So I recently discovered that ESP is still manufacturing a certain guitar that was all but wiped off the face of the earth after a Gibson lawsuit: The MX-250 II. Well, sort of.
They're no longer making these under the ESP brand (unless you live in Japan and can get a custom shop made and sent to a Japanese dealer, who can then sell it to you. I've heard this costs around $3,000+ depending on exchange rates). They are making them under their Japanese market only Edwards brand. The only difference between the MX-250 II is the body thickness. The Edwards is about 3/4ths the thickness. This makes it lighter, and a little more "jangly" in terms of sound acousticly, but overall a good guitar.
Edwards as a brand is a little different. The guitars are labeled as Made in Japan, but the wood actually comes out of ESP's Chinese plant which is where all the rough work is done, before being sent over to one of ESP's Japan facilities for paint, hardware installation, and setup. This guitar is honestly on par with all the Korean made LTD's I've played, even the signature series ones.
While I don't know if this counts as a Chinese guitar or a Japanese guitar, I do have something to compare it to! The RareElectricGuitars "replica" ESP MX-250II. I know the Edwards is the spot on, correct shape ESP used. How does the REG stack up?
Lets take a look:
The pictures throw off the REG a little, since the black gloss looks "bigger". I took the time to basically hold one over the other a couple of times to check the angles, and all things considered they are spot on.
It still annoys me that REG charges their premium prices, but at least they are accurate in what they offer.