Thursday, January 16, 2014

Guitars and Guitar Players I've Never Heard Of. . .

16 January 2014

Perhaps a little off track for this blog, but it’s guitar-related. I’ll tie it all together at the end. Promise.

I’ve been cleaning house recently and I ran across a very nice, full-color 2011 ESP guitar catalog on my desk last night. No idea where I got it. I’ve never owned an ESP guitar. I’m not sure I’ve ever played one. I’ve seen them at GC, but that’s it. Anyway, I thumbed through the catalog before I tossed it in the trash and concluded that I am really out of touch musically speaking.

This was a fairly thick catalog – about 5/16” or so and it was chock full of guitar players who supposedly play ESP axes. (I’m sure they DO play ESP axes – because ESP probably not only gives them the guitars for free but also customizes them in U.S. custom shops so that their guitars bear almost no resemblance to the Korean-made ESP guitars sold at GC. But, that’s beside the point.) The point I was actually getting to was that, out of the dozens of artists in this catalog, I only recognized maybe 6 names – mostly of bands, not the artists themselves.

I think there were maybe a couple of guys who have played for Ozzie and one guy who plays for Alice Cooper. I, of course, recognized the guy from Slayer and Hetfield & Hammett from Metallica. But, that’s it. Most of ESP’s endorsed artists are guys I’ve never heard of who play for bands I’ve never heard of. There was one super-hot Asian-looking girl bass player, but I’d never heard of her or her band before. And, other than her, honestly, it kind of seemed like all you have to do to get endorsed by ESP is have a LOT of tattoos. Maybe ESP markets its stuff strictly to hard-core metal heads. Nothing wrong with that. All I know is that I was surprised there were so many endorsed musicians running around within the past 2 years that I’ve never even heard of. If my son hasn’t already taken out the trash, I’ll post some of the names and y’all can tell me if you’ve ever heard of any of these players or bands – and whether they’re any good.

Tie in to blog: Not a single one of the bands or artists I saw is represented on Rocksmith. (Alice Cooper has one song on RS, but the guy who played an ESP guitar for Alice Cooper in 2011 wasn’t even born when No More Mr. Nice Guy was recorded. I guarantee it.)

Speaking of guitar brands and people I’ve never heard of, my boss turned me on to some really cool looking guitars out of Chattanooga, TN by some dude named John Backlund. Check them out here: . This is not an ad or endorsement. My boss saw a Musician’s Friend catalog on my desk today and literally told me to browse the Internet to find this guy’s website and check it out. I’m just sharing it with you. I’d never heard of John Backlund before and I don’t know if his guitars are any good or not, but they’re damn cool looking! And, they can’t be too bad – Joe Walsh’s picture is right there on the Artists page holding one. No idea what they sell for. A lot, I suspect. But, maybe not. T-shirts are only $15. That’s less than you’ll usually pay for a Fender or Gibson T-shirt (although Musician’s Friend has some Fender T-shirts on sale for $10, as long as you don’t wear L).
I know this post had almost nothing to do with Rocksmith, but it happens. I actually do have a life outside of RS and honestly I didn’t have anything very Rocksmithy on my mind today.


  1. Just a note - I play an ESP LTD and really like it. A couple things to remember about them is that 1) they are a Japanese company and therefor have a more global view and 2) they are a "second" teir company like Jaskon or schecter or Charvel - tho i think Jackson, Schecter and Charvel have been bought up by Fender/gibson. Anyway, they are going to be able to support more smaller artist and up and coming artists. Further, they will always lose some of the players who just wanted to get sponsored on their way to Fender or whoever.

    Of note George Lynch of Dokken is/was one of their guys and his defining guitar - tiger striped super strat - is an ESP from the 80s.

    I think Children of Bodem and Meshugga (who are ESP players) are bigger on the world metal stage than in the US.

    Have fun

    1. Tim - Good points. I certainly wasn't knocking ESP guitars. Like I said, I don't know that I've ever even played one. But, I can tell you the main reason I've never picked one up - I don't like the way they use the model number as a 12th fret marker. It just turns me off, so I've never given them a fair shot. (I have this thing about fret markers. . . )

      I have to admit, when it comes to metal, my exposure is limited to Metallica and Megadeth.

  2. Doris Yeh, bassist of ChthoniC (korean metal band) being endorsed by ESP, I guess she might be the hot asian girl ;). or maybe not, there are a lot of other hot asian girls playing music :).
    ESP is known to be a used by a lot of metal bands, many metalcore guitarists are endorsed by them, so I'm not surprised that most of them are not well-known (yet ? ^^), as this is a "smaller" community and much less "mainstream" music style.
    I would probably know most of the bands mentioned but probably not the guitarists names :).

    About Rocksmith, I was already surprised to see a Slayer or Avenged Sevenfold song in the "default" playlist, but this is not surprising that many of those "ESP bands" are not there (personaly, none of the bands I listen the most are there, mostly melodic metal or melodic death metal).
    Moreover Rocksmith has to please to a lot of people so there is a really wide range of styles, choices had to be made :)

    1. kg - Yep. You got it - Doris Yeh was the hot Asian bass-player I saw in the ESP catalog. Wow! Never seen her before. I'll have to listen to some Chthonic and see if I like it. Fortunately, I won't have to walk into a record store and ask for it - I'd have no idea how to pronounce it.