#1
Hi everyone. I've been playing for like a year and am pretty much a noob in terms of brands/what's good what's bad.

I try to hang around here and learn, but there's one thing I still haven't gotten the hang of: What's the relation between ESP and LTD? From what I get, LTD is a sister company to ESP that would produce more "budget-priced" versions, is that it?

In this case, for example, ESP Viper and LTD Viper-1000, specs-wise they're pretty much the same, except for tuners/nut material (What sort of difference do they make? Do they affect the sound is it more build-wise?), but I always see people stating that the ESP is superior. How come?

Any info on the whole ESP/LTD thing is appreciated =).

Thanks!
#2
yea LTD is pretty much budget versions of ESP guitars, like you said. There's a few more differences between the guitars you mentioned, especially types of wood which will make it sound better (nice wood is very expensive) and stuff like the tuners are higher-quality/more expensive parts. In general, you can expect the ESP Viper to be built to more precise tolerances, making is sound better, look better, play better etc.

edit: if you're familiar with them, its a similar deal with PRS guitars and PRS SE guitars.
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Last edited by ironman45 at Jul 2, 2011,
#3
According to the ESP website, the woods would be the same between those two: Mahogany body/neck with ebony fingerboard (which as far as I know is close to perfect for metal right?)

(for reference: http://www.espguitars.com/guitars/esp-standard/viper.html http://www.espguitars.com/guitars/ltd-standard-deluxe/viper-1000_blk.html)

Also, the LTD is set-neck while the ESP is set-through. Could this be part of it?

You mentioned the differences in the materials of the hardware and such. Do these affect the playing very much or are they more for build/durability/appearances?

Oh, one more thing. I plan to play metal in the future (reason I'm so interested in getting knowledgeable on these =P), would the lack of a whammy hamper me very much when playing metal? How necessary is it?

Thanks!
#4
Quote by Rainmaker31
Also, the LTD is set-neck while the ESP is set-through. Could this be part of it?

You mentioned the differences in the materials of the hardware and such. Do these affect the playing very much or are they more for build/durability/appearances?

Oh, one more thing. I plan to play metal in the future (reason I'm so interested in getting knowledgeable on these =P), would the lack of a whammy hamper me very much when playing metal? How necessary is it?

Thanks!

A bit, yeah. Set-through is like a super long-tenon set neck (Gibson wishes their neck joints were this nice and deep)

Materials and hardware are for tuning stability and durability/looks.

That depends on your playing style entirely. How useful is the neck pickup for you? How useful are 24 frets for you? It all depends on what you personally see yourself using.

ESP: Far superior QC and better tone woods selected, + you get high end guitars not laden with tacky abalone.

LTD: Pretty good QC on the higher end models but the best ones usually are overly adorned with abalone.
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Last edited by Shinozoku at Jul 2, 2011,
#5
simply put, you get what you pay for
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#6
resale value is also a plus for the real ESP's. it may not be importiant to you , but it is for some people. when i buy gear, i buy quality gear at a price that i can profit or at minimum break even. but again, i go through maybe 20 guitars a year and keep two or three.
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#7
The hardware on the ESP's will probably last longer than the hardware on the LTD's. I have owned multiple of the mid to high range LTD models, and I have noticed that the black nickel hardware will start to oxidize in only a few months. This doesn't necessarily affect the playability or sound of the guitar, but it doesn't look pretty. The LTD guitars are great in terms of build quality though. When you play one, they feel sturdy and well put together, which is something that isn't always true of other brands in that price range. They just use cheap hardware. (Bridges, knobs, etc.)

One thing that I noticed that nobody has mentioned so far is that part of the difference in the ESP/LTD price range is that the LTD lines are made on assembly lines (most that I have seen are made in Indonesia, but I think some of the higher end models are still made in Korea. The Korean made guitars are typically higher quality.) The ESP's however, are built by actual professionals in Japan. This leads to overall better build quality.
#8
Simply put, LTD's are generally inferior in quality to ESP's. Now, that doesn't mean that LTD's are pieces of shit, but they use cheaper electronics and hardware, and lower quality wood. The more expensive, name-brand stuff they put on the ESP's, as well as better wood. It's also reflective in their prices. I'm not putting down LTD, though. They are still excellent guitars, and the higher end 1000 series are pretty close to a standard ESP.
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#9
Quote by Rainmaker31
According to the ESP website, the woods would be the same between those two: Mahogany body/neck with ebony fingerboard (which as far as I know is close to perfect for metal right?)

(for reference: http://www.espguitars.com/guitars/esp-standard/viper.html http://www.espguitars.com/guitars/ltd-standard-deluxe/viper-1000_blk.html)

Also, the LTD is set-neck while the ESP is set-through. Could this be part of it?

You mentioned the differences in the materials of the hardware and such. Do these affect the playing very much or are they more for build/durability/appearances?

Oh, one more thing. I plan to play metal in the future (reason I'm so interested in getting knowledgeable on these =P), would the lack of a whammy hamper me very much when playing metal? How necessary is it?

Thanks!

Although its the same kind of wood, the ESP's might get higher quality lumber. The set-neck vs set through is definitely a factor, set thru will give better sustain and sound I believe. The different hardware affect durability more than playability, but there might be minor differences, like some bridges and locking tuners make it easier than others (even of similar style) to replace strings. Also shoddy bridges can break strings easier if they have sharp edges or burrs. You see that more in really cheap guitars though, LTD's are most likely fine. Whammy is totally up to personal taste. I play mostly metal and have never had a whammy, though I'd like to get one just to play around sometimes. I wouldn't expect I'd use it a lot. Definitely not necessary.
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#10
Quote by Rainmaker31
Hi everyone. I've been playing for like a year and am pretty much a noob in terms of brands/what's good what's bad.

I try to hang around here and learn, but there's one thing I still haven't gotten the hang of: What's the relation between ESP and LTD? From what I get, LTD is a sister company to ESP that would produce more "budget-priced" versions, is that it?

In this case, for example, ESP Viper and LTD Viper-1000, specs-wise they're pretty much the same, except for tuners/nut material (What sort of difference do they make? Do they affect the sound is it more build-wise?), but I always see people stating that the ESP is superior. How come?

Any info on the whole ESP/LTD thing is appreciated =).

Thanks!


epiphone had the les paul elite or elitist a while back and those were the same quality/higher specs as the gibson les paul studio so it's just to shorten the gap between the brands.
epiphone is the ltd of gibson as ltd is the epiphone for esp
#11
Fwiw my kh-2 needed a fret leveling before it could even be played. 2500$ guitar with serious fret buzz and from the factory the actio at the 12th was 4/32(1/8") which is far too high for me. I set all my guitars at 3/64". My ltd mh-300 had 3/64" straight out I'd the box and my ec-1000 had slightly higher action at 5/64" but still playable.

After a year of playing I honestly wouldn't waste the money on an actual ESP. I'd aim for a mid to high end ltd. They are still great guitars. I was shocked to see my exact guitar in a music video from cold. Even professionals find them to do the job just fine.
#12
Quote by M_16A
simply put, you get what you pay for


This sums it up the best.

While the specs may be the same, specs are really just print on paper. With ESP, you're getting superior craftsmanship, extremely fine attention to details, The best build quality, the best tone woods available (no two pieces of woods are the same - some are more resonant/have more sustain than others. Which is why most guitars can be made out of "mahogany" or "alder", and yet some sound better than others).

If you want more detailed info about what all the different model numbers mean, and general info on ESP, there's a blog in my profile about them.
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#13
Slightly off topic but...

If LTDs are pretty good guitars for their prices, why are they listed as guitars to avoid in the Stickied FAQ on this page?

Only reason why I ask is because i'm strongly considering an LTD and I was a bit thrown off by reading that.
#14
Quote by Ragu35
Slightly off topic but...

If LTDs are pretty good guitars for their prices, why are they listed as guitars to avoid in the Stickied FAQ on this page?

Only reason why I ask is because i'm strongly considering an LTD and I was a bit thrown off by reading that.


Ibanez elitists?

I've played an Ltd deluxe mh1000 prolly 10 times (buddy owns one) and was fairly impressed. Pretty well same specs as my Prs se Torero and same price, but the Esp has an actual maple top (quilted) instead of my flame veneer.
On the downside it has a Set thru neck.

Dont believe what others say. Its all opinion.
If it feels good to play and sounds good to you is all that matters.
#15
Quote by DimebagZappa
Ibanez elitists?
Pretty well same specs as my Prs se Torero and same price, but the Esp has an actual maple top (quilted) instead of my flame veneer.



No it doesn't. LTD deluxe series have veneers. Only ESP's come with real caps.

@Ragu35: It's probably in the 'to avoid list' because the cheapest models that LTD makes aren't really very good. But once you get in the 400 and above series, you're holding a good guitar.
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