NB(aritone)D: "Why didn't anyone tell me about the ESP Ultratone?" Edition

Agalloch

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I've recently learned the wonders of ordering guitars from Japan--particularly weird ESP guitars. I've also been on the outlook for a good, high-quality baritone and have encountered slim pickings. But then this used ESP Ultratone popped up at a Japanese music store. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was a baritone with a 27-inch scale length. I didn't even realize ESP made this thing, because you obviously can't find them stateside (and I don't think they produce many for the domestic market either). There's even a 7-string version!

So here I had the opportunity to own an ESP Original baritone for less than the cost of an E-II. Can't turn that down, right? No!

It only took about a week to get to me and, despite being used, it's in exceptional condition. Plays fucking great with a super smooth neck and exceptional fretwork. I'm not sure what gauge strings are on this thing, but they felt too floppy in B standard so it's tuned to C at the moment.

Interestingly, these things come standard with Seymour Duncan Black Winter pickups. They sound good to me, if a bit trebly (as one might expect from "black metal" pickups) with my current presets, so I'll have to adjust a bit to account for the high-end.

The guitar body is also unique in construction: it's comprised of bubinga, maple, and mahogany. Obviously you can't see the layers on the black version, but there's a natural finished one where you can the pieces of the wood sandwich. I would have preferred that version, but black is cool too.

I know a lot of people won't like the shape, but I dig it. I don't particularly like the SG body shape and I find this rounded, offset take on it much more attractive.

Pics below! And, as a bonus, I've attached pics of my other score from Japan: a kickass ESP Stream GT Classic. It's another weirdly-shaped ESP that fucking rules.
 

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ChrispyFinch

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both are rad, great finds. The stream looks WAY better than Nergal's signature stream, id actually own one of these pastel colored ones.
 

Agalloch

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both are rad, great finds. The stream looks WAY better than Nergal's signature stream, id actually own one of these pastel colored ones.

Agreed. It sucks that the only version of the Stream guitar they've released in the States is the Nergal one. Bleh. ESP has some really cool shapes I wish they'd do more with. I mean, I love the Horizon but give us some other stuff!
 

Emperor Guillotine

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The Ultratones are a standard, commonplace model over in Japan. Both the 6-string and 7-string version are still manufactured by ESP and still readily available to purchase new or used. And they are cheap, cheap, cheap.

The Ultratones were just never meant to be offered outside of the Japanese domestic market. One of those “Japan only” models amongst the many, many that ESP offers and that we don’t see here in the West/USA. Some other examples being the Stream as a guitar and not a bass body shape (prior to the Nergal signature model), the Amorous aka now the Mystique (prior to the Javier Reyes signature model), the Throbber, the original Aero, and so much more.
 

Agalloch

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They’re both sick, but that stream is doing something special for me.

Where do you order these from?

I ordered both from Ikebe: https://www.ikebe-gakki.com/

They're a very reputable music store chain in Japan. They also have a Reverb store but the prices are much higher there.

Occasionally, some really great used ESP and Ibanez guitars will pop up (and presumably others, but I don't really look at their listings for Gibsons, Fenders, etc.).

But even a lot of their new ESP Originals are much cheaper than the prices in the States. For example, you can get a Snapper 7 direct from Ikebe for around $3000 after shipping, versus the $4k prices from American dealers. Of course, there are some better deals than that, but it's just one example.

They also pack super well and provide tracking.
 


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