Explorer Guitars

ESP copies Gibson copies ESP?


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ESP copies Gibson copies ESP?
« on: October 08, 2017, 06:03:18 AM »
So back in the day, we had the '84 Gibson Explorer; no scratch plate, and triangular layout controls

Then after a certain James Hetfield signed with ESP, they copied the design, changing the controls layout. This became known as the MX220 shape

A little while later, ESP sharpened the points a little, making them more acute, reduced the headstock size a little, kept the same control layout. This became known as the MX250 shape

Gibson didn't like ESP copying it's Explorer, either the MX220 shape, that was identical to the '84 Gibson shape, or the MX250 shape (which I'm not 100% sure if it's a direct copy of a Gibson, or just something ESP did to make it "more metal"), so they filed a lawsuit against ESP, stopping them from producing any more Explorers that copied Gibson's design.

Roll forward a bit and Gibson reissues it's '84 in original specs - note the correct triangular control layout

They also do an Epiphone version (several of which had already been done, based on the 58's and 76's). It's got the correct MX220/84 shape body, correct black headstock, but what - it's got black hardware, active EMG's, and that control layout looks incredibly familiar. Could it be that Gibson has copied ESP this time round with the Epiphone '84 reissue?

Cheeky Gibson..!

The trouble with this is, whilst the Epi '84 is an awesome looking guitar, for the purist it's a nightmare. If you want the '84 Gibson look of the MX220 shape with the black headstock it's great, but it's not got the right control layout for an '84 Gibson. And if you want an MX220 replica complete with the Hetfield control layout it's great - but it's got the wrong headstock colour (unless you buy a black one of course).

If they'd just stuck to the original '84 control layout, I'd be incredibly tempted to buy one (provided they do a lefty, which I'm not sure they do), as I already have a (lefty) MX250 shape black LTD


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Re: ESP copies Gibson copies ESP?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 04:33:18 AM »
Awesome post... I never really knew anything about the infamous Gibson lawsuit except that there was a lawsuit...