string height was very high. So I guess I gotta figure out how to set up this alien life form of a tremolo (to a strat guy, that is). So any tips on that would be welcomed too!
    Thanks again!
     
  7. JeffK

    JeffK Member

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    I would not recommend stringing a Floyd like that (don't clamp the ball ends into the bridge).

    Unless you're just looking to flip it, it might be worthwhile to take it to a luthier or tech for your initial setup if you're unfamiliar with a Floyd. They could get it set up just the way you like and probably give you tips on how to maintain it.

    Cool guitar, btw.
     
  8. Pointy Headstock

    Pointy Headstock Member

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    If you don't have experience with restringing a Floyd equipped guitar, I would take the guitar to reputable local shop and ask their set up guy to show you how to restring it.

    Take it from a guy that learned this too late with his first Floyd equipped guitar- the bridge saddles on Floyds are actually fairly soft metal, so the key is to gently tighten the bare string ends into the saddle blocks with just enough tension applied to lock them in place. If you crank the saddle to what feels "locked tight" you will likely deform (and need to replace) the saddle block.

    Pushead is correct that ESP changed their use of the term "Custom" on the headstock of standard production models to denote neck thru starting in the early or mid 90s. Having said that ESP also put "Custom" on the headstocks of many guitars that were custom orders during the same time period.

    Ha- JeffK gave almost identical advice while I was typing this!
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  9. winterblu

    winterblu Supporting Member

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    Heed this advice. I had no experience with Floyds and took a Kramer Am. Series model to a really good tech in my area who's well experienced with them and he did a great set up on it but it took him more than an hour to get it right. Had I attempted the job it would more than likely have ended with an entire afternoon wasted and being frustrated with a subsequent trip to the shop.
     
  10. Pointy Headstock

    Pointy Headstock Member

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    You might want to pull the pickups while the strings are off as you might have some unexpected gems. Two of MIIs I've owned came stock with Duncan distortion pickups that had been wound by "DDJ" (now head winder in the Duncan custom shop) and I had a Horizon at one point that came stock with hand signed "SB" Dimarzio Super Distortions.
     
  11. bigislandpaisan

    bigislandpaisan Member

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    Cool heads up, pointy headstock. Will definitely do that and see what I find!
    And funny about your other advice.... Even though I only strung that guitar once - 27 yrs ago - I vividly remember thinking 'how can these blocks lock down a thin string (especially the unwound)' and therefore did precisely what you said not to; I cranked those blocks down insanely tight. And when I tried to loosen them the other day, I remembered just how tight I made them.
    Hopefully they aren't damaged, but I'll definitely follow everyone's advice and be taking the guitar to a tech experienced with that Floyd. I wasn't planning on flipping it, but even if I did, I'd still like to get it set up beautifully, just how I like it, to see what it feels like. It's definitely a beautiful guitar, and I'd like to give it the respect of getting it in proud condition regardless of what I do with it.
    Thanks guys!
     
  12. Pushead

    Pushead Member

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    Interesting. I'd never heard that before. I have a Mirage Custom from probably 91, and figured the bolt-on/neck-through thing from catalogs.

    It certainly doesn't surprise me that ESP just up and changed how they name/refer to things. They still do it. lol. Luckily they still make fantastic guitars.
     
  13. bigislandpaisan

    bigislandpaisan Member

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    help.....bump...

    hello.
    i finally put some 8's on the guitar, and the string height is way high; especially by the high frets. if i max tighten the truss rod and the tremolo springs, it barely makes a difference; so something else is going on. im a lay person as far as floyd rose trems, so bare with me...
    Referring to my previously posted pics.... the two hex screws at the neck end of the bridge are bared down all the way; the knurled brass bushings they screw into are apparently tightened down all the way (but i cant access them now, as the strings are on); and there doesnt seem to be any other way to lower the strings - like saddle height screws; so im stuck and need help.

    any suggestions?
    thanks!
     
  14. bigislandpaisan

    bigislandpaisan Member

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  15. Pushead

    Pushead Member

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    Is the bridge raised up at an angle, or is it sitting flat against the body? I don't mean just floating but level, I mean off the body like /

    If it's level, and the two hex screws are all the way in, you might have the action as low as it will go at the bridge. At that point, I'd suggest taking it to a tech that has more experience in that arena.
     
  16. bigislandpaisan

    bigislandpaisan Member

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  17. Mr. Mukuzi O

    Mr. Mukuzi O Member

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    sell it to me please!

    ESP don't ever know anything about there old guitars because there scared of a run on second hand guitars. they exist in a vacuum of there own making imo

    my old M1 from 86 had the same bridge pup
     

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