LTD KH-602 Review

manufacturer: ESP date: 11/15/2012 category: Electric Guitars
ESP: LTD KH-602
Kirk Hammett has been an "ESP guy" for as long as anyone can remember and there' a wide range of Signature models to prove it. Newly updated for 2003, the KH-602 now features EMG-81 pickups and original Floyd Rose locking bridge.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9.7
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.4
 Features: 9.4
 Overall rating:
 9.1 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.4 
 Users rating:
 8.7 
 Votes:
 188 
reviews (7) pictures (3) 39 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
LTD KH-602 Reviewed by: Muppet, on november 15, 2012
4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1099

Features: This baby comes with two active EMG-81 humbuckers, a double lock floyd rose bridge with tremolo, 3-way selector and 24 XJ frets. It has a Mahogany body and rosewood/mahogany neck with reversed head and skull and bone inlays. This guitar was made for metal! // 9

Sound: The reason I bought this guitar was simple: I like the sound. It's perfect for metal, but it can also be used for modern rock and classic rock though I wouldn't use it for jazz and blues. I mainly play thrash metal and this guitar gives me anything from the most bitting and screaming sound to the heaviest metal sound. I like the sound on both channels (overdrive and clean). The clean sound has a little bit of crunch, perfect for rock. The overdrive channel can make this guitar scream, shred and soloing sounds amazing on overdrive! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: After I tried it in the music store I wantet it, but it was the last one so I had to buy the one hanging in the store and I don't know if they have set it up before I tried it, but it's set up perfect. Action was good, the pickups was good so I don't complain. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I have only been playing a little for my friends and my family with this guitar, but it havn't let me down. It stays in tune for a very long time. It once kebt in tune for the night (almost, the g-string got out of tune) and I think that that was pretty nice. The finish is really nice, the black body and the skull and bone inlays just makes this guitar a bad-ass. The hardware seem pretty durable, they work like when I bought it. I don't have to bring a backup when I'm playing live next time. With this little beast I could be playing all day long. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal and rock and this guitar suits my style perfect. The neck is good and the sound is awesome. If it was stolen I would have to play my Squier so dosn't get stolen. The only thing irritating thing about this guitar is that I have to change the battery once in a while, but that comes with the active pickups. // 10

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overall: 9.8
LTD KH-602 Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 15, 2012
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Features: Awesome features! Made 2003 in Korea. Has 24 Extra Jumbo Frets with Kirk's signature skull and cross bone inlays with the model on the 24th fret. It's a 3 piece maple with a maple neck with neck-through construction. Strat style with a black finish. Complete with a Floyd Rose Locking Trem and a set of EMG '81s (active). Has separate control knobs for each pickup, and a 3 way selector Switch. Only bad thing is that it doesn't come with a case. // 9

Sound: Amazing for all types of music. I mostly play metal, but this guitar can be used with a range of styles. Personally, I play through a Marshall MG50 and a Fender FM Stack and it sounds great. Using my talkbox and Boss ME-50, there is no limit to what this thing can do. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Action was perfect when I got it. No problems what'soever with it. Pickups sound great. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This is the most reliable guitar I've played yet. Never had any problems with it. The only thing about it though is that it's hard to change tunings on it, so I use different guitars when I need to change tuning. Changing the strings with the Floyd Rose can be a little difficult at first, but seems to get easer over time. // 10

Overall Impression: Personally, I think this is a great guitar for the money. The 202 just isn't as good for the price. I play a lot of metal stuff, so this guitar is great for me. It's a hell of a lot better than any B.C. Rich I've ever played. Even if you're not a big metal/Metallica fan you should consider this guitar because it's got great sound, and it's durable and reliable. // 10

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overall: 8.4
LTD KH-602 Reviewed by: Orneblad, on november 15, 2012
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1600

Purchased from: Musicstore, Germany

Features: Was made '05 in Korea. Has 24 jumbo frets and a necktrough-neck in maplewood. It's a solid and completely black guitar (maplewood aswell). The bodystyle is stratinspired, with a original floyd rose bridge. It has 2 active EMG-81 which is controlled by two volumes, a 3-way pickup selector and a tone control. // 9

Sound: I play all kind of music (from heavy metaldist to clean). The guitar works absolutely best to hard rock/metal (solos). Actually I can't say I allways like the clean sound of the EMG-81s; sometimes it's a bit flat, "twangie" and bass-less (depens much on the amp). I'm using a little Fender frontman 15W, Marshall Valvestat 40W, Hughes&Kettner blue 100w and somtimes my effectpedal DigiTech RP200. It sounds really great with this on dist, but as I said: the clean is just ok. The sound is somtimes, aspecielly with much treble, very bright. The tone is rich and full with the right settings (much bass&middle, 50% treble&reverb). The sound isn't very warm, but not "cold" either. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was very well set-up in the factory. The pickups was adjusted in the right way (I think) and the bridge was properly routed (I think). Actually everything is very god with this guitar. No noisy pickups, loose controls/tuning pegs, finish flaws or misaligned bracing. Now, after 6 months, one or two small pieces of hardware has become a bit rusty. But that's just becouse I play so fast. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I have played gigs live with this guitar many times, and it works perfectly! The hardware will last for ever, I hope. The only shit with this guitar is the strap buttons. The strap jumps of! Once it fell to the ground and got a ugly flaw. But maybe it's the strap, so I don't count it as a minus. I absolutely depend on the guitar, I could use it on a gig without backup. I think the finish is good enough to last. // 8

Overall Impression: I really like this guitar, one of the best I ever played (and I got one). It suits the most music I play, hard and classic rock, very well. I've been playing for three years now, quite seriously. If the guitar was stolen I think I would buy this again, or maybe a ESP M-II (same shit, just more expenisive). // 8

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overall: 9.8
LTD KH-602 Reviewed by: jerm138, on november 15, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 760

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Features: The features can be found anywhere... no sense in re-typing them here. The features that sold me were the EMGs, Neck-Thru construction, and Original Floyd Rose (well... Floyd Rose 1000 which is SUPPOSEDLY exactly the same metals, quality, and everything, just lower price because it's made in Korea). I also like that there's a separate volume knob for each pickup, which gives it points over the MH-II for me. I was trying to avoid a signature series guitar, but this one was the only one that was configured exactly how I wanted it. // 10

Sound: It sounds like every other guitar that has active EMGs. EMGs are a one-trick pony, but it's a really GOOD trick. So if that's the sound you're going for the sound is perfect. If you prefer a Vintage or "warmer" sound, then these pups aren't for you. It annoys me that people give poor sound reviews because they don't like the active sound. If you've never heard them before, make sure you hear a set before buying because it might not be your cup of tea. I personally love the sound. The 60 in the neck actually give a really good clean tone if you set your amp up right. But these are mainly for metal, so don't buy this guitar to play classic rock then complain that it sounds too cold. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: When I buy a guitar online, I don't expect it to arrive at my doorstep already set up and in tune. The temperature changes and time between factory and doorstep are too great to expect a great setup. If you order a guitar online, you should expect to have to spend a few hours getting it just right before it's really playable. But I was completely blown away by this one! The FR Tremolo needed no adjustments whatsoever. The strings were actually still good, and the thing was perfectly in tune! The action was about the lowest I've ever played and I haven't found any fret buzzes yet. The finish is gorgeous if you like black. Again, know what you're getting into... Some people don't like painted necks. I don't have a problem with them. The Neck-Thru construction really does make it easier on the higher frets because you don't have this big chunk of wood under your palm. I was skeptical about the skull and crossbone inlays because I figured they wouldn't have been set in the wood tight enough, and I was a little concerned about them screwing me up since I'm used to seeing dots or keystones. But they are inlaid perfectly... I inspected all 11 skulls and couldn't find a single flaw. And they don't screw me up when playing because I only look at the dots on top of the neck, if I look at all. The rest of the guitar is finished very well. No fret hangups, all hardware is tight, pots and Switch are quiet, and input jack is real tight. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Can't really comment on this since I just got it. It feels very solid and is heavier than I expected (which is a good thing.) I imagine it could take a beating but can't vouch for that just yet. I don't play gigs or anything, so it'll probably always be close to pristine. No problems with the strap buttons (not sure why people act like this is a dealbreaker for a guitar... they're not that expensive to replace.) The Floyd Rose is great. I've had Licensed Floyd Rose's before and they were always a pain, having to re-tune every day. This one stays in tune for about a week of 1-2 hour/day playing, unless the temperature changes too much, but that's with every guitar. // 10

Overall Impression: I play all kinds of music, but I bought this guitar specifically for metal and it does a GREAT job at it. I use my other guitars for lighter stuff. If you want a versatile guitar for playing all styles, I wouldn't recommend this. But if you want a guitar dedicated to shredding, then this is it. I've been playing for about 20 years and this is the best shred guitar I've ever played. In fact, I played a KH-2 in the late 90's and I think this one is nicer. Don't let the "LTD" thing fool you... This is a high-quality guitar. I firmly believe if you spring over twice as much for the ESP version, you're just buying a $1000 decal. The main thing I can't stress enough is to know what you're getting before you buy it. People are pretty polarized on some of the features, like EMG's and the painted neck. The only reason I bought online was because I got a hell of a deal, and I had played this model before. I hate to give all 10's for a review, but I honestly can't find anything wrong to dock points for. I docked 1 point on sound because of it's lack of versatility, but that's still unfair because it does what it's supposed to do. // 10

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overall: 9.6
LTD KH-602 Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 15, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 590

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: I bought this guitar used from Guitar Center, and man was it a great deal. Its a 2008 so it has the EMG active 81's instead of the 60/81 combo. Also the 2008 had a Floyd Rose Original Bridge, instead of the Floyd Rose 1000 found on 2009 and newer guitars. This is a Korean made guitar, its an LTD so it comes off the assembly line, although it is very well put together. It has 24 jumbo frets, and is a neck through body design. Also it has 2 volume and 1 tone knob compared to other LTD models that only have 1 knob for each. The guitar I bought included a hard-shell case, with all the correct allen wrenches for the Floyd Rose. If you buy this guitar new, you won't get the case included in the price. // 10

Sound: I mainly play Metallica, so this is the perfect guitar for me. It sounds awesome! I will admit the EMG's sound a little fuzzy on clean channels unless you have the gain turned down low and also the volume knob on the pick-ups turned down low. It is still an awesome sounding guitar. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought this guitar used, so I'm not sure how well it came set up from the factory. From the looks of it, the original owner must have played it only a couple times. There is litterally one or two scratches on the entire thing. I've seen a couple store display models that had loose volume or tone knobs, this one does not. The Floyd Rose holds a tune for days if the guitar is just sitting in its case. Even after playing for a couple hours, it still holds a tune. You can see on the body where they glued the pieces of wood together, because there are slight lines showing through the paint. However, I don't consider this to be too bad because it doesn't affect functionality. The tuners on the guitar are solid, but with the locking Floyd Rose, they really don't make a difference. I broken one of the strings between the tuners and locking screws, and the guitar is just fine. That string is still in tune. LOL The neck is awesome on this guitar. It really lends to playing fast and moving up and down the fret board without any difficulty. Also, there is not any fret buzzing across the entire fret board which is very nice! // 10

Reliability & Durability: From what I've seen of the guitar its very reliable and solid! The Floyd Rose works amazingly! EMGs are great pickups! The strap buttons seem to be very sturdy, I'd imagine the strap is the only weak link you'd have to worry about. I mainly play sitting, so I haven't really tested this out. Like I said earlier, the volume and tone knobs are great, they work well, they don't seem loose, and I like the look of them. And the paint seems pretty thick, I haven't noticed any thin spots, so I imagine the paint will stand the test of time. // 10

Overall Impression: I am extremely pleased with this guitar! I have been playing since junior high, and I've owned two other electric guitars, and two acoustics, and this is by far the best quality one I've owned. I would say that the 2008 models were a better buy for the buck simply because the Floyd Rose is better than the 1000 series. And since I bought this used, paying less than 600 for this guitar with case was a steal! If this guitar was stolen, I'd hunt down the person that stole it, and steal it back. Or I would buy it once I saved up the money for it. I also prefer the 08 models because of the dual 81s instead of the 81/60s so I'd probably buy used again. // 9

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overall: 8.8
LTD KH-602 Reviewed by: HD Dime, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 899

Purchased from: MF

Features: Made in Korea 2010 Neck-thru-body construction Alder body 3-piece maple neck Extra-thin U-shaped neck 25.5" scale Rosewood fingerboard design 42mm nut width Extra-thin U neck contour 24 extra-jumbo frets Dual EMG-81 Bridge and EMG-60 neck active humbuckers Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo bridge Locking nut ESP tuners 2 volume, tone, and 3-way switching controls Skull and bones inlays Black hardware // 9

Sound: This guitar suits my style very good I play metal mostly metallica, slayer and simillar music. I use it on a Roland Cube 80x no other additional effects. It's not noisy doesn't sound bright unless I turn bright Switch on my amp. You can get pretty good cleans with the neck pup it sounds more warm and less sterile. This guitar can make pretty variable sounds you just have to play with the settings. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: When I got this guitar there was some fret buzzing at first 5 frets and the action was to high at higher frets. The pups were the way I like em good height. The guitar was perfectly tuned the Floyd Rose was set, the itonation was perfect, everything else was good. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I used it live and I am comfident of it not breaking in a midle of a concert. This guitar and hardware is meant to be used live and last long. The strap buttons look solid I don't think they need a change unlles you try to spin guitar like a mad man. The finish is great, don't thinks it's coming of easily. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar suits my bands style and my playing style I play lead so the emgs do their jobs great. I've been playing for 5 years I also have epi lp100 and an Ibanez grg270B, the 602 is my favorite way better than those 2. If it was stolen I would find the one who did this go to his house while he sleeps and $#!^ in his mouth and then steal back my guitar. // 8

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overall: 9.6
LTD KH-602 Reviewed by: c0b_h4t3cr3w, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 1173

Purchased from: Thomann Cyberstore

Features: This baby is an alder body, 3 piece through body maple neck, rosewood fretboard combination. EMG 60 in the neck position and EMG 81 in the Bridge position. It comes with a Floyd Rose 1000 series bridge. You've got a tone control knob and pick-up volume knobs and a 3 way Switch to Switch between Bridge, neck and both. // 10

Sound: All I have to say is that this guitar really suits me. It has a great tone, you can play pretty much anything with it but, since the pick-ups are active, it's on its turf when being used as a metal guitar. I play metal, heavy metal - thrash metal, some death metal, and it does the job excellent. I'd describe it as having a rich sound, EMG pups are very quiet. EMG 60 gives it a darker sound for rhythm. I personally like it. If you are a versatile metal-head player that occasionally plays rhythm cleans (like Metallica does), look no further for a guitar. This guitar is made to rock, it's Kirk Hammett' s guitar, you can't expect any less than excellent. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: It was set up pretty good, a slight buzz on the first 3 frets of the E string.Pick-ups were adjusted properly.I did not study it properly, though, because, as I got it, I had a friend take it apart and set it up on the spot. It didn't have any flaw, though. It was spotless. Floyd rose could be annoying when drop tuning, but, I kind of blocked it driving 2 screws through the balance weight so that it can't be pulled. I take them out before I play somewhere, though. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It's built to last. This guitar can last a lifetime. The only thing I can say is that you need to pay attention to the pick-up battery. Now, I always play with a backup, not because the guitar isn't reliable, but anything can happen. A string could snap and I'd rather change the guitar than the string. It stays perfectly in tune. // 10

Overall Impression: This is the guitar for me.I've been playing it for a year and it sounds awesome. If it were stolen or lost, I'd buy it again. I hate it that it gets very dirty and fast, but, nothing is perfect. Now, sometimes I wish it had an EMG 85 instead of an EMG 60, because some songs need a brighter pick-up. Still, some songs would need a darker pick-up. Damn, they should have made it with three pick-ups. For me, it's the best guitar evah! // 10

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