Review: The ESP LTD FM-418 8-String Electric

The ESP LTD FM-418 8-string electric

In 1975, Hisatake Shibuya opened a shop called Electric Sound Products (ESP) in Tokyo. It provided custom replacement parts for guitars. In 1976, ESP gained a reputation as a provider of high-quality replacement parts. At this time, ESP also began crafting guitars under the ESP and Navigator brand in the Japanese market.

ESP replacement parts were first introduced into the US in 1983. ESP began crafting custom instruments for local New York artists between 1984 and 1985.

Off the Rack

Right off the rack this guitar was a monster! Great tone, fast neck and all the fixins’. It’s a beefy guitar but overlooked due to its amazing sound. The neck is fast with just the right amount of width to allow you to grip the neck. The EMG pickups are perfectly balanced with crisp highs and warm lows. The 8-string is perfect for all your metal needs, as well as a great jazz and blues guitar. Definitely a must have axe for your arsenal.


  • Scale length: 26″ (660mm)
  • Body wood: basswood
  • Finish: polyurethane
  • Color: black
  • Tuners: Grover
  • Nut: graphite
  • Nut Width: 55mm
  • Neck: maple
  • Neck profile: thin “U” neck contour
  • Neck joint: neck-thru-body construction
  • Fingerboard: rosewood
  • Number of frets: 24
  • Fret type: extra jumbo
  • Fingerboard inlays: dots with model number at the 12th fret
  • Hardware plating: black nickel
  • Bridge: Hipshot fixed
  • Neck Pickup: EMG 808 active humbucker
  • Bridge Pickup: EMG 808 active humbucker
  • Controls: volume, tone
  • Pickup selector: 3-way toggle
  • Strings: 0.010 – 0.068
  • Tuning (low to high): F#, B, E, A, D, G, B, E

The Low Down

The ESP LTD FM-418 8-string electric guitar is an amazing guitar. For an 8-string guitar it is very versatile giving you heavy death chugs all the way to clean jazzy. 8-string guitars are gaining popularity quickly with all styles of music. They are not just for hard rock and metal music. If you take the time to learn the magic they hold inside you will be amazed on what you can create with 2 extra strings at your disposal. I highly recommend this guitar to everyone looking for something new to add to your playing.

Pros – fast neck, great tone, versatile, comfortable, sleek look. Graphite nut, 24 frets.

Cons – expensive $999.00

MSRP – $ 999.00

Till next time, thanks for reading and keep on shredding!

Nick Arrietta is a staff writer at SMG. Nick is a professional Music teacher from California and has been playing the Guitar for 24 years. Along with teaching music he is a touring guitarist, studio musician and songwriter. Email:

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  • Great review! I found myself looking at 8 strings last week after watching Tosin Abasi’s ‘Waves of Babies’ live video. Are you planning on doing any video demos of the ESP?

    I was looking at the Agile 8 strings last week, but the almost 29″ scale length just sounds crazy to me! The 26″ on the ESP sounds much more reasonable. The Agile is just an absolute stunner in terms of design though.

    • Hey Neal, thanks for the comment man! We are exploring the idea of video reviews and lessons, so keep a look out !!!

  • SVH

    I was a long time 7 stringer and sold off my Ibanez universe about 7 years ago and went back to the simplicity of a tuned down six string until last year when I jumped into the baritone. I only knew of the 8 string because of Meshuggah and recently my bro gave me a copy of Animals As Leaders to check out (guitarist Tosin Abassi uses one too)and I’m pretty amazed at what these guys do! I think that anytime there is an opportunity to expand your creativity through the advent of new technology (and or changes in instruments) that it’s great to give it a whack! I’m partial to the Ibanez because I’m an endorsee and love their stuff but I think your review has me convinced this axe rocks and that I may just have to look into getting one (from Ibanez of course) see what kinda stuff I can do with 2 more strings! Bravo my good man!

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