#1
WARNING: OP has inability to make short, efficient threads

This isn't going to be as easy as it sounds, believe it or not. The main problem is that I live in Scotland, Edinburgh's a drive away luckily but even at that it isn't easy to come across that huge a range of guitars. Specifically ESP guitars, which is hilarious given my thread title. While the internet does indeed give me access to pretty much any guitar, the issue there, is that I can't try out a guitar that's only available to me through the net.

Quite a while ago I DID find an ESP in a small shop that's since closed. Sadly the ESP was sold before it's closure, I believe. I was a fairly new guitarist at the time, well, relatively speaking since I'm about 7 years in now. I still remember how good it felt to me even now, it was an ESP LTD Viper 100fm. When I think back the reason I'm sure I loved it so much was the extra jumbo frets, possibly in harmony with the scale length, which were so kind to the dainty playing style that I still have.

So, I've been considering finding an equivalent guitar recently to see if I'm right. While I say I play daintily, I don't really mean slick rapid scale solos, wish I could. I like to play a variety of chord and lead stuff, rock, metal and anything in between. But I do it with a fairly light touch, small hands for one reason. Even though I get away with it on the guitars that I'm used to, just, I still think the lighter touch of that ESP from so long ago is something I want.

(This spoiler is just me saying I'm aware of what jumbo frets do despite not having that much experience with them, so you don't have to bother reading if you believe that I know this, which I don't blame you if you don't.)
I'm using "light touch" which I know is a general phrase but I'm actually fairly aware of the effect of extra jumbo (or just bigger) frets in that they are taller, meaning that the string doesn't have to go as far down to the surface of the fretboard in order to be tense enough to sound a note. Of course this means pushing the string too hard will cause it to become further tense than is required to sound the note, sharpening the pitch. Which is not really a possibility with me. I've got a general idea of the pros and cons.

THE ACTUAL POINT OF THIS THREAD

So, any ideas on what guitars with XJ frets I'm likely to come by and be able to try? Ones that a lot of stores should have. I'd prefer passive HH (or HSH) with coil split and I won't get the use out of a trem bridge, so I'm more than happy for it not to be. But most applicable suggestions are fine by me.
Last edited by sasquatchjosh96 at Dec 4, 2015,
#2
What is the appeal of XJ frets?

How thick does the wire need to be
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#3
Quote by Dreadnought
What is the appeal of XJ frets?

How thick does the wire need to be

Trying to figure that out myself. I liked them when I tried it, so I wanna find an equivalent guitar. I've got a strat (well, a strat clone with actual strat single coils... so not too far off) and I like it, it's not like I'm XJ CRAZY or anything. Anyway, ain't it all subjective anyhow? :P
#4
Actual ESPs are pretty hard to come by in Scotland. LTDs are a lot easier(I'm pretty sure GuitarGuitar in Edinburgh would have a few in stock, but their Glasgow store is bigger). Try giving them a call and asking, they're generally pretty helpful(or maybe just eager to make a sale).
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#5
Quote by sasquatchjosh96
Trying to figure that out myself. I liked them when I tried it, so I wanna find an equivalent guitar. I've got a strat (well, a strat clone with actual strat single coils... so not too far off) and I like it, it's not like I'm XJ CRAZY or anything. Anyway, ain't it all subjective anyhow? :P


Well I just don't understand. Does the thicker fret wire make it easier to identify the fret or something?

I've met some people who seem to think that "jumbo frets" means that the distance between the actual frets (the pieces of metal) is greater. Even if that were true, I don't understand the appeal of that either
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#6
Quote by Dreadnought
Well I just don't understand. Does the thicker fret wire make it easier to identify the fret or something?

I've met some people who seem to think that "jumbo frets" means that the distance between the actual frets (the pieces of metal) is greater. Even if that were true, I don't understand the appeal of that either

Basically for a smaller fret you have to push all the way to the fretboard like a good hard working person. I, on the other hand am a lazy ass with genetically disadvantaged fingers so I like the idea that because the fret is taller I can just use the tension these frets create to play notes (which happens at a heigher point than touching the fretboard most often). That's my understanding of it and what it felt like to me. Make the frets easier to identify? You insult me, good sir.

Quote by slapsymcdougal
Actual ESPs are pretty hard to come by in Scotland. LTDs are a lot easier(I'm pretty sure GuitarGuitar in Edinburgh would have a few in stock, but their Glasgow store is bigger). Try giving them a call and asking, they're generally pretty helpful(or maybe just eager to make a sale).

Also, slapsy, thanks for the reply. The problem I find with a large portion of the ltd range is that a lot of them are les paul / explorer type jams which ain't really my thing. I tend to like superstrat type guitars which is why the viper 100fm, the ltd guitar I let slip through my fingertips, was pretty good for me. Also it had passives and no trem which was nice. (A lot of the ltd's are active and trem) Surely there's coil taps on some of the type of guitars I'm looking for, although the combination of XJ frets and single coils sounds quite funny. Still, always handy to have some twang when you need it.
Last edited by sasquatchjosh96 at Nov 30, 2015,
#7
i thought the appeal of XJ frets was that your fingers don't really ever touch the actual fretboard
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#8
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
i thought the appeal of XJ frets was that your fingers don't really ever touch the actual fretboard

Yeah, that's a part of what I said.
#9
I don't know what LTD means by XJ, but by looking at pics, they aren't wide. They couldn't be. That guitar's scale length is 24.75. My BC Rich Warlock, also made in Korea, is the same scale length and looks like it has similar sized frets, at least when it comes to width, and they are less wide than the jumbo frets on my 25.5 scale Jackson Warrior.

Could it be that what you enjoyed about the guitar was a good setup and...low action ("meaning that the string doesn't have to go as far down to the surface of the fretboard in order to be tense enough to sound a note")? You don't have to raise the fret to get close to the string, you can lower the string to get closer to the fret. Usually associated with metal, some guys somehow get their guitars set up to have super low action with zero fret buzz. And if you aren't used to that, it's quite astonishing and a comfortable feel.
Last edited by dthmtl3 at Nov 30, 2015,
#10
Quote by dthmtl3
I don't know what LTD means by XJ, but by looking at pics, they aren't wide. They couldn't be. That guitar's scale length is 24.75. My BC Rich Warlock, also made in Korea, is the same scale length and looks like it has similar sized frets, at least when it comes to width, and they are less wide than the jumbo frets on my 25.5 scale Jackson Warrior.

Could it be that what you enjoyed about the guitar was a good setup and...low action ("meaning that the string doesn't have to go as far down to the surface of the fretboard in order to be tense enough to sound a note")? You don't have to raise the fret to get close to the string, you can lower the string to get closer to the fret. Usually associated with metal, some guys somehow get their guitars set up to have super low action with zero fret buzz. And if you aren't used to that, it's quite astonishing and a comfortable feel.

Dude... I'm not stupid. 7 years in and not having a low action on any guitar despite enjoying low action would be... just something else. Not knowing what low action is would be something else. You thinking that of me is... something else.


I appreciate your doubts in whether or not the frets can be seen as XJ and that's interesting contribution but otherwise, do you have any suggestions or did you just come here to tell me something I had already considered? :P
Last edited by sasquatchjosh96 at Nov 30, 2015,
#11
LTD "XJ" are industry standard Jumbo IME, not sure why someone who hasn't played one is trying to eyeball pictures to judge fret size. Not sure why people are giving you a hard time, seems like you're pretty clear on what you want.

The EC1000 was my first thought from the description. It's got everything except the coil splits. I'm not sure if the OEM pickups have a 4-conductor, in which case it would be really easy to add them. That's probably the most common of the midrange LTDs, I think. Most of the LTDs I recall playing have had the jumbo frets, so you should be able to get an idea with nearly any common model. At least in the US, the EMG model seems to be the most common to find in stores, but they do come with a JB/Jazz set as well.
#12
Quote by Roc8995
LTD "XJ" are industry standard Jumbo IME, not sure why someone who hasn't played one is trying to eyeball pictures to judge fret size. Not sure why people are giving you a hard time, seems like you're pretty clear on what you want.

The EC1000 was my first thought from the description. It's got everything except the coil splits. I'm not sure if the OEM pickups have a 4-conductor, in which case it would be really easy to add them. That's probably the most common of the midrange LTDs, I think. Most of the LTDs I recall playing have had the jumbo frets, so you should be able to get an idea with nearly any common model. At least in the US, the EMG model seems to be the most common to find in stores, but they do come with a JB/Jazz set as well.

Glad I'm not the only one that thought dthmt3l was being harsh, yeesh.

The EC looks objectively to be a nice guitar, thing is it's a drive and a half to get to Birmingham and play one :P I've never really been sure about emg's (or actives) in general, had a friend who was constantly changing batteries in his, but he may have gotten that sorted out. Always been a passive guy. This last thing is a bit of a nitpick but it's got that les paul shape, never really been a fan of it. (I know, sue me :P) Thanks for the suggestion.

Ibanez are fairly abundant in Scottish stores, anyone got an idea there? I'm looking for any brand equivalent anyway, I'm pretty sure the ltd viper100fm was a take on Tony Iommi's custom SG in the first place.
Last edited by sasquatchjosh96 at Nov 30, 2015,
#13
Check out the ESP/LTD M-1000 and the Jackson Dinky - a used DK model - DK2 for passives or DKMG for Actives (well some DKMG came with passive EMGs - EMGHZ are passive).

When I got my ESP E-II Eclipse I thought that those frets were huge. They play bigger than the frets on my Jacksons. But I never touch the fretboard on either. . .

I'd really avoid anything lower than a 400 in the ESP/LTD line up. Also avoid the Jackson JS line.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#14
Quote by metalmingee
Check out the ESP/LTD M-1000 and the Jackson Dinky - a used DK model - DK2 for passives or DKMG for Actives (well some DKMG came with passive EMGs - EMGHZ are passive).

When I got my ESP E-II Eclipse I thought that those frets were huge. They play bigger than the frets on my Jacksons. But I never touch the fretboard on either. . .

I'd really avoid anything lower than a 400 in the ESP/LTD line up. Also avoid the Jackson JS line.

Sweet, I'd considered a Dinky. And I can try them in shops since they have them. I guess if I spend the money on one (used or not) I might as well spend a little extra on getting a coil splt installed (or possibly rewired depending on what's going on under the pickups) for some more versitality. Man am I obesessed with coil tap. Ofc, I haven't played one yet, but I shall soon. Thanks for the suggestion.
Last edited by sasquatchjosh96 at Dec 4, 2015,
#15
Quote by Dreadnought
What is the appeal of XJ frets?

How thick does the wire need to be



I love jumbo frets to the point that I've actually considered learning to scallop fretboards.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#16
Quote by JustRooster
I love jumbo frets to the point that I've actually considered learning to scallop fretboards.


What benefit do you get from scalloped fretboards? Easier to play?

I've never played one, but I've seen some on youtube.
#17
Pretty much all LTD's I've come across has XJ frets (owned 2 myself in the past). To one of the previous posters, XJ frets are difficult to eyeball as it's actually the height of the frets and not the width or space in between that's different. The higher XJ frets sort of emulates the feel scalloped fretboards. Reasons people might like that feeling are they dislike feeling the fretboard when playing; easier to 'grip' the strings for bends and vibratos; some may find it easier to slide and/or play fast on one. However you would have to learn to control your playing on a scalloped frets as it's easy to play the notes out of pitch if you aren't careful.

As for OP, if you like the feel of XJ frets then try out the guitars already mentioned in this thread, LTDs are pretty good guitars as well. Sounds like you would prefer the M and Viper series. But I would be unsure of having to press down less on XJ frets, sure you tend to get a lighter touch so as to not play out of pitch but in terms of how deep you need to press down shouldn't really be affected by the frets?
#18
Quote by JustRooster
I love jumbo frets to the point that I've actually considered learning to scallop fretboards.


Now I want to check to see if my Peavey has jumbo frets. Pretty sure it does
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#19
Quote by Way Cool JR.
Pretty much all Schecter's have XJ frets. Surprising they haven't been mentioned yet.
Any one's in particular you think'd be good?
#20
Quote by TobusRex
What benefit do you get from scalloped fretboards? Easier to play?

I've never played one, but I've seen some on youtube.


From what I've heard:

For some it's easier to play, for others it isn't.

The benefit is, your fingers don't come in contact with the fingerboard. Theorically, this helps you play faster, because you don't have to press down the strings as much. A very light touch is enough for the note to be played. But you may have to get used to it first before benefiting from one. Or you may never get used to it at all, because you may be one of those people who like to feel the fingerboard.

Jumbo frets mimic the feel of a scalloped fretboard, but it is cheaper and easier to produce guitars with jumbo frets instead of scalloping them.

I never played a guitar with a scalloped fretboard either, but I also heard that it is more difficult to fret chords on them. If that's true, it's another disadvantage. I don't feel any difficulty fretting chords on guitars with jumbo/extra jumbo frets.
Last edited by DanyFS at Dec 1, 2015,
#21
Quote by DanyFS
From what I've heard:

For some it's easier to play, for others it isn't.

The benefit is, your fingers don't come in contact with the fingerboard. Theorically, this helps you play faster, because you don't have to press down the strings as much. A very light touch is enough for the note to be played. But you may have to get used to it first before benefiting from one. Or you may never get used to it at all, because you may be one of those people who like to feel the fingerboard.

Jumbo frets mimic the feel of a scalloped fretboard, but it is cheaper and easier to produce guitars with jumbo frets instead of scalloping them.

I never played a guitar with a scalloped fretboard either, but I also heard that it is more difficult to fret chords on them. If that's true, it's another disadvantage. I don't feel any difficulty fretting chords on guitars with jumbo/extra jumbo frets.

Yeah, one of the reasons I'm interested in the jumbo frets is the "effortless" chord type effect. I'm not really a shredmeister or anything, although I play some lead stuff, so I'm interested in the versatility.
#23
Quote by Dreadnought
Turns out that my guitar has jumbo frets

Has your world just been flip turned upside down?
#24
Nah I haven't ever paid attention to it, and will probably will continue not to, seeing how acoustic is my main shtick
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#27
I do actually own a schecter but I've never been able to find out what it is. It's related to the C1, I'm pretty sure it's a cheap/beginner variant, but I 've looked at all their specs and it doesn't match any of them. It was always a very clunky guitar though, my least played for sure. I don't think it's really a good guitar to base my schecter opinion on. It doesn't have the thinnish neck that XJ guitars seem to have as well so I'm really not sure about it.
#28
Quote by sasquatchjosh96
Also, slapsy, thanks for the reply. The problem I find with a large portion of the ltd range is that a lot of them are les paul / explorer type jams which ain't really my thing. I tend to like superstrat type guitars which is why the viper 100fm, the ltd guitar I let slip through my fingertips, was pretty good for me. Also it had passives and no trem which was nice. (A lot of the ltd's are active and trem) Surely there's coil taps on some of the type of guitars I'm looking for, although the combination of XJ frets and single coils sounds quite funny. Still, always handy to have some twang when you need it.


While I am not a big fan of big online stores if your local shops can´t supply what you want I´d advise ordering an LTD Viper from a shop with a 30 day or so return policy. I´m sure the UK is as full of them a Germany is.