ESP navigator Qs

Frank1985

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How do the 380s/590s compare to the custom shops? Is there a reason the former are more expensive used? Do all series have the maple cap - if not which are plain mahogany? Does a maple cap make a significant difference in the tone? I play heavy downtuned rock and doom. I'm thinking that perhaps the maple has more of an effect on attack than overall tone though? Please enlighten me..
 
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ArchEtech

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If you are playing super high gain detuned stuff I don’t know that the top is going to make any discernible difference. I am pretty sure they all have maple caps though.

The navigators are really nice, but I’d look at the full thickness CTM, standard and if you want to spring USA and original series Japanese models too for heavy stuff.

For the money the E-II full thickness are really pretty great too.

A little research

The LTD models I’m not sure about. They use veneer for sure, and seem to vary a lot depending on how cheap or expensive within that line they are. They do have some full body thickness models and those probably have a maple cap.

E-II have thinner maple caps with a figure veneer.

Some of the older standard have full maple caps. The Standard series became the E-II somewhat recently.

The USA model are all full caps and are all thicker body, but maybe not as thick as the FT full thickness Japan models.

Japan Originsl series and signature series are their custom shops and have full maple and figured maple tops.

The Navigators are really Les Paul copes so they are going to emulate whatever reissue their my are going after.
 
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ArchEtech

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How do the 380s/590s compare to the custom shops? Is there a reason the former are more expensive used? Do all series have the maple cap - if not which are plain mahogany? Does a maple cap make a significant difference in the tone? I play heavy downtuned rock and doom. I'm thinking that perhaps the maple has more of an effect on attack than overall tone though? Please enlighten me..

The Navigators mimic traditional Les Paul models, reissues and such. I don’t know if they are true Japan custom shop, I don’t think so, they would be more like higher Gibson USA customs but not full reissues as far as where they fall. You can get white beauty and black beauty Navigator but I don’t know if they are all mahogany or have cap under the paint. I don’t know that it would matter THAT much. Original series and USA are still higher in the line up cost wise and build but not by much.

Navigator plain tops and figured tops are going to have full thickness caps and I think often a thicker body than Gibsons. They still tend to be a little lighter than Gibby. I have no idea if ESP does any weight relief or uses nicer woods (wouldn’t surprise me).

the quality of a Navigator is as nice as any Gibson other than made to measure and really expensive Gibson custom shops.

See update above for a little research. Verify what I wrote, don’t take it as gospel. There is a lot of variance all over with ESP and I’m not an expert.

The Navigators are going to be closest to typical Gibson.

Those other models will have more of an ESP take on a single cut. Great sounds but not the super dark thickness (often muddy to me) sound of big heavy Les Pauls.

Other than FT (full thickness) models, the ESP Eclipses have kind of a les Paul, Gibson SG hybrid sound to me, which is perfect for me. They are a little brighter and more crisp maybe. I mean when you have the gain up with high output pickups…….they feel different too with thinner bodies and body carving. They have deeper top carves and great ergonomics. The CTM (custom traditional model) have multiply body and neck bindings including the headstock.

The Jackson Monarkh is another one to check out. The pro models are really pretty good, and kind of a different take. If you’re looking for non traditional. They have a slab body, no top carve, and a little more edgy shape abs similar to an Eclipse. They are thicker than the esp but thinner than Les Paul’s. I have a custom shop Marty Friedman model that is super nice. More modern looking.

(The Gibson in my picture is a M2M Axcess so it’s slightly thinner body than a typical Gibson. If you are willing to spend the money the Axcess are super nice, abs better attention to detail than typical Gibson. That’s it next to the Jackson Monarkh cusrom Shop. The white one is an ESP original custom shop CTM. I like the clean, no inlay look so that’s what I got.)
 

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