LTD Arrow-401 review by ESP

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 7.5 (15 votes)
ESP: LTD Arrow-401
5

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Amazon

Features — 10
This guitar was made in 2015 in China but is inspected in the USA. you will not be disappointed with the quality at all. It has 24 Extra jumbo frets, a 25.5 scale, rosewood fret board. The body is made out of Mahogany and the neck 3 piece maple. This guitar is a set-thru setup. The finish is gloss black, which is the only color available as of right now. This guitar has a very metal looking body style, much like the V cut series but more aggressive looking IMO. The bridge is non other than a Floyd Rose Special. The pickups are active EMG 81 and EMG 85. The controls include one volume and a 3-way tone switch. The tuners are locking since it has a Floyd Rose. I got the guitar as a kit from Amazon, so it came with a great deal of accessories. This includes a whammy bar, gig bad, strap, picks, guitar stand, digital tuner, and 10 foot instrument cable. Huge bang for your buck purchase. I got an amazing deal, $125 less than what amazon is advertising!

Sound — 10
EMG pickups are some of the best sounding pickups you can buy, especially for playing metal. The ESP Arrow-401 has both of these amazing sounding pickups in it, the EMG 81 and 85. Naturally, that means this guitar sounds amazing. The EMG 85 allows for deeper, tones perfect for soloing/clean riffs. The EMG 81 allows for brighter metal soundsing riffs. I love the way this guitar sounds. Since the ESP Arrow-401 is SET-THRU body (similar to NECK-THRU), this allows the guitar to have good sustain. My Jackson RR24 is NECK-THRU which is supposed to be better than SET-THRU, but I honestly still think that the ESP Arrow-401 has better sustain than my Jackson RR24 which is neck-thru. The setup that I use is a Peavey 6505+ with a Marshall cab with no effects for shows, and a little Line 6 for practicing/writing. You will not be disappointed with the sound of this guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar plays perfectly. I am very much impressed by how the guitar feels, you just want to/have to play it fast. In fact, it plays almost exactly like my RR24, better even. The action is very low without causing buzzing on the frets. I play in D-Standard/Drop-C tuning (DGCFAD/CGCFAD). It's a very popular tuning for metal. With this specific tuning, you have to adjust the guitar to accommodate for the different tension on the strings. This guitar comes adjusted for E-standard tuning, meaning that the strings have much more tension on them. All I had to do was remove the middle Floyd Rose spring, and tighten the two screws stretching the remaining two springs a little bit at a time until I got the action as low as I could without causing buzzing. Some guitars buzz very early in this adjustment process making the action really high off the fret board. That severely affects playability in a negative way in my opinion. The ESP Arrow-401 adjusts so that the action is very close with zero buzzing allowing you to play fast riffs with a relaxed/light hand.

It is absolutely perfect for fast rhythms, and soloing. The Floyd Rose Special is another huge sales point for this guitar. After owning a guitar with a Floyd Rose, it's hard to want anything but a Floyd Rose. The locking tremolo means that your guitar will NOT go out of tune, even during transportation. With a Floyd Rose, you have the option to adjust the action easier as stated above, you can fine tune the guitar much easier, and you can use a whammy bar. Who doesn't like to play around with a whammy bar? Another great feature this guitar has is that it is extremely light. The shape of this guitar saves a lot of weight. It also is perfectly balanced, that is, if you are standing and using a strap, you can take both hands off the guitar and it will NOT drastically shift position on you. This is huge for me. When I play shows, I hate when a guitar is unbalanced, heavy, and clunky feeling. For those of you used to playing traditional shaped guitars, you may have a bit of adjusting to do playing this one sitting down. You will get used to it eventually. I think that the ESP Arrow-401 is perfect feeling in every way.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I have only had it about 2 weeks, but it feels better than my Jackson RR24. That is saying a lot. I have been playing my RR24 exclusively since 2007. Everything on this guitar feels of great quality, I would trust this guitar at a show 100 percent. The hardware is solid construction. The bridge is Floyd Rose Special, so you know that is of great quality. I think the strap buttons would hold up just fine. However, I like having strap locks, so I switched mine out the day I got the guitar. The finish is great, it seems like it will last for quite a while. The only problem is that gloss black is hard to keep clean, and that is the only color available for this guitar at the moment. This guitar also has some edges that stick out just asking to get bumped, whacked, nicked, dinged, etc. SO keep that in mind when handling this instrument.

Overall Impression — 10
Never thought that I would say it, but I think that I have found a guitar that I like more than my custom Jackson RR24 which I have been playing since 2007. The ESP Arrow-401 not only looks better, and has more options for tones due to the extra EMG 85 pickup. I still can't believe it, it even plays better than my beloved Jackson RR24, and for much less money. My RR24 was $1300 for the guitar alone not including the custom paint job. A lot of the cost difference is because the RR24 has an ebony fret board, neck-thru, and has an alder body. The ESP Arrow-401 is cheaper by about $500-600 depending on if you bought the guitar alone or as a kit. The take away at the end of the day is that the guitar is absolutely amazing and worth every penny. I wish more guitars were built with this level of precision and quality especially considering the price. 100 percent happy with my purchase!

57 comments sorted by best / new / date

    HamaraMetal
    I have had my Jackson RR24 since 2007. It has the original Floyd Rose Special on it and I play 2-3 hours a day (14-21 hours/week)not including band practices and shows. So obviously my experience is different from those who have had problems. Not having issues with a Floyd Rose Special for 9 years with the amount of time I play sounds pretty reliable to me. The Alexi 200 is a cheap guitar to begin with. The Arrow 401 is better period. I have played hundreds of guitars that cost more than this guitar and most didn't feel nearly as nice. Why would I rate something that has NEVER failed for ME as anything under a 10? If the day comes that the Floyd Rose Special/guitar has any issues, then I will adjust the review. As it stands now, everything is working exactly as I described, perfectly.
    RCA1186
    The RR24 has an FRT 2000 floyd, not a special. The specials are a cheaper version of the Floyd.
    HamaraMetal
    Thanks for the correction. Either way, until this specific one has a problem, I give it a 10/10.
    jrd0518
    If you like it play it. I own several guitars,and the one I play the most BY FAR is a cheap Hagstrom I bought for a little over $400. I watched HamaraMetal's video and it seems to work pretty OK for him. And who gives a shit about someone's ability as long as they play and have fun?
    Rust_E_Stringz
    I have a few guitars and my A, Smith Sig Jackson (cheaper one) bought for 500 has the special and have had it for a few years with no problems. Not one to say what's better or the best. I am perfectly happy making noise with it.
    triciahart456
    [deleted]
    triciahart456 · Mar 10, 2016 09:05 AM
    blooddrunk
    Biggest bunch of nonsense i ever heard. Floyd rose specials are notoriously shite. the baseplate might be made by esp/ltd but the saddles etc are shipped in from the east and made of soft metal. Personally i was stung by this before and i will never consider a guitar with a FR special again.
    ShredKing4Metal
    "Floyd rose specials are notoriously shite" - blooddrunk. Everyone I know including myself with a Floyd Rose Special never complains... Sounds like you had one bad experience and are severely butt hurt. This guitar is badass.
    blooddrunk
    Nope its well known among luthiers that FR specials are shit. delude yourself all you like. Even the original FRs arent perfect despite the price. I think youre letting the pretty shape fool you.
    blooddrunk
    Also can your name get any more cliche'd? Stinks of wannabe.
    HamaraMetal
    Okay people let's stop insulting each other. I wouldn't let something as little as a Floyd Rose bridge determine the worth of an entire guitar. If you were really that worried about it, pay the money for the better one and then it will be a better setup. I don't see a problem with this one as of right now. I will let everyone know whether or not it fails. I have probably played this guitar for about 60 hours with no problems to report. Time will eventually tell. All that matters to me is that the guitar feels right with the tuning I am in. It feels spot on. It is easy to play, its balanced, light, good looking, and sounds good.
    blooddrunk
    Buying a new guitar you shouldnt have to upgrade its components.thats my point.
    HamaraMetal
    That is the problem with your logic. You say you had a problem, that doesn't mean everyone does. You don't HAVE to change it until it fails, if it fails at all. If you were to buy this guitar with the better Floyd in it, it would probably be another $200 anyway which is about what you would pay to get a new one. In fact, you can get this guitar with better components, it is $1800. But will it play/sound $1000 better? Doubtful. You act like the Floyd Rose Special is going to break the second you touch it which is impractical, and to me, unreasonable. The guitar below is my backup guitar for shows. I don't play it, but our bass player does all the time. It is 5 years old. Guess what? It has a Floyd Rose Special on it. If you can get 5 years or more out of it, that seems pretty good to me. I don't give something a bad review unless it fails on ME. The is the point of a review written by each individual. Everyone has different experiences, some good, some bad. I don't care if some other people have problems. That happens with expensive "top of the line" products too. It doesn't mean it WILL fail right away. [IMG]http://i63.tinypic.com/jh994x.jpg[/IMG]
    ShredKing4Metal
    Right, because "blooddrunk" is a lot better. You probably suck at guitar, that's why you are so negative all of the time. What ever makes you sleep better at night.
    Way Cool JR.
    The FR Specials are made by Floyd Rose Korea, not ESP/LTD. Anyways...Lots of people have been using FR Specials for years without issue. When it comes to cheaper import FR's an FRS is a huge welcome in my book. I wouldn't hesitate for a second in buying a guitar equipped with one. I'd be more concerned about the rest of the guitar it's attached to. Plus they are easy to swap out in the future if need be, unlike lot's of other imports.
    blooddrunk
    Theyre cheap metal. I had an Alexi 200. They were selling it for £600+. no name pickup, cheap fr special and cheap wood. 600 for whats basically a pretty shape.
    Diego Carnero
    ESP gets cheap trems from china like the ones that pop up on ebay for $20 and just stamp their name on it. I had one on my M-400 and it was the absolute shit, and sent the guitar to a luthier to have a Schaller Floyd Rose installed a few weeks ago Avoid those ESP licensed trems, and every licensed trem for that matter, is highly recommended
    blooddrunk
    you got stung too ? i think its obvious that the good press espltd get is paid for. £600 guitar with cheap shit from the east screwed onto it? Awful.
    Diego Carnero
    Meh I wouldn't say I got stung. The guitar is in awesome shape even tho it's 9 years old, only that fucking bridge, that was absurd to put in a 700€ guitar. All LTDs I've tested play great. Only if they didn't put EMG 81,85,60 on everything, a little more variety would be appreciated
    HamaraMetal
    Just finished leaning Children of Bodom: Downfall. This guitar is so easy to play. I am no Alexi Laiho, but I can get really close to hitting the solo a lot of the time.
    ;feature=youtu.be
    jhaneline
    I'm no fan of V's and their variations. I like sitting and playing across my body, but the ESP Arrow in Black Andromeda is just dead amazing. Like damn. http://www.espguitars.com/products/16976-esp-a...
    HamaraMetal
    It is a beautiful guitar. I know what you're saying about playing while sitting. At first, I had trouble with my Rhoads since you have to prop it on your knee while you play. Now that I have gotten so use to playing that way, I have trouble with traditional shaped guitars. Now they are making a Snow White LTD Arrow... I would have liked that a lot. Easier to keep clean.
    pressureproject
    $700 for china? Gross.
    HamaraMetal
    If it feels nice, plays nice, and sounds nice why does it matter? If someone peeled the China sticker off, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference in quality at all. $700 is cheap for a guitar that feels and plays like this one. My Rhoads was twice as expensive, doesn't feel as nice and was made it Taiwan. I've played $3000 Gibsons that don't play as well as this. At the end of the day, it shouldn't matter where its from as long as it performs.
    PuckMugger
    Bullshit, Chinese made guitars need work when you get them, some more than others...then they can become nice instruments. But don't tell me, peel the sticker off and you can't tell the diff. Lets now confuse S Korean made guitars with Chinese either.
    N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
    Not every single chinese guitar is made in the same factory with the same quality control you monumental fuckwit.
    Ibeanez
    Every Chinese guitar, and nearly every other Chinese product, is made with the same disregard for quality and quality control.
    N1ghtmar3C1n3ma
    You have no fucking clue what you are on about, my Epiphone Les Paul Custom pisses all over other guitars that aren't made in China, even certain American ones I have played, if you get my drift.
    Ibeanez
    It took you 4 months to post that? Your guitar pisses on things? Check your warranty, it shouldn't do that.
    HamaraMetal
    I can tell you that this one doesn't feel like it was made in China in any respect.
    HamaraMetal
    Do you own this guitar? You cant judge the quality of something you haven't played thoroughly. It has yet to have any kind of problems and plays better than my RR24. What about it needs work if it already plays perfectly fine? I will tell you that you can't tell the difference, because I DO own this guitar, and HAVE played others made from around the globe. This feels better than 90% of them at a better price.
    ShredKing4Metal
    Its funny how some douche bag tool put negative votes on the videos. They probably suck at playing guitar so they felt like down voting. Grow a pair, most people can't even attempt a solo like the one in that song.
    HamaraMetal
    Thanks for the support. I honestly don't care what other people think though. I just wanted to show how easy the guitar plays. I am not trying to "show off", I don't even consider myself exceptional at playing guitar. Just trying to help people out that may be considering this guitar. It is funny how negative people get on the internet though. To each their own.
    HamaraMetal
    I just learned this a couple days ago because my father-in-law wanted me to learn it (he isn't a fan of metal). Sorry the video is sideways. I will make a better video to another song soon to show what the guitar sounds like. Used a little Line 6 Spider IV 15 in this video. For those who don't know, this is Christmas Canon Rock by Trans Siberian Orchestra. It was a little harder to learn because this song is in E-Standard tuning. My guitar is tuned to Drop-C (CGCFAD). So I couldn't just hit an open string like they do for the tapping section, everything had to be transposed. Came out alright though. Maybe I will learn a Kalmah or Children of Bodom song and post that next.
    Xomar
    10 out of 10 on everything? Automatically negates your review in my mind.
    HamaraMetal
    Good for you. Everything works exactly how I expect it to or better. So for ME, it is a 10 out of 10. That is why it is my PERSONAL review on it. Sure it may not be that way for everyone. If everything meets or exceeds my expectations, then why should it get anything less? Someone else might not like Feel of the V-Shape and would rate it less for example. That's their opinion on it, it doesn't negate anything even though i disagree. I play this thing at least 3 hours a day and still have zero problems and until I do, i stand by my rating.
    Xomar
    you've clearly never read a review of anything before. not sure why im even wasting my time to reply.
    MadMan'sDiary42
    So you're saying he should knock off points for nothing? Because that's just the way reviews work apparently?
    OneEyed
    Yeah, but the real question here is Does it djent??? lollololooloolololoolololoololololololololololol
    anjali321
    [deleted]
    anjali321 · Feb 03, 2016 03:28 AM
    shaziamanzoor86
    [deleted]
    shaziamanzoor86 · Feb 11, 2016 08:41 AM
    sumairareddy
    [deleted]
    sumairareddy · Feb 09, 2016 08:35 PM
    Ibeanez
    Completely unique in its design? Really?
    HamaraMetal
    I never said that, it is the ESP's ad paragraph for it. In regards to it's shape, it is more unique looking than some of the standard V-Shaped guitars which is another reason I was interested in it.
    Ibeanez
    I wasn't claiming you said it. I can see why you'd be interested in it. I'm sure you can also see where I'm coming from in that it's a derivative of a standard V.
    HamaraMetal
    Certainly, but at this point, every guitar seems to be a derivative from another in some fashion. I wouldn't say that it is sompletely unique either.