Up for sale, a 1980 Navigator by ESP vintage electric guitar in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. Introduced in 1975 as the first subsidiary brand to be offered by ESP, the Navigator Series are custom order-made, top-shelf instruments crafted in Japan with select woods and components. This exceedingly rare and early Navigator boasts a set neck design, clearly taking its cues from a late-60's Gibson SG Standard. This Navigator SG delivers the goods with solid carved mahogany body and neck construction, a bound rosewood fretboard, braided wire PAF-style humbuckers, and stock full-size USA-made CTS pots. Featherweight at 6lbs 13oz, this Navigator is an acoustically lively instrument, with a clear, authoritative tone that translates well through the pickups. The bridge pickup has a growly, biting sound which pairs well with the smoother and warmer neck pickup. This Navigator has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, dialed in with optimal intonation and fresh 10-46 strings.
The one-piece mahogany neck has a quintessential medium C shaped profile with nicely rounded shoulders, measuring .845” deep at the 1st fret and .940” at the 12th. The bound rosewood fretboard features flared trapezoid inlay and stock medium jumbo fretwire. The frets have good meat, with light wear exclusively beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-12 and virtually no wear further up the fretboard. The guitar plays well in every register up the straight neck with an ideally adjusted and responsive truss rod. The scale length is 24 3/4“, and the bone nut measures a full 1 11/16" in width. The headstock features the Navigator logo and crown inlaid in pearl, with chrome set of genuine German-made Schaller tuners that turn smoothly and hold pitch well.
On the body, the electronics all function as intended, with stock PAF-style pickups and a traditional SG control layout with dedicated Volume and Tone knobs for each pickup and a three-way pickup selector toggle. The solder joints are untouched, and the original USA-made CTS pots date to 1980. The nickel hardware shows pitch perfect surface patina, and the original quartet of black speed knobs are intact. The original gloss Cherry finish highlights subtle figuring in the mahogany, and cosmetic wear includes some requisite scuffing in the pick path, light marks and finish chips on the lower bout body edge, and faint scattered scuffs and scratches in the clear coat of the gloss mostly relegated to the back of the body. There are also three small mounting holes from a previously installed tailpiece adjacent to the rear strap button. The neck profile sports a pristine smooth gloss finish.
A "best of both worlds" SG-style instrument bridging many of the best features that Gibson offered across the '60s, this Navigator boasts exceptional fit and finish work, with quality components throughout. The guitar has the the wider nut width and nickel hardware associated with early '60s SGs, while also sporting the large batwing guard reminiscent of post-1966 Gibson production.
The original hardshell case is included.