History of Navigator

Navigator Guitars Japan Logo

Navigator stands as the initial subsidiary launched by ESP (Electric Sound Products). Since its establishment in 1975, Navigator has provided an extensive array of guitars and basses. Among these instruments, there are designations that pay homage to their roots such as ESParto, TelESP, ESPionage, LESPa Standard, and more. From the outset, ESP intended for Navigator to replicate the timeless classics of American brands, particularly the Gibson Les Paul and SG, along with the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster.

Navigator naturally emerged as the embodiment of ESP’s Vintage range. In the 1990s, ESP made the strategic decision to produce Navigator guitars and basses within its Custom Shop workshops. This transformation revitalized Navigator, as these instruments were meticulously crafted using traditional methods and the finest available wood species, reflecting a commitment to exceptional quality and craftsmanship.


Navigator instruments are custom-ordered, with each commission assigned to a craftsman responsible for every detail, from wood selection to the final stringing. No compromises are entertained in the pursuit of exceptional guitars. Navigator meticulously selects well-dried wood aged for 3 to 5 years, employs nitrocellulose finish, incorporates binding, Gotoh Vintage hardware, and uses premium pickups like Seymour Duncan Antiquity, Seth Lover, and Custom Shop editions.

Distinguishing themselves from Edwards instruments, Navigator guitars and basses are crafted through traditional methods, eschewing CNC (digital machines). Every aspect is executed manually—body and neck shaping, top-tier nitrocellulose finish, and meticulous attention to minute details. This meticulous craftsmanship reflects an unparalleled level of quality akin to the world’s most esteemed Custom Shops.

Navigator guitars stand on par with the finest offerings from American custom shops, tailored for musicians seeking truly exceptional instruments.

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