1991 / 1999 - ESP MX-250 - Guitars Collector

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ESP MX-250

To the new design of the MX-220 was given the name MX-250 called also MX-250II or MX-250-2 or later MX-II
ESP M (Metallica) X (eXplorer) - 250 (price in yen) II (2 pickups)
It appears officially in the 1993 catalog.

- year: from 1991 to 1999 (2019 in Japan only for Japanese market), Japan Custom Shop - Special/Custom Order
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. Gibson style 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, ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar. At some point in 2006 they change from ABR-1 (slim) to Nashville (fat) bridge.

- 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).
You can deduct the production data from the serial (or papers if you have it).

BELL truss rod cover was changed to BULLET after 1996
1991 -->
151115XX (bell);

1992 --> XXXX21XX (bell);

1993 --> 250230XX (bell); 19033XXX (bell); 24043XXX (bell)
1994 --> ...
1995 --> 150352XX (bell);
1996 --> 150464XX (bell); 231067XX (bell)
1997 --> ...
at some point in this year they change from BELL to BULLETT truss rod cover.

1998 --> 161080XX;
1999 --> 271090XX; 050392XX;
2000 --> 17020185; 080100XX; K00XXXXX (new serial code)(DISCONTINUED!)
2001 --> K01XXXXX (hereafter only for Japan custom order)
2002 --> K02XXXXX
2003 --> K03XXXXX
2004 --> K04XXXXX
2005 --> K05XXXXX
2006 --> K06XXXXX at some point in this year they change from ABR-1 to Nashville bridge.
2007 --> K07XXXXX
2008 --> K08XXXXX
2009 --> K09XXXXX
2010 -->
K10XXXXX; T10XXXXX (custom shop in Takada)
--> K11XXXXX
--> K12XXXXX
--> K13XXXXX
2014 --> K14XXXXX (start "ESP Custom" world gold logo in back of headstock)

2015 --> K15XXXXX
If you have other records please help me!!

- colors and other features: Black, Olympic White, Snow White, .... etc...
- notes: This is the most famous model that James Hetfield use.

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 custom shop factory.
It's hilarious that Gibson in 2012 release the "Epiphone 1984 Explorer EX" copying control pot configuration of ESP MX-220/250/EXP, a sort of 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???
the first and original owned by James Hetfield (2 screw truss rod cover).
now retired from action and in exposition at ESP Museum above the ESP Craft House in Shibuya, Tokyo.
(You can see it also into ESP exhibition stands around the world).

N.02 - made in 1992
SERIAL: 14072XXX (so it was 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 (so it was 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 (so it was made 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)

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

Armand sold this guitar in 2011 to Erick-KKV, and Erick sell the guitar in 2017 to Rick of SteelEdgeGuitars in Spain.

It has the white glittered ESP circle logo in the back of the headstock (like the EXP) and Sperzel tuners

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

Never seen anywhere another original esp "snake" over the James one.

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


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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