#1
I know a very similar question was asked here, but the replies just didn't convince me, so I'll ask again.

I've been wanting an Explorer-shaped guitar for a while now, and I want to make an informed purchase. The problem is I'm from the butt-end of South America, so there's little variety (for some reason everyone plays Ibanez guitars here) and everything available is more expensive than in other countries. Buying it abroad ain't an option (lots of issues involved).

So far, these are the candidates (link to official specs, and my thoughts about them):

ESP LTD EX-401 DX (first of the list)
PRICE: around US$1,100 (very close to the american MSRP, which is rare around here)
PROS: I've been able to try it in a store and I liked how it feels. It seemed well built, the hardware seemed solid. The set-neck is always a plus.
CONS: I'm not too sure I like the active pickups, I'm more partial to passives. But I won't know for sure until I try it with my rig, and I can always change them anyway. It's also a new model, so there's little info or feedback about it. It doesn't come with a case (finding one that fits here is gonna be a pain).

Jackson KE3
PRICE: last time I checked, about US$1,000... but it was more than a year and a half ago and that was the price of the older model. I'm pretty sure it must have raised.
PROS: I like its curves more than the LTD's. Comes with a case.
CONS: Bolt-on neck (not that much of a con, but whatever). I love Seymour Duncans, but I don't like that pickup combo that much, so maybe I'd switch them. I've heard bad things about the licensed Floyd Rose it has. No store has Pro-series Jacksons in shelves, they only import them on-demand so I don't get to try it until I buy it. Talking about that... the official importer hasn't changed the specs of the KE3 to the newer model's, it's still listed as having Duncan Designed pups. That means I don't get to complain if they try to sell me the older model.

And now there's also the Jackson KE5FR, that looks sweet. But with no price announced and no release date I'm just not very convinced. I still have time before I finally save enough money, so who knows?

Gibsons or Epiphones are absolutely out of the question, the bastards that import them have them priced at 150% of the american MSRP. Same goes for Ibanez.

I wanna use the guitar to play mostly Thrash and Power Metal. I play other stuff too, but versatility ain't much of an issue since my current guitar can do lots of styles on its own. I'm on a tight budget, so I can't afford anything more expensive than $1,100, give or take. So, which one seems better, all things considered? If you have another candidate, I can see if it's available here so feel free to suggest.

Sorry for the long post :P , and thanks in advance to whoever can help me.
#2
Hey man, I own a Jackson KE-3, and holy, that is expensive for a KE-3. I got mine two years ago for $500(with tax already).

Anyways, the LFR on it isn't as bad as everyone says, I mean it could be better of course, but you know, it was pretty good for the price I paid. It didn't come with the case though, which is a royal bitch to find, telling you now. I can't help much with the pickups, because mine had Seymour Duncan SH-8 on both neck and bridge pickups.

Playability is great, to be completely honest, but the only problem I have with it is the position of the strap-button.
#3
Quote by Vantage
Hey man, I own a Jackson KE-3, and holy, that is expensive for a KE-3. I got mine two years ago for $500(with tax already).


Really? It wasn't too far from the recommended retail price back then, I think (mind you, I have to compare prices to the MSRP, no chance in hell to find prices that go as low as in the States).

About the pickups... MAYBE they'd bring the model with original SD's if I asked it. But I don't wanna bet on it. Small, not very attractive markets like Chile's tend to get the shortest straw in this kind of stuff.
#4
Quote by The_Bozz
Really? It wasn't too far from the recommended retail price back then, I think (mind you, I have to compare prices to the MSRP, no chance in hell to find prices that go as low as in the States).

About the pickups... MAYBE they'd bring the model with original SD's if I asked it. But I don't wanna bet on it. Small, not very attractive markets like Chile's tend to get the shortest straw in this kind of stuff.

Yeah, I got it for $425 + tax. It was the deal of my life.

I find the neck of this guitar(or Jacksons in general) to be much more comfortable than ESP's necks, but hey, it's all preference. And the case is a good deal, it took me at least a year to find a decent case for mine.
#5
If you can find the EX400, go for it. If you can TRY OUT the 401, go for it and find one of the better ones. I'm suspicious about the QC of the Indonesian 401's.
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

Bunch of faggots putting random riffs together and calling it "progressive" deathcore.
Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

Mod in UG's Official Gain Whores
#6
Kelly for great sexiness
Better, Faster, Stronger

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas State Wildcats
Quote by airbrendie
Hey guys in the last 3 weeks I ****ed all the girls in this picture, what do you think?

#7
Quote by Shinozoku
If you can find the EX400, go for it. If you can TRY OUT the 401, go for it and find one of the better ones. I'm suspicious about the QC of the Indonesian 401's.


I was thinking about the EX401DX because it's the only model that comes with a Floyd Rose, all the rest have stop-tails. As you may have guessed, I want a guitar with a FR to add more variety to my equipment (my current guitar is a very old and beat up Les Paul copy with some Seymour Duncans on it, even if it ain't in good shape it still turns people's heads when I try amps in stores).

I can try them before buying one, that's not a problem... but it IS a problem with the Jacksons. I just don't understand why they won't have Pro-series in the stores.

The case, while it will certainly be a problem, doesn't bother me too much for now. I don't intend to move the new guitar out of my room for a while
#8
The LTD, hands down. Set neck = more sustain. EMG's absolutely scream for metal. Grover tuners are great too. The Kelly seems to just have some random ones. So yeah, pretty much all the hardware on the LTD is way better, and it's a set neck. The choice seems pretty obvious to me :P .LTD's are quite nice too. There are some really nice guitars coming out of Korea right now (LTD, Schecter, Agile, Epiphone).

Kelly's, I don't know, I've never really been able to bond with them. Could never put my finger on it, but they never felt or sounded "right" to me. Maybe because I'm just too used to my Gibson, I don't know, but they always felt cheap to me. Especially one's with a bolt on neck. But that's just a personal preference; I can't stand bolt ons.
Guitars:
Agile PS900 Blue Flame: SD Blackouts, TonePros TOM, Grover Locking Mini-Rotomatic Tuners.
Amps:
Peavey 5150 Head w/Bias Mod.
Peavey Bandit 112
#9
Yeah, I had been drooling for the KE3 for a long time, but when the guy at this local store recommended me the LTD and showed me the specs I was impressed. It's been on my mind ever since. My main concern was that I don't have too much experience with locking trems and I don't know too much about ESP/LTD so I didn't know what to expect.
#10
Gibson Explorer.

I found out it's the only real way to play it. I've played all other body styles. None will sound, feel, or play like it sorry.

Save money, get it. You won't regret it. I bought an epiphone and tried ESP's, LTD's etc. Just no comparison.


The only other option I'd suggest would be the KE2 (US made) because of the floating trem, but that's 2 G's.
Last edited by nan0 at Jul 3, 2009,
#11
I already thought about a Gibson. But just so you get what I'm going through in this God-forsaken land:

In the States, a Gibson Les Paul Studio costs $1,200 MSRP but can be found at $800 at most internet stores. Down here in Chile, a LP Studio will set you back $1,777. That's a 48% more than the american MSRP, and 120% MORE than the price you get in american online stores. That applies to all other Gibsons and the Epiphones as well.

It just ain't worth it.

I know, my country sucks.
#13
Found a '78 Gibson a bit over my planned budget in a site similar to eBay in my country. Unfortunately, the bid ends tomorrow and I don't have the cash right now. Well, I still want a guitar with a Floyd Rose, so I may get a Gibson when I finally finish Uni and get a decent job.
#14
Oh, if you want a floyd than yeah I'd go with the KE3. You might want to replaced it with an OFR eventually