LTD Viper-200 FM Review

manufacturer: ESP date: 11/15/2012 category: Electric Guitars
ESP: LTD Viper-200 FM
Flamed maple top, low-tension scale, and beefy humbuckers! Fabulous feel from 24 fat frets and luscious looks from a fresh take on a vintage body style. The agathis body with brilliant flamed maple top provides brutal edge that drives the EMG-HZ H-4 humbuckers into a frenzy. 24-3/4" scale makes it play smooth as buttah. 3-piece mahogany set neck with bound rosewood fretboard.
 Sound: 8.3
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 8.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.3
 Features: 8.8
 Overall rating:
 8.5 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.8 
 Users rating:
 8.1 
 Votes:
 63 
reviews (4) 46 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.4
LTD Viper-200 FM Reviewed by: MinstrelCycle85, on november 15, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Local Dealer

Features: Built in Indonesia in 2004, 24 frets, 3/4 scale, Rosewood fingerboard, with abalone inlays. Solid Body, Set-neck (not solid thru) Flame maple top on an Agathis Body, not sure about the neck's wood compositon, but I assume it's Agathis as well. It's stained a cherry red, with a typical gloss coat over it, that's somewhat resistant to knicks in comparison to other guitars I've seen. The body style is a sort of Spin off of the Gibson SG style, with the top cutaway being more exaggerated than an SG. IE, it's not evenly cut away. The bridge is a Tune-o-matic with a TonePro Tailpiece, not string through body. Passive pick ups in an H-H configuration (dual humbuckers), EMG LH-300's Not Emg HZ's. At least not on any of these models that I've ever seen. The LH-300 pick up is Low Output pick up, IE, if you want to play metal or high distortion, or, well not sound like ass in general, you'll want some hotter pick ups. I've seen this model listed with EMG-HZ pick ups, that's just incorrect. It has a Volume pot, and a Tone pot with a coil tap function, and a 3 way selector. It has the Standard ESP LTD 3-3 tuning heads. They're relatively well sealed, and have a decent resistance... but excessive vibrato bends will probably take them out of tune a hair. These are of course, not locking tuners. The Nut is graphite, and mine is very well set. It came with no accessories as I bought it. All in all, it's a good guitar if you put a little work into it. The pick ups are terrible, but almost all stock factory guitar pick ups are... in fact, all of them are. I still haven't ever even found a high end guitar with good pick ups in them. The tuning keys could easily be replaced, but wouldn't be necessary. People testify that Les Paul's have a greater sustain because of the angle that the bridge slopes to the tailpiece. This is true, it does increase the sustain, however it does sacrifice tone. The strings on a Les Paul will vibrate shorter from crest to trough, but faster. The frequency will be higher, but will not have the duration of a guitar with a slop like this. It's one or the other, you can't have both... and it's so minut most people would never notice. The headstock also tilts back slightly farther than a Les Paul's, so the opposite end compensates a little. The sound isn't much different, honestly. The neck and body are relatively well built. The neck is neither as small as a Jackson or Ibanez, nor as big as a Gibson. I regretted buying it at first, but after putting a small amount of work into it... I'm rather glad I own it. Idiots think it's sexy. The world is 90% idiots. // 8

Sound: I play a wide variety of music, but I require that my guitars are capable of playing metal well, because metal requires a relatively well built guitar. I installed Bill Lawrence pick ups in mine, and it sounds much better than 1, 000 dollar guitars do when purchased stock... the guitar industry just likes to pick terrible pick ups in electric guitars for some reason. I wouldn't understand it as it is it's one of the most critical aspects of an electric guitar's sound. I use various amps, but with a Boss MT-2 Metal zone pedal, and a Vox ToneLab Preamp... possibly other analog affects at times. With the high distortion effects, it sounds relatively good. It's fretboard sounds as it should, it's not excessively round or flat, it's not scalloped. The sound was icy ass cold when I bought it, now with my pick ups changed out, it's extremely warm. The sustain is impressive for the price, but not unfathomable. It has no Floyd Rose, it's incapable of tremolo vibrato, IE, no dive-bombs. If your hand is more comfortable muting with a tune-o-matic, this is a pretty nice guitar for the price. Again, I will emphasize, the stock pick ups are horrible. There is no style of music I am aware of that cold pick ups are good for easily remedied though. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was very low and comfortable when I first played it in the store, since then the neck has attempted to bow forward a little because I've left it in bad temperature conditions... easily remedied as well. The frets are very well fitted and crowned. As I said before, the nut is virtually perfectly set. The pick ups were set a little far from the strings, but they were so weak it would have made no difference. EMG LH-300 are unfit to play on for any style of music, I wouldn't even take a dump on them. Bridge is external, no routed. Bracing was perfect, frets were set and filed perfectly, the finish is actually very well done, and pretty. The wood is actually pretty decent quality. I like agathis, others don't. Truth is wood is not conductive, and has a lot less effect on tone than people think it does. Agathis is mid density, mid weight. There were no factory flaws that I've found, other than the installation of pick ups that are just built inferiorly. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I haven't gigged with this guitar, and I'm not rough with guitars in any way. You might damage it, mine will be fine. Tuning machines should last a while, but they will be the next thing to go. Pick ups would have functioned just as well as they did, they were appropriately potted, they were just weak. The strap buttons are actually very nice, they have felt washer-guards. However, the forward strap button IS in an awkward position. It resides on the back of the guitar on the top cut-away region. It's the best place it could be in on this guitar, but some people complain. It actually happens to fit the leather strap I have perfectly, so I sorta don't care. It's dependable, it may be my spare eventually, but I will definitely not be getting rid of it, probably ever. It's not a professional quality guitar, but it can be turned into one for a lot less money than you'd have to fork out for a custom. The finish is pretty good, the eyelets in my jeans scrape against it, and leave almost no marks. // 9

Overall Impression: I play an extremely wide variety of music, but as I said I require a guitar to be capable of playing metal, because it's the keystone for good sound. This guitar is worthy of this style, but if you are into very heavy, brutal metal, you will want a Floyd Rose bridge. If you don't care for tremolo's this guitar should suit your needs as long as you're willing to deal with the pick ups, as I said before, there isn't such thing as a stock guitar with good pick ups. Even signature models come with crap pick ups, even the ones with the newest active pick ups. The pick ups I installed have more output than any active pickups I've seen within that price range and don't eat batteries. I haven't been playing for very long, but I have been playing rather hard since I've started. I've tested a lot of guitars, and spent a lot of time researching "guitarology" This is a relatively inexpensive set-thru neck guitar. It comes with a coil tap, and it's really more or less worth the money. I reiterate; weak pick ups. If it were stolen, I'd be devestated, but I can't honestly say whether or not I'd replace it. I actually might though. // 8

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overall: 8.8
LTD Viper-200 FM Reviewed by: Niht, on november 15, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 360

Features: Early 2008 made in Indonesia, 24 extra-jumbo frets on a rosewood fingerboard, 24.75" scale. Neck wood is mahogany. Body's a "melted" SG type shape made of agathis topped with flamed maple covered by a see-through black cherry finish. Black nickel hardware, Tune-O-Matic bridge and tailpiece. ESP LH301 passives in H-H configuration with a split coil push-pull pot on the one tone control (one volume and three way Switch as well). ESP tuners and graphite nut. I originally had an '07 model with ESP-EMG lh300s (the guitar was abnormally bad: red lines through the body, Switch cutting out, pickups very little output, body virtually non resonant (big difference between bad agathis and decent agathis), strings cutting through the frets). I returned it and received the one I have now. Don't regret it though. // 9

Sound: I play a variety of styles (primarily metal and blues) and this guitar does each surprisingly well. I play through a DigiTech DF7 into a Blackheart 5w head with an Epiphone Valve Junior cab (they're still out of the BH cabs as far as I know, and I find both to be a good match). The pickups are about moderate output and are very clear. I'd prefer a bit hotter but I find the lh301s still do the job nicely enough (especially with both engaged). The split coil sounds very nice for cleans and almost acoustic-like in the middle, and without the split distortion sounds great in the bridge or neck position. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I love how this guitar feels! Smooth, thin neck (perfect for my hands as despite my average height I was cursed with really small hands, really good for the higher frets though), everything on properly, no jagged edges. The only other guitars I've liked the feel of more was a Fender '72 Thinline (poor thing was in a state of disrepair though). Slight bit of tuning issues until I increased the string gauge to .11s. It seems to be built for the higher gauges. Other than that no flaws that I didn't make besides a slight raising of the action (a few millimeters to get rid of a tiny amount of fret buzz). // 10

Reliability & Durability: Everything was set right when I got it, with exception to a loose tone knob that I ended up overtightening causing the tone pot shaft to crush into itself. Stupid thing to do. The hardware is tarnishing a bit, the strap buttons hold very nicely and are balanced well (I don't get any neckdive from mine), and I would depend on it as I'm a bit rough with my guitars, bumping into doors and walls, accidently dropping it, ect and so far it's withstood the punishment. It'll withstand live playing as long as you don't do anything stupid. Finish seems a bit thin but only on the back. // 8

Overall Impression: This plays every style I throw at it nicely (although style is more focused in the fingers). I've been playing guitar for about 5 years but only 16 months with an electric. I own an Epiphone SG Special (big step up from that) and an Alvarez 70's 5014 acoustic. I did wish it wasn't made of agathis at first (after the first one) but it sounded completely different from the crap agathis in the other one. I'll probably end up replacing the pickups for better ones later but for a guitar in this price range I find it to sound pretty damn good. If I lost it or it had been stolen I would try really hard to find it. If that fails I'd try to buy a better guitar but would really miss this one. Again, one of the best playing guitars I've got my hands on. // 9

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overall: 9.4
LTD Viper-200 FM Reviewed by: skeletonowl, on november 15, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 360

Purchased from: Local Store

Features: First off I bought this as my second guitar for an upgrade and I'm very pleased. Some features: Pickups: Comes with what I like to call "Black Box" Pickups. There are two and the sound they give is amazing clean or crunchy. I tried in various amps including the store's biggest Marshall and a crappy 10 watt at my home and the pickups respond so well. I don't feel the need to change them! Body: It's very sleek and dare I say sexy. The tiger stripish finish looks amazing exspecially in black. It's very smooth and sleek and the melted SG style body was easy for me to fall in love with. Very comfortable standing up or sitting down. Neck: Your hand glides very easily and the higher frets are easy to get too and your hand is comfortable anywhere. No complaints here. Overall it's such a easy gliding guitar. Extra features worth pointing out is their is just a pickup Switch, a volume nob and a tone nob. However it's a pull out coil nob for the tone which is a neat feature that I like using for quiet sections. Defiantly replace the strings though and go for a slightly heavier gauge. I suggest Super Slinky Hyrbrids from Ernie Ball. I use them and it allows me to Switch from drop d to Standard without bugging the E string to much. There is no whammy bar which I could care less for. // 10

Sound: This guitar is suitable for all types of music. Jazz, blues, rock, metal you name it! I've played from Stevie Ray to Job For a Cowboy and felt comfortable all the way! Very bright but can turn into a nightmarish sounding guitar with the right distortion. Metalcore is defiantly a stand out genre for this guitar. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I have no complaints except the bridge seems a very very tiny bt off to a point where you wouldn't even notice. Does not effect me but maybe it could be more off on another guitar so keep it in the back of your mind when purchasing. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I really feel that with proper care this guitar will be your trusty sidekick and can most likely not need a backup but always use a backup. The finish is great but in some spots seems a little thin but not enough to bother me at all. The strap buttons appear solid but kind of felt weird with the strap while standing up. // 10

Overall Impression: This is a tremondous improvement from my Ibanez starter guitar. If you want an upgrade and are ready to take a step up from beginner heres your guitar. I can't promise everyone will like the feel or body shape you just gotta find the special one but for me it's so comfortable and sleek. I am going to hold on to this guitar as long as I can! // 9

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overall: 8.4
LTD Viper-200 FM Reviewed by: lord_of_light, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 378

Purchased from: Soitin Laine

Features: Cos' there's no review on this specific model I decide to write about my Viper. I bought this piece of art used from a local guitar shop in September 2007. It was made in 2004 in Indonesia. The body shape is a modern version of the classic SG shape. It features a 24 3/4 scale set-neck, a 24 extra jumbo fret 3-piece painted mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard, the inlays are abalone dots (which look amazing) with the model name on the 12th fret and it also has a aged white binding on the neck and the headstock, the body is made of agathis with a flamed maple top which looks absolutely gorgeus with the see-thru black cherry finish, the bridge is a Standard TOM bridge with a stop tailpiece and the tuners are Standard non-locking ESP-Ltd tuners, all the hardware is black which fits the guitar perfectly, because the guitar was made in 2004 it has better specs than the present guitar that goes by the same name, it has real EMG HZ-4 passive pickups instead of the present EMG-ESP LH-300 pickups, the controls are volume, tone and a 3-way selector for the pickups. The one thing that I demanded from this guitar that it can handle the strings that I use, cos' my picking technigue is kinda rough an the tunings I mostly use are drop-D and Standard D, so I use a little stonger set, 11-70 to be precise. This guitar has no problem with the tension that is caused by the heavy gauge strings. The specs are very good for the price that I paid for this guitar, so I give it an 8 for the features. // 8

Sound: I play mostly thrash/speed/death metal like Mokoma, Testament, Anthrax and Death and it suits my needs perfectly. At home I play through a Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff and a Roland MicroCube and I can can get an awesome tone with them. I use the clean Black Panel channel on the Cube and take the distortion from the Muff. At band practice I play it through the Muff and Peavey Valveking head and a Hugness & Ketner 4X12 cabinet. The saund is absolutely crushing and perfect for the music I play. The viper has also a very nice rich and full clean saund when you throw a bit reverb in to the mix. I'm very satisfied with the tone and the variety on HZ-4's, so I give it a 9 for sound. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Cos' I bought this used I can't obviously say much about the factory set-up. I have adjusted everything on the guitar by myself from the trust rod to the pickup height. I also had make saddle holes bigger becouse the heavy gauge strings I use. And I bought it used it had a few scratches here and there, but they don't bother me at all. The finish is very solid and the craftmanship quality is even so I believe this guitar will last for many years to come. I give it a 8 for finish. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've had this for 5 months now and there hasn't occured any problems so far. I haven't had the chance to use it Live but I'm very positive that Live playing won't be a problem. All the hardware seems very solid so I think it will last without problems, and you can always replace the hardware if some problems come up with it. I use straplocks that I've made myself and they work perfectly. I would totally rely on this guitar Live, but no matter what you should always have a backup axe with you, just incase. Finish is very solid and it should last for years. I give it a 8 on reliability and durability. // 8

Overall Impression: As I said earlier it suits my style perfecly. I've been playing for about 1 years now and this is my second guitar, my first guitar was a Epiphone SG Special which was also very good value for your money. The other gear I own are Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff and a Roland MicroCube and I use Planet Wawes cables. If it was lost I would propably buy a 400 series Viper. I just love the overall look and sound of this guitar it fits me like a charm and the favourite feature is propably the eye catching finish. I have thougth about chanhing the pickups for a pair of Seymour Duncans but we'll see what happens. The next target for me is to save money for a Randall RH150G3 head and a nice 2X12 or 4X12 cabinet with Celestions. But I think that this guitar will stick with me for the rest of my life! // 9

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