1978 Navigator SP-01 Esparto
Click on main image above for full size pictures
This is a very early, and very cool, custom ordered ESP Navigator. ESP was launched in early 1975 initially to sell parts and do custom work on guitars. Early on they realized there was a real need and opportunity for better quality guitars than what big-name manufacturers were making at the time. So, in 1976 ESP started to offer its own guitars. Interestingly, all ESP guitars were initially branded as Navigator, which ESP still offers in Japan to this day as their premier brand for traditional models.
So, this guitar is a Navigator SP-01 ‘Esparto’ made in May 1978, not built to be a cheap knock-off, but rather better than what was available new at the time.
Catalogs specify this model to have a one-piece hard maple neck, ash body and special varnish finish. This model was originally priced at ¥70,000 for a standard model and ¥120,000 for a Custom Order SP-01. Standard colors were Natural, Sunburst, Brown Sunburst, Blonde and Black. Since this guitar is in Candy Apple Red it would have been built as a Custom Order.
The guitar appears to be very original, including its original pickups and electronics. Condition overall is very good for a 40+ year old guitar with some nicks, chips and dings as can be seen in the photos. Finish on the treble edge of the body and horns has faded to a champagne gold.
The guitar has been completely gone through receiving a full level, crown and polish of the frets, cleaning of the pots, switch, jack and nut slots, adjusting the relief (truss rod), action, saddle radius and intonation, and checking the nut relief. The guitar plays beautifully and sounds fantastic, with no buzzing or dead spots anywhere on the neck. Setup was done with D’addario .009 -.042 strings. The guitar needs nothing.
It’s a fantastic example of an early custom ordered Navigator, from the time when the Japanese began to transition from making cheap copies to building some of the best guitars in the world.
This guitar is located in the US.
Offered at USD $1,850
© 2020 GuitarsOfJapan.com