Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Drum City Guitar Land
Sound — 10
The versatility of the sound is quite impressive. The pickups sound good clean, but don't sound like an acoustic guitar or a Stratocaster, clean. This is mostly because the active pickups were born for heavy distortion. The distortion sounds are amazing, and harmonics and pinch harmonics sound amazing. I use a Vox AD15VT on UK Modern setting with a lot of gain added. The sound can vary from a suppressed and messy-ish sound to an aggressive, edgy tone. There is a three way control switch, (bridge, neck, or both.) a volume knob and a tone control knob. The 25.5 inch scale means that the guitar gets a little bit of a deeper heavier sound on the low strings.
Overall Impression — 10
I play mostly hard rock and heavy metal, and this guitar is excellent for that. The body shape is beautiful, and the pickups are some of the best ever. I compared it to two other ESPs when I was trying that one out. The first was a Horizon 101 nt, but the seymor duncan pickups didn't inspire me so much. I also tried out the higher end FX series guitars, but it was fairly awkward to handle, so I got the AX-400. There isn't anything I wish it had that it doesn't, considering that I don't play with whammy bars. It is perfect for me.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will definitely last a long time and survive through Live gigs no problem. The main point is to not set the guitar down on the bottom horns, as that could wear them down. I would play it Live with new strings and not use a backup unless I needed to have two different tunings, like E Standard and drop D. The strap buttons are solid, but they aren't meant to withstand being thrown about. The finish will probably last for a very long time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar is amazingly well built, and the action is incredible. The strings are fairly low to the neck, and that paired with slightly higher frets (an ESP trademark,) leads to incredible playing. The pickups are in great positions, and everything works and functions excellently
Features — 9
This guitar was made in South Korea, it has a set-thru neck, a mahogony body and neck, a rosewood fingerboard with a tribal pattern inlay, and 24 extra jumbo frets. The neck is sometimes seen as being too narrow, but it's better for shredding and string-skipping. The finish is a dark see through red, which shows off the flame maple top. The bridge is a Tune-O-Matic. It has Grover tuners and black nickel hardware. The pickups are EMG 81 actives.