About George Lynch's Orange ESP
In an effort to help the George Lynch community, I have tried to provide only that information which is self-evidenced, publicly available, and for which I am able to provide sources. I make no claims to know any factual information on this guitar, or its history, aside from this, nor do claim any veracity in the accounts of the individuals listed as sources. I have tried to emphasize all other claims as assumptions and rumor or hearsay. I am wholly open to corrections and additional information that comes with equally or more reputable sources. I do this for the community, gaining only knowledge of one of my favorite guitars. --Micah Ethan Atwell, aka u9
Notoriety & Acquisition
George's guitar is perhaps most recognized from the 1990 instructional video in which he was filmed recording overdubs and solos for Lynch Mob's debut album, Wicked Sensation, but he also toured with the guitar while promoting the album and making appearances at guitar clinics. The guitar was a total one-off, originally a "parts guitar" made by ESP Guitars and pre-dated any of their production standards from the late 80s/early 90s1. ESP used the guitar at the 1990 Tokyo Music Fair in 19892. George had attended the fair while filming his Guitar Bible video and bought the guitar3,1.
Fate & Whereabouts
There exists some confusion and mystery around this guitar and its whereabouts. One point that is fairly established is that the guitar was badly damaged (likely beyond repair). In 2005, I asked George what the actual fate of the guitar was, and he replied, "...[it] got pretty busted up on stage during one of the lynch mob tours. I took my frustrations out on a stage monitor one nite and i lost a good chunk of wood out of the back. It's now a wall hanger in my studio. I was thinking of putting some legs on it and using it as a coffee table."4 At the end of 2006, George was asked about its neck radius and gave this answer, "i loved that guitar! unfortunately, i don't have it anymore after having beaten it to submission. the lord giveth and the lord taketh away. g"3 George had also told a fan sometime before this that he'd given the guitar to his brother-in-law.5 At one time though, his then longtime guitar tech Gerry Ganaden did say George had "let go of it around the end of '92." and that George was "...foggy on where it went". 1,3
Might George have let it go in 1992 and reacquired it? Did it then go to a family member? A photo of the guitar does at least exist (and it's in my gallery, thx Errol!) from 1992 when George was working with Derryl Gabel on Tierra Del Fuego (from the Sacred Groove album). This might be the last public photo of the guitar still in one piece!
A final bit of trivia from Gerry was that the body had a huge wear mark between the Floyd and the forearm contour. This was caused by a metal bracelet that George wore at the time which eventually scraped down to the wood.1,3
Specs & Speculations
Pinning down specs on this guitar is tricky as most can only be verified visually from the available videos/photos. A few other specs have been confirmed and shared by Gerry.
- Strat-style solid quilt maple (believed to be one-piece, quite rare and expensive)2
- Orange dye with clear gloss finish (type unknown but most likely nitrocellulose)
- S-S-H pickup configuration
- Rear-routed control cavity6
- Routed for recessed original Floyd Rose tremolo
- ESP construction
- Flame maple bolt-on neck w/Strat-style headstock (rare on non-Fender guitars of the time2)
- 25.5" scale length2
- Neck width @ nut: unknown
- 22-fret ebony fretboard
- Flat straight-radius (16" or 17")3
- Jumbo-sized frets (nickel silver assumed)3
- Standard-arrangement inlay dots (Mother-of-pearl assumed)
- Side marker dots: unknown
- Truss rod: unknown (standard heel-adjust rod assumed)
- Back profile: unknown
- Possible body-matching quilt maple pegface laminate3
- Clear finish (gloss nitrocellulose assumed)
- ESP construction
- Original ESP bridge humbucker (possibly LH-150 or LH-200) replaced with Seymour Duncan JB2
- Original ESP middle/neck pickups (likely SH-100s) replaced with Seymour Duncan SSLs2
(it's worth noting that these two original pickups were still installed during recording of Wicked Sensation,
they are clearly visible in the REH/SGR video. SH-100s are visually identical to these and were used in other ESPs
of the time)
- 1 volume pot/knob
- 1 tone pot/knob (assumed)
- 5-way pickup selector switch (assumed, a 5-way is standard in this configuration)
- Originally .012 gauge strings, restrung with .009s2
- All black hardware
- Original Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo with string bar2
- Tuners: unknown (some ESP guitars of this era were using Schecter tuners, others had "ESP"-branded tuners)
- Standard neck plate6
- Football-style side jack plate
- No tremolo cover plate or was removed6
- Control cavity cover plate
- Strap buttons (look like strap-locks in REH/SGR video)
Limited Production GL-Series
The original guitar was already considered used when George bought it, so it was never an intention of ESP in being a George Lynch signature/production model. However, due to the popularity of the guitar in George's instructional video, ESP produced a limited run of replicas in their Japanese custom shop featuring a "GL" based serial number on the neck plate.2,1 I can't find my source for this but I was either told or had read that only 25 of these guitars were ever made and that most or all of them went immediately into the hands of private collectors (I could be wrong!). Gerry did say that, over the years, a couple of these guitars had surfaced on eBay.1 As I have never seen any of these production guitars, I could only offer conjecture on what specs they shared with the original and which specs likely differed.
The Mystery Continues (and Deepens?)
There is a photo of an orange quilt ESP posted on the official Mr. Scary Guitars Facebook page (also in my gallery) that differs from the original (standard ESP headstock, little or no quilting on the pegface, additional text ("Custom"?) on the pegface to the right of "ESP", different 12th fret inlay, and only 1 knob (volume pot) rather than 2). What's most interesting here though is that it appears, in context, to be in George's home! If you read the comments for this photo, you can see more mysteries and hearsay abound on the original.
1 George Lynch's Guitar Dojo forum, "That Orange ESP Again", post by Gerry Ganaden
(aka LynchTechHead1), December 27th-28th, 2006 (screenshot).
2 GL Gear - Orange ESP, georgelynch.com [http://www.georgelynch.com/guitars/esporange.html],
January 27th, 2007 (screenshot).
3 George Lynch's Guitar Dojo forum, "The Orange ESP", post by Gerry Ganaden
(aka LynchTechHead1), November 1st, 2006 (screenshot).
4 George Lynch Message Boards, "Question of the Month", post by Micah Ethan Atwell
(aka u9) c/o Jenifer Rosenberg (aka lynchfan), June 3rd, 2005.
5 George Lynch Message Boards, "ESP in REH video", post by BaggedCereals,
December 28th, 2006.
6 YouTube, "George Lynch -
Guitar Clinic Japan 1989 Part 1 RARE", 00:03:31, posted by dxvolt, March 26rd, 2013.
George Lynch: Thanks for signing my pickup and headstock, for spurring me on to build a dream guitar, for the Dojo experience and reviewing my tracks, and for the many years of inspiration, influence, and awesome music!
Gerry Ganaden: Thanks for all the info you've shared with the community on George's gear and especially his Orange ESP. You were a lot of fun to hang with at the Dojo Summit, and I'm still stoked you drove around for so long playing one of my tracks!
Spike @ Warmoth: Thanks for all the referrals to this build page, I'm glad the info has been so helpful!
Warmoth Guitars staff: Thanks for the excellent service and work. This is truly a high-end guitar, and its price and quality have stunned everyone who's seen and played it.