1991 / 1999 - ESP MX-250 - Guitars Collector

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ESP MX-250

ESP M (Metallica) X (eXplorer) - 250 (price in yen) II (2 pickups)
Called also MX-250II or MX-250-2 or today MX-II or MX-2.
It appears officially in the 1993 catalog.

- year: from 1991 to 2000 (from 2000 only available for Japanese market as custom order), Japan Custom Shop
- MSRP: Y250/270 ~ $3000/3300 (today a custom order in Japan can cost $6000/$7000)
- shape: respect MX-220 have more sharp points (no banana headstock), slightly longer body (bottom strap button to tip of headstock), switch moved further away from the volume pots, no step in the neck. Single screw bell shaped truss rod cover changed in 1997 to bullet style truss rod cover.
- construction: set neck (no step between body and neck)
- neck: mahogany
- body: mahogany
- fingerboard: ebony 22 frets XJ with pearl dot inlays, 24.75" scale (628mm)
- electronics: active EMG 81 (bridge) / 81 (neck), Volume, Tone, Toggle 3 way selector
- hardware: Gotoh tuners, Gotoh ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar.

- logos and serials:
-- front of headstock: "ESP Custom" light grey/gold glittered logo for black guitars, black/gold glittered for white guitars
-- back of headstock: XXXXXXXX (8 digits) serial number stamped in white or black (NO "ESP Custom Guitars" circle logo), follow the ESP Serial Numbers Legenda.
You can deduct the production data from the serial (or papers if you have it).

Some records:

1991 151115XX; 181115XX

1992 140721XX; 170721XX; 270722XX;

1993 250230XX; 19033XXX; 24043XXX;

1994 → 240549XX;
1995 150352XX; 270559XX;

1996 150464XX; 221065XX; 231067XX;

1997 → 230770XX; → In September 1997 they changed from BELL to BULLETT truss rod cover.

1998 161080XX;

1999 050392XX; 271090XX; In September 1999 they changed bridge type: from ABR-1 (slim) to Nashville (fat).

2000 080100XX; 17020185; 230202XX; 060302XX; 270404XX; DISCONTINUED! → K00XXXXX; (new serial code)

2001 K01XXXXX

2002 K02XXXXX

2003 K03XXXXX

2004 K04XXXXX

2005 K05XXXXX

2006 K06XXXXX

2007 K07XXXXX

2008 K08XXXXX

2009 K09XXXXX

2010 K10XXXXX; T10XXXXX;

2011 K11XXXXX

2012 K12XXXXX

2013 K13XXXXX

2014 K14XXXXX (start to use "ESP Custom" world gold logo in back of headstock)

2015 K15XXXXX

2016 EXXXX162 (new serial code)

2017 EXXXX172

2018 EXXXX182

2019 EXXXX192
2020 → EXXXX202

If you have other records please help me!!

- colors and other features: Black, Olympic White, Snow White. They comes out with leather gigbag, optional was the ESP hardcase.
- notes: This is the most famous model that James Hetfield use.
To the new design of the MX-220 was given the name MX-250.

The body style of the old ESP Explorer (MX-220, MX-250, EXP) was retired due to Gibson Lawsuit in 2000, and a new body called "EX" was introduced.
Starting from 2000 the MX-250 model was available only for Japan custom orders (called MX-2). They made only few every year at Kiso or Tokyo factory, BOTH are made by hands as custom order (so they have same quality).
I really don't understand how Gibson have won this lawsuit because the shapes are very different from Gibson explorer, and it's hilarious that Gibson in 2012 release the "Epiphone 1984 Explorer EX" copying control pot configuration of ESP MX-220/250/EXP for revenge.

LIMITED EDITIONS - Called in Japan "Special Interest Group"

They are all custom orders, no production series.
In the early 90's if you want a guitar like one used by James, you have only to ask at the custom shop.
So at today only few are available, the ones built as custom order from rich metallica fans on early 90's...

"MAN TO WOLF" inlays, about 10 pieces made.
Until now I've tracked 5 of them (including the original owned by James Hetfield).

SERIAL: ????1??? (Do you have a pic of the back of the headstock? Please contact me!)
The first and original owned by James Hetfield. It have 2 screw truss rod "bell" cover. Was in exposition at ESP Museum (above the ESP Craft House in Shibuya, Tokyo). In 2019 James start to use it again on live gig!

N.02 - made in 1992
SERIAL: 14072XXX (made on July 14, 1992)
This guitar was found in Japan by Erick-KKV and sold in 2015 to "ezguitars.net" (Singapore). Thanks to "ezguitars.net":
"Back in 1991-92, when James was using this guitar extensively on the Roam tour, ESP in Japan made a special limited run of these guitars called the Metallica Special Interest Group. Today, 25 years later, how many were actually made is unknown, but I'm guessing that it's about 10... max. Apparently some that were made were recalled before they were sold. If you wonder, "why on earth did they not make more in all that time?" I can think of a few reasons. Firstly, it was extremely expensive for its time. The casual guitar fan would not be expected to buy it (hence 'special interest group') and guitar snobs with the dough would never touch such a heavy metal-looking guitar. The "signature guitar" market as we know it today did not really exist, and the ESP guitar company itself, was much smaller. Secondly, they were available to the domestic Japan market only. Thirdly, as was the case with the MX220 Eet Fuk, it may have offended James to know that his creations were being sold to the masses and so ordered ESP to desist."

N.03 - made in 1992
SERIAL: 17072XXX (made on July 17, 1992)
owned by Tetsuya of Metallica Japan Official Fan Club.
Metallica signatures on the back (taken at 2013 meet&greet), covered by a plexiglass panel.

N.04 - made in 1992

SERIAL: 27072XXX (smade on July 27, 1992)
This guitar was found into a Japan Shop in 2018 by Tayfun (Turkey).

N.05 - made in 1994
SERIAL: 24054XXX (so it was made on May 24, 1994)

- 1994 custom ordered by Armand Crump (Kerry King's guitar tech and great collector, died in 2012).

- 2011 sold to Erick-KKV.
- 2017 sold to Rick of SteelEdgeGuitars (Spain).
- 2019 sold to Remco of RJVGuitars (Netherlands).
- 2020 sold to Lluís Armengol (Andorra).

Some differernces between this one and others:

- white glittered ESP circle logo in the back of the headstock (like the EXP model for example);

- some differences into the inlays (less sharp);

- sperzel locking tuners.

"snake" inlays (220 body) - ONLY 3-4 pieces? (not sure).

I never seen another over the James one...

This is an example of a custom inlay work over a standard mx-250 to replicate James one.

If you have any doubt, feel free to ask me.

Example of MX-250 early version with BELL style truss rod cover

Example of MX-250 version with BULLETT style truss rod cover



[only custom order, about only 3 pieces made]

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