LTD F-2E Review

manufacturer: ESP date: 03/20/2013 category: Electric Guitars
ESP: LTD F-2E
Grab the ESP LTD F-2E guitar when you're ready to rock hard and loud. The mahogany body's sharp lines and beveled edges scream metal with power and style. Easily reach a full 2 octaves per string with the F-2E's blazing fast, 24 extra-jumbo frets on an ebony fretboard.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5
 Features: 8
 Overall rating:
 8.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.2 
 Users rating:
 7.5 
 Votes:
 50 
reviews (2) pictures (2) 31 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
LTD F-2E Reviewed by: cobain42, on november 15, 2012
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 529.99

Purchased from: Mundt music

Features: Ok, this guitar was made in 2008 in Vietnam. It's not mass produced yet (as of Feb. 15, 2008). I am really lucky for finding one of the early ones. but on with the review, this guitar has 24 XL jumbo frets on an ebony fingerboard. It has a maple neck (through body), which really adds on to the sustain. The body is mahogany with an ebony top. for those of you Who are wondering ebony is more bright than mahogany, almost like alder tonally. The finish is see through gloss, so the wood grain kind of makes you look like your playing a table. The pickups have coil taps and are designed by emg & ESP, but I'm not sure of the models. It has a Floyd Rose style bridge, which can really let you do those divebombs, whines etc. with the greatest of ease. But it didn't come with any sort of case/bag so a nine on features. // 9

Sound: This guitar suits my style perfectly. It can get really hi-gain crunch, or almost Strat like tones on clean with the coil tap. it's acctually very versatile. I'm running it through a DigiTech EX-7 on the metal zone and univibe setting usually. For an amp, I'm using a Peavey Valveking, which has great cleans, but the distortion is a bit lacking in the gain department, so that's where the pedal comes in. With the coil tap engaged it's very bright, just a little hollow though. With it disengaged, it's very full and more mellow. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was a little loose, but comfortable and with no fret buzz. The pickups are adjusted fine, the wood grain matches perfectly, and the guitar overall has no flaws that I've found yet. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've only had this guitar for a few hours, but I've been playing the whole time, so in the sound and everything, I'm pretty sure, but for this part, it's kinda hard. But from what I can tell this guitar could definitely take some punishment. Ebony is a hard, dense wood that will not likely dent, ding etc. the hardware will totally last. I could definitely depend on this guitar in a gig situation, with no backup. It balances perfectly on a strap. // 10

Overall Impression: I mostly play alice in chains, which is pretty much a great way to identify how I play, soft bright clean and heavy ditortion. This guitar does perfectly in both. I own a Gibson SG faded, which is also a great guitar, but a little dark on the cleans, a Peavey valveking, the 4/12, a cube 30, and a Peavey blazer. I asked the guy at mundt music (my local music store) all about this guitar, so no problem there. If I lost this guitar I would get so pissed, definitely buyanother one when it comes out in march or april. So far everything is great, sound, function, action, everything. The floyd is probably my favorite feature, I've always wanted one just for versatility. It's got everything I would want, except, instead of having a locking nut, I would like locking tuners, just for easier tuning. // 10

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overall: 8.6
LTD F-2E Reviewed by: Realityburn, on march 20, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Lidgett Music

Features: I picked up this LTD F-2E about 2 months ago used for $300 from my local music store. It's a 2008 model, made in Vietnam. From what I've heard, ESP only made about 450 of these, so it's a somewhat rare guitar. One of the main things that prompted me to buy it is the unique combination of wood that went into constructing it. It has a 5 piece maple/mahogany neck (instead of the more common maple/walnut) with an ebony fretboard, and it has a mahogany body with an ebony top. Its neck-thru construction is obvious because they just left it natural. Transparent gloss finish shows off the grain nicely. It's an F-series guitar, so the shape isn't for everyone, but it suits me well. The hardware runs the gamut from decent to just bad, which is a shame because this guitar could have been amazing if they hadn't skimped on the hardware they put on it. That said, it's still very nice. The tuning pegs are, well, they're tuning pegs. It has a locking nut and a Floyd Rose-looking piece of metal holding the strings on, so the tuning pegs aren't doing much besides getting the strings in the ballpark of in tune. They're the standard ESP tuning pegs that go on pretty much every LTD ever built. The locking nut does its job. No issues with string slippage so far, and I'm not anticipating having any. It has a pair of humbuckers in the usual positions for 2 humbuckers, with a coil tap and a 3 way selector switch. The pickups are ESP LH-301s. I've heard bad things about these pickups, but they aren't as terrible as I was led to believe. They're on my list of parts to be upgraded, but they actually sound surprisingly good. I wouldn't downtune this guitar with the stock pickups, as the low end gets a little muddy if you drop it much past D. Solid mid-range response and highs that don't get too shrill. The coil tap is... Unimpressive. I think the pickups contribute to that impression. It does a passable Stratocaster impersonation with the neck pickup coil-tapped, but the bridge pickup has an unpleasant nasal honk to it when you tap it. Like I said, the pickups aren't terrible, but they aren't all that great either. Passive pickups designed to resemble actives. Then we come to the bridge. Well, at least I think it's a bridge, due to the fact that it is located where a bridge normally goes. There's no nice way to say it: The bridge is a piece of crap. It has minor tuning stability issues. Not a terrible problem, but it will be a little off after you play it for a while. Your audience will most likely not notice it, but if you have a good ear you will notice it yourself for sure. The springs creak like a rusty screen door anytime you so much as brush against the bridge or bend a note too far. It doesn't get picked up by your amp, but it's obnoxious when you play it unamplified like I do sometimes. The fine-tuners are just awful. They catch when you try to adjust them, and when they finally let go it shoots you past your intended note and you have to adjust again. There's nothing fine about them. The only good thing I can say about the bridge is that the saddles aren't as bad as the rest of it, and my strings sit at a nice, uniform height. Did I mention that this is a Licensed Floyd Rose? No, you already knew that by my description of it. The bridge is the first thing on this guitar that is getting swapped out. It's a crying shame they let such a terrible piece of barely functional metal fester on an otherwise awesome guitar. To be fair, my impression of the bridge could be partially attributed to the fact that I got it used and it had sat in the shop for 2 years without being played. It basically got the strings changed when they got rusty and otherwise got no maintenance at all. I'd like to rate the features higher, as the majority of the guitar is very nice. But I can't, the bridge is just too atrocious to give it more than I did. The pickups cost it a point as well. // 7

Sound: I mentioned before that the pickups aren't terrible, but they aren't great either. I'll elaborate on that a little bit. I'm playing it through a Carvin SX200 with a DigiTech Hardwire Metal Distortion pedal for my high gain stuff. It's a solid state amp, but it does a better job of letting the character of a guitar Shine through than any other solid state amp I've ever played. I play predominantly metal styles, and I dabble in blues, funk and some very badly played fake jazz (Just being honest). It suits all of those styles nicely, and I suspect a better jazz player than me could get some very nice sounds out of it. The guitar has a very unique tone that comes from the unusual combination of woods. It has the brightness of the maple neck, combined with the warmth of the mahogany body. The ebony top gives it a very dark undertone that I just love. I wish the pickups were better so I could hear more of the nuances this guitar has. Plenty of sustain from it, which I expect out of a neck-thru guitar. It is actually surprisingly quiet, with no hiss or pops to speak of. The electronics seem to be of decent quality, and the slight noise of a pickup change is barely discernible (you'd never hear it if you weren't listening for it). The coil tap it has doesn't get much use, but when I tried it out I got a plausible imitation of a Stratocaster with the neck pickup. The bridge pickup didn't sound very good when tapped. Maybe coil-tapped stuff would sound better if I adjusted my amp settings to take it into account, I haven't tried that so I can't say for sure. It's also possible that personal taste is contributing to my dislike of the coil-tapped sounds I can get out of it: I don't like single coil pickups at all, never have. Fortunately, the awful bridge doesn't play much of a part in the tone this guitar produces, so I can rate the sound a little higher than the features. The muddiness of the pickups I mentioned above isn't much of a factor if you don't downtune or try to add too much bass to your amp's tone. Other than the weak bass response out of the pickups, the guitar sounds nice across the spectrum. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I can't say anything about the factory set-up, as I bought my guitar used. I'm not even going to take the set-up into account with my rating, as the manufacturer can't be held responsible for the set up of a 5 year old used guitar. The guy at the store set it up for me before I took it home, and did a pretty good job of it. The action is nice and low, with just a hint of fret buzz on the lower frets. I actually like a tiny bit of buzz in my set-up, so it isn't a big deal. He didn't adjust the bridge at all, which I was kind of annoyed by. When I got it, the neck pickup was set way too low. I suspect the previous owner was a metal guitarist who never used the neck pickup. Took all of 2 minutes to adjust it to my liking, so no problem with it. As far as the fit and finish go? Amazing. This is the first LTD I've played that didn't have fretwork issues (seriously, some of them have necks that feel like a sawblade). If I didn't know better, I'd swear the neck, body, and top were all one solid piece of wood. There is no seam to be detected anywhere. The construction of the body is what I'm basing the majority of my rating on. It's not fair to blame ESP for loose parts when the guitar was bought used 5 years after it was built. That said, the only loose part I have noticed is a tiny bit of a wobble in the volume knob, and I can correct that in 15 seconds with an allen wrench. The only thing I can honestly blame ESP for here is their p-ss-poor decision to put such a terrible bridge on such an otherwise beautiful guitar. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I'm sure this guitar will handle live playing just fine. Other than the bridge, I'd trust any part on this beast to function just fine for years to come. I'd actually even trust the bridge to work, I just don't want to have to so I'll be replacing it. The rest of it is rock-solid. No issues with strap buttons so far, but if I were to use it for gigging I'd get some strap locks for it just in case. I'm not currently in an active band, but I would be comfortable gigging without a back up if I had to. I would never gig without a backup by choice, but if I were forced into it, I wouldn't have any qualms about it. It's built like a brick sh**house. I don't anticipate anything I do to this thing over the years harming it in the slightest. I'm going to give this one a 10. Even with the crappy bridge, this guitar seems like it could handle anything short of being run over by a truck. And I'd give it pretty good odds of still functioning even if that happened. // 10

Overall Impression: I'm a metalhead at heart, and this guitar suits me to a T. I like wild shaped guitars, and I also like natural wood grain over a painted finish. I would prefer a satin finish on it, but I'm not going to complain about something that relatively trivial. I've been playing for 18 years, so I know musical equipment fairly well (In other words, I'm not a newbie player who just graduated from a Squier). I've already mentioned my amp is a Carvin SX200 and my pedal is a Hardwire Metal Distortion. They aren't the best things out there, but they'll do just fine until I can afford my dream amp (Bogner Uberschall Twin Jet with KT-88s). I only have one other guitar at the moment, a Texas Chainsaw Massacre commemorative Schecter Avenger (also an awesome guitar). I love the overall look and feel of this guitar, and the playability is pretty damn good. I can't put into words how much I despise that bridge though. If it were lost or stolen, I would definitely get another one, assuming I could find another one at all. I damaged my main guitar (the Schecter) and I needed to get something that I could take out of the house for jamming with my buddies (the Schecter stays home now that it's been repaired). I compared this one to other guitars in the $300 price range, and it honestly blew the rest of them out of the water in terms of quality (not surprising, since I got it for 2-300 less than the original sticker price). The only things that detract from this guitar at all for me are: Somewhat weak pickups that get muddy on the low end and the atrocious excuse for a bridge. If this guitar had been originally produced with an Original Floyd Rose and some DiMarzio or Duncan pickups it would easily be a 10 for me. The low quality hardware is really the only thing that stops this guitar from crossing the line from "really nice" to "amazing". And I'm sure once I get the pickups and bridge swapped out, it will cross that line. I would LOVE to get a handmade ESP version of this, instead of an LTD. That said, the LTD is pretty nice. I gotta give it a 9 for the overall. I really wish I could justify giving it a 10, but I can't do it with the pickups and bridge being lower quality like they are. // 9

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