Alright, my first NGD post on this forum. Here is some back story, a couple weeks ago, I found an old Heathkit Hi-Fi amp kit that was never finished, along with a preamp. My dad bought it at a garage sale decades ago, and never used it. Well, it was full of NOS tube goodness. It had 2 Telefunken 12AU7s, 2 Genalex KT66s, and a Ken-Rad 5R4GY in it, and the preamp had 2 Mullard 12AX7s in it and a Telefunken 12AU7.

So, combine NOS tube goodness and ebay and you have fuel for my GAS . So far I have only sold the Mullard 12AX7s, and combine that money with some of what I had to buy the subject of this NGD...

An ESP MH-401. So now onto the review.

I first set my eye on this guitar when it jumped out at me hanging on the wall of my local guitar store. The color was awesome. I picked it up and was surprised at it's quality and features considering the 500 dollar price tag. The Floyd stayed in tune when I abused it a bit, it had EMGs (more on that later), and it had a set thru neck, not to mention the awesome looks.

I went home from the guitar store and saw that the guitar was listed for 700 dollars on MF. I was a bit surprised, its not often that I see a guitar at a local music store with a price tag 200 dollars lower than the MF price. Then I found the aforementioned tubes, and fast forward 7 days and I've got a shiny new guitar.

This is the first guitar that I have owned with a Floyd Rose, but I have had quite a bit of experience with them in the past. It is nice for some stuff, the only things that I don't like about it are that the fine tuners get in the way, it goes sharp if you palm mute too hard, and you can't do double stop bends with it very well, but oh well.

Now, how does it sound? Well, I have mixed feelings about the EMG pickups. They certainly don't sound bad but they are lacking some tone that the passives in my Dean have, and its not like the passives in the Dean are anything high end, it was a 220 dollar guitar. This isn't to say that I don't like the sound of it, however. They do sound heavy, they are just less natural sounding then passives.

As far as quality and feel, this guitar has been great. The neck profile is nice, it is in between my Schecter and my Dean (the Dean (a Vendetta 1.0) is nothing like a razorback or most other popular Deans, its almost like an Ibanez profile neck, thin.) and although I'm not super fond of having a gloss finish on the neck, it doesn't feel bad.

The fret work is quite good, its every bit as good as my Schecter, although the frets aren't quite as big. I'm not sure what they are actually specified as. The fretboard was a little bit dirty, I still haven't cleaned and lemon oiled it yet.

I love the blue color, it REALLY jumps out, and it has a matching quilted maple veneer on the headstock which is a nice touch. The guitar has a nice white binding all the way around the body and the neck, which is nice. The upper fret access great, every bit as good as my brother's neck-thru C-1 Classic, or my Hellraiser. The carve of the top is nice, the body is thinner than my Hellraiser and the carve is slightly less aggressive.

The trem on it surprised me for a 500 dollar guitar, I usually dislike most Floyds that come on these mid range guitars, but the Floyd Rose "Special" on this holds a tune really really well, and you can adjust the tension on the bar so that it either falls down freely or stays where you want it, depending on your preference.

As far as the rest of the hardware goes, the black chrome or whatever you want to call it is nice, I'm not sure whether the tuners are Grovers or LTDs but it doesn't matter because its a locking nut anyway. This is a weird observation, but the texture on the knobs is smoother than on both my other guitars, but still grippy. The jack, for some reason, feels more solid to me then on my other two guitars.

God, that ended up being a longer review than I thought it would! You can expect more NGDs from me, I still haven't sold the KT66s yet and I just watched a set go for 1500 on ebay !

Oh and here is a picture of the amp/cab that I am playing through, just for good measure. I just biased it today (you might be able to see that the back grill is off) and it sounds really good!

Dean Vendetta 1.0
Schecter Hellraiser DLX
ESP MH-401
Bugera 6260
2x12 made by a local guy, now loaded with an Eminence Texas Heat and Man O War
MXR 10-band EQ
Last edited by Patrick_W at Jul 16, 2010,
HNGD! The guitar is cool, but I'm lovin the Bugera.
Epi Elitist LP Plus
Marshall Class 5
Vox AC30 CC2

"A person is a success if they get up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do."
AM, I would totally sell them to you, PM for details.

Oh, and the careful observer of this thread might notice that the volume of my 6260 is on 8... Yes, I played it like that, it was awesome, and after playing like that for a while, it smelled like hot tubes
Dean Vendetta 1.0
Schecter Hellraiser DLX
ESP MH-401
Bugera 6260
2x12 made by a local guy, now loaded with an Eminence Texas Heat and Man O War
MXR 10-band EQ
gorgeous guitar man! probably my favorite finish available on any ESP/LTD. glad you're liking the FR special. ive heard mixed reviews of those and ive never had playing time on one. several months ago i was debating between another LTD H or MH model or a schecter c-1 classic and decided to go with the schecter rather than get a 3rd LTD. overall would you say you like the feel of the 401 more than your brothers c-1 classic?

good luck selling those tubes. i happen to NOT have $1500 lying around to blow on tubes, sorry

7 String+ ERG Legion!!

LTD Snakebyte
Agile AL-727
ESP Horizon
Warmoth Swirled 7
Schecter C-1 Classic
Laney Ironheart 60w + Avatar Cab

the hellraiser deluxe looks better in real
HNGD with the LTD
schecter and esp/ltd are very similar when compared side by side in the picture
guess that asian guy Hisatake Shibuya is doing some good
@SYLrules88 Thanks, I love the finish too! I haven't played the Classic in a while but from what I remember, the frets are bigger, the neck is a little thicker, its about 10 pounds heavier (lol). I guess overall I would just describe the Schecter as solid. My brother keeps 10-60 Zakk Wylde strings on it and I think they fit the personality of the guitar, I guess you could say. Heavy. The ESP is more of a shredder, I would say. The neck is a little thinner, its got the Floyd, and its lighter weight, and a little lower action. Plus it's got 9s on it right now which make it feel even more like a shredder to me, since I'm used to GHS 10-52 strings.

So it really comes down to the set-up (strings, action etc), and the way you want to use it. I think both guitars are very similar in quality and they both sound great, they are just slightly different, I don't think I could pick a favorite between the two!

@metalheadblues Yeah, the Hellraiser does look better in real life. I'm glad that it looks as good as it does, because all of the pictures of it that I could find online when I was buying it looked terrible lol.

@The3818919 I never made a NAD thread for the 6260 but it would have deserved it lol, it has exceeded my expectations. I bought it used for 325 bucks and it is MINT, it hasn't given me any problems, and most importantly it sounds really, really good. Biasing it correctly helped quite a bit, and the MXR 10 band EQ doesn't hurt. It certainly doesn't need an overdrive pedal in front of it, no matter what kind of metal you are playing. It works great at bedroom volumes (better than I expected, I didn't buy it for bedroom volumes) but it really comes alive once you start getting above 3 or 4 on the volume.
Dean Vendetta 1.0
Schecter Hellraiser DLX
ESP MH-401
Bugera 6260
2x12 made by a local guy, now loaded with an Eminence Texas Heat and Man O War
MXR 10-band EQ
Last edited by Patrick_W at Jul 17, 2010,