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NAMM 2017: ESP show Mastodon, Rancid and Anthrax signature models
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NAMM 2017: ESP show Mastodon, Rancid and Anthrax signature models

by Stephen Charlton2016/12/19

NAMM 2017 is due to kick off on January 19-22 and there’s a truckload of new gear being announced for the show. ESP has some of the most interesting releases revealed so far, but we can also expect new models from Gibson, Martin, Supro and many more.

Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher ESP and LTD signatures appearing

Mastodon riff monster Bill Kelliher has a pair of ESP models which will debut at NAMM 2017. They are the high end ESP Bill Kelliher and the budget-friendly LTD BK-600. Both guitars are based on the Eclipse body style, which borrows heavily from the Gibson Les Paul. They come armed with Kelliher’s Lace Dissonant Aggressor pickups.

Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen's ESP signature model.

Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen’s ESP LTD  signature model.

Rancid guitar slinger Lars Frederiksen signed to ESP in June, and the company have confirmed his new signature LTD model will appear at NAMM. The guitar is based on the ESP Viper shape (ie an angled variation on the Gibson SG). As a result it’s quite reminiscent of the recently announced Glenn Tipton signature. Frederiksen has gone for a distinctive camo finish rather than the loud red and black looks of the Judas Priest guitarist’s signature.

Thrash legends Anthrax kick off 2017 with signature models

NAMM 2017 ESP Anthrax Frank Bello modelThe ESP LTD Frank Bello signature model.

Anthrax bassist Frank Bello has an LTD Signature Series bass coming in 2017. Former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano, who now plays in Volbeat, is getting an updated version of his LTD signature with quilted maple top and silver accents. Lamb of God bassist John Campbell has a 2017 LTD Signature Series bass coming based on the Stream bass design.

And of course Metallica have a new album, Hardwired to Self-destruct, out this year. ESP releases updated Metallica guitars on a regular basis so we can expect some new axes at the show from James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett.

ESP has also given guitarists a peek at some 2017 models on Facebook, and no doubt we’ll see them at the show. They’ve revealed a number of super Strat designs: a mahogany-topped LTD M-400, LTD H-401M and a seven-string LTD Deluxe MH-1007ET with an Ever-tune bridge. Other releases include a LTD EC-256FM Les Paul-body in Cobalt Blue, the mean-looking five-string LTD F-155DX bass and new finishes for the semi-hollow body LTD Xtone PS-1 (Sea Foam Green being one).

ESP said they’d reveal the full line-up yesterday, but that has eventuated yet.

Supro, Gibson and Martin make big plans for NAMM 2017

US amp manufacturer Supro are launching a range of guitars soon. Their website has a tab stating “coming 2017”, although there’s no further information. We can expect the new axes to make a new showing at NAMM 2017.

The Mark Knopfler 1958 Les Paul Standard.

The Mark Knopfler 1958 Les Paul Standard.

Gibson have already unveiled their 24 model acoustic range for 2017, which featured G Force robot tuners on some guitars, new HP body shapes and for the first time, a J-45 Cutaway. We can also expect the Mark Knopfler 1958 Les Paul replica, which is limited to 300 guitars only, to make an appearance. The full Gibson electric line-up is yet to be revealed, so we’ll have to wait to see what they come up with at NAMM.

Martin is showing their two millionth guitar at NAMM 2017. They collaborated with RGM Watch to create a one-off model which has a working RGM timepiece in the headstock, because obviously guitarists need to keep updated on the exact time while they rock out. The guitar has a D-45 style body and Brazilian rosewood back and sides. The top is bearclaw Engelmann spruce.

The company are also releasing 50 D-200 Deluxe guitars with a price tag of $149,999 (!) to commemorate the inking of their two million serial number. I can only think “good luck selling them” at that price. For people with regular-sized wallets, Martin are updating their 16 Series with three electric-acoustic models with Fishman pick-ups. You can bet the company will have more production models on show though, as it seems very keen to promote the two millionth guitar milestone.

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

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