The Definitive Guide to ESP Navigator History Post Mid 1990s

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by Ramon Goose, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. Ramon Goose

    Ramon Goose Senior Member

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    First off..

    In 2001 ESP had available the Navigator N-LP 380 with black plastic covers and a spear head one screw truss rod with the following specs:


    BODY: Hard Maple Top & Honduras Mahogany Back
    NECK: Honduras Mahogany / Honduras Rosewood, 22Frets
    SCALE: 24 3/4"
    JOINT: Set-Neck
    BRIDGE: Tune-matic
    (Aluminium Tailpiece)
    CONTROL: 2Volume, 2Tone
    COLOR: HSB, CHS, LD
    PRICE: 380,000yen


    ESP released the N-LP 280std in 2001 as new models...(not hard maple and not Honduras mahogany)

    NEW MODEL
    BODY: Maple Top & Mahogany Back
    NECK: Mahogany / Rosewood,
    22Frets
    SCALE: 24 3/4"
    JOINT: Set-Neck
    NECK P.U: Seymour Duncan SH-1n
    (The '59)
    BRIDGE P.U: Seymour Duncan SH-4(JB)
    BRIDGE: Tune-matic / Stop Tailpiece
    CONTROL: 2Volume, 2Tone
    COLOR: Honey burst, Gold top
    PRICE: 280,000yen


    And also the 280 CTM which was a cheaper version of the Navigator Custom guitar you can tell the difference between this and the more expensive nitro custom by the gold pickup covers on the more expensive one vs the poly custom with the pickup covers removed.


    BODY: Maple Top & Mahogany Back
    NECK: Mahogany / Ebony,
    22Frets
    SCALE: 24 3/4"
    JOINT: Set-Neck
    NECK P.U: Seymour Duncan SH-1n
    (The '59)
    BRIDGE P.U: Seymour Duncan SH-4(JB)
    BRIDGE: Tune-matic / Stop Tailpiece
    CONTROL: 2Volume, 2Tone
    COLOR: Black
    PRICE: 280,000yen

    The N-LP 280std and the 280 CTM only ran for 1 year, you can tell the 280 - it does not have the word LIMITED on the headstock. In 2002 ESP started up the Edwards brand.

    The long and short is the 280 has a poly finish and cheaper woods so essentially it is an early prototype for the Edwards brand

    Up to 2007 the flagship model was the Navigator N-LP 380 in 2008 it changed to N-LP 480 and the rest of line also reflected the price increase
     

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  2. villager

    villager Senior Member

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    there is one production model, 380 and later 480, there were also, from 2001 to 2007 many higher custom built model same for after 2007, and before 2001 there was no ltd on the headstock but all were nitro and with same or better specs than the 380s. 280 are goldtop or honeyburst plaintops, whereas the earlier pre 2001 are flametops, in many more colour variations...
     
  3. Ramon Goose

    Ramon Goose Senior Member

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    Let me enlighten you. sure you can ask ESP to make you anything you like but the 'custom' Navigator models were the 700 and 500.

    the 280 only ran for one year 2000/2001 until 2002.

    Before then it gets hazy (around the 1990s - 2001) sure if you go before the 1990s then you usually get Les Paul on the headstock but personally I'd beware of buying any navigator from the late 90s until 2001 with nothing on the headstock or an earlier ESP branded Les Paul type- some are good but some are poly and cheaper woods.

    The higher models were:

    in December 2001 they brought out the Navigator 700 NLP model it did not have a Brazilian fret board as standard but instead had Honduras rosewood - the reason for the 700,000 yen price tag was two things:

    Shellac Varnish and a highly figured top.

    As a featured model the N-LP 700 only ran until 2004 then they brought out the Navigator N-LP 500 and ESP abandoned the Shellac finish in favour of nitro as with the the N-LP 380.The N-LP 500 and had a 'Selected Flame Maple' top hence the bigger price tag at 500,000 yen. Again the N-LP came with a Honduras Rosewood board as standard - a lot of people think that the 700/500 models meant Brazilian boards - wrong- again people just make this stuff up.

    The Honduras rosewood board on my N-LP 480 looks very much like Brazilian Rosewood - personally I would say unless you have the ESP original paper certificate then i would not run to the conclusion that it is a Brazilian Board, nearly all 700 and 500 models were not Brazilian boards.

    to clear further confusion ....in 2007 the N-LP 500 became the N-LP 580 and ran for one more year before it was discontinued as a higher spec model.

    Bear in Mind ESP regularly makes featured special runs for example one year they did a run of Korina Navigator instruments.
     
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  4. Norton

    Norton Senior Member

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    Got any info on bacchus/deviser/77?
     
  5. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    It's going to be pretty difficult arriving at ironclad facts about Navi models and specs without the benefit of Japan domestic Navigator catalogs that spell everything out for those years.

    There were isolated examples of "limited model" script headstocks as early as 1999.

    I think finding out the reason or purpose behind the various Navi serial # formats would probably be helpful in sorting out which are special order and which are regular production models :

    - 7 + 8 digit numeric (8 digit are 1990's => early 2000's AFAIK)

    - 5 + 6 digit numeric Y #### + YY #### => 2000 - date

    - E series - EY #### => 2000 + 2001 (many of these are 280 model examples, Customs had a C after the #)

    - K series - KYY##### => 2002 ~ 2012 (includes honeyken releases)

    Y represents the production year # in above formats.

    If I spoke Japanese .. I would have politely inquired at ESP Japan about various serial # formats already. :D
     
  6. Ramon Goose

    Ramon Goose Senior Member

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    All my facts are ironclad - I have a great contact - also check out the thread on my 1997 navi I think i cracked the 8 digit serial
     
  7. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    oops .. :)
     
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  8. wulfman

    wulfman ABB Fan Premium Member

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    If the serial number dating system is ironclad then looks like my Edwards was from 1999.
     
  9. villager

    villager Senior Member

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  10. 6077dino

    6077dino Senior Member

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    k serials are regular Kiso ESP serials. E-serials are generally edwards (poly) guitars. And I agree, the safest bet is to buy Navigators with limited written in the headstock.

    You are also right about the fretboard material. Some rare few custom orders have brazilian but those are one offs. Regular production have Honduran, even the high spec ones.
     
  11. Ramon Goose

    Ramon Goose Senior Member

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    The N-LP 700 had Seymour Duncan antiquity pups and the N-LP 500/580 had ESP own brand of custom made pups
     
  12. villager

    villager Senior Member

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  13. villager

    villager Senior Member

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    i have a 500 with certificate, has seth lovers... original soldering
     
  14. JDB

    JDB Senior Member

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    I've had eddys from 89.
     
  15. Matty

    Matty Senior Member

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    But they only started in 2002. :shock::shock::shock:
     
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  16. JDB

    JDB Senior Member

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    Proto proto proto prototype to the prototype mate
     
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  17. Ramon Goose

    Ramon Goose Senior Member

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    No idea , your guess is as good as mine .

    I'm only asking in Japan about Navigator so why don't you email ESP yourself if you want to know about Edwards

    No mate, no prototypes of navigators were made I think you are confused

    Again the topic of this thread is Navigator not Edwards and in all honesty you probably know more about Edwards than I do . I've never actually played one let alone owned one but by all accounts they are great guitars

    Best
    R

    Interesting because they told me those 500 nlp's came with ESP's own brand of vintage style pups. The 700 came with antiquitys

    Well that clears that up

    But interesting as I heard 280 was discontinued when they started to promote the Edwards brand. Maybe I misunderstood

    There is a lot more cool info but I see folk here think I'm wrong (funny as I'm getting this info from a very cool source in Japan) so I'll let you guys finish the rest of the picture

    Peace
     
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  18. villager

    villager Senior Member

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    Ramon its always interesting to have information, but over the years that people have been following and dissecting MIJ one thing has become clear, nothing is set in stone, there are always exceptions, and what people tell you may have been correct for a certain time period, re the esp pups in the 500s, i have had quite a few documented 500s and not seen anything but seth lovers in them, there may well have been times during the period of 500 manufacture when esp did use their own pups, but I have never seen this, and it has not been documented or seen before, if you can find a reference to this or a pic with these pu in an NLP500 then I will be more convinced.I do have a 1995 LP-500 with original esp pickups in it so maybe this was the case pre limited series... .interesting on the braz boards tho..
     
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  19. Matty

    Matty Senior Member

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    I thought you had already posted the definitive history. :hmm:
     
  20. Ramon Goose

    Ramon Goose Senior Member

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    Yes about Navigator not Edwards ... Two different makes. Edwards is the cheaper brand
     

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