Mid 80's ESP 400 Series
Precision Bass from Early Days of ESP
Hi ESP lovers, 400 series bass with a graceful gold plate on vivid candy red body is looking for a new owner. Dated in mid 80’s according to the ESP employees in Tokyo, the instrument shows a bit of lacquer wear on the headstock and the rear side of neck, fret wear resulting in the frets left around 60%, and metal part oxidation. The shiny tuners on the photos are as you guessed out, yes the brand new Gotoh-made tuners I put on. The same brand was used in the original instrument 40 years as well. The strings are also replaced with brand new ones from D’ddario EXL170. With that, the instrument sounds and plays somewhere close to 57 Fender Precision Bass.
With regard to dating the bass, when I was in ESP shop to buy those new strings and tuners I showed their head luthier the serial number of 01313 to ask the year of manufacture, but he himself shook his head and said it does not mean much for the instrument made back in 80’s. Instead he advised, ESP in early days made carbon copies of Fender and Gibson just like any other Japanese brands such as Greco, Tokai, Ibanez, Aria Pro II and more. Once ESP became confident with its own geeky heavy-metal designs the brand survived with its unique identity, whereas the copy models were rebranded as Navigator. Judging from that, I believe this instrument was made before, or around the time Navigator brand was launched.