LTD AX-400 Review

manufacturer: ESP date: 11/15/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Offering the highly stylized AX body shape, the ESP LTD AX-400 also includes a rosewood fingerboard with a custom tribal inlay pattern, mahogany body with set-through neck construction, 3-piece mahogany neck, EMG 81 active pickups, Earvana compensated nut, black hardware, and more!
 Sound: 9.8
 Overall Impression: 9.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9.4
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 9.2
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reviews (5) 30 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
LTD AX-400 Reviewed by: Viciousxp, on november 15, 2012
10 of 10 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1000

Purchased from: Steve's Music Store

Features: The ESP LTD AX-400 is one of the new models ESP has released for theyre 30th anniversary, the first was shipped out on may 1st I beleive. I think my only complaint is that it took 3 or 4 months between the time I ordered it and the time it arrived. It was 24 xj frets, like its predessesor the AX-350, and looks exactly like it too, all mohagony construction, neck-thru with a glossy black finish and all black hardware. The shape of this guitar is liek nothing I've ever seen before, some say it looks like the BC Rich, which aggravates me cause I hate those guitar. It has a Tune-O-Matic bridge with string-thru, a volume controle, tone controle and a 3 way selector. But the highlight of the hardware are the pickups, EMG-81 active pickups deliver an unbelievably clear sound. It doesn't matter where I'm playing it, it doenst matter which amp or what pedals are in between, or any other interference, it always crystal clear, I sometimes forget to turn off the amp when I'm done playing because there is no static what so ever. // 10

Sound: This guitar suits my music style perfectly, I play metal and heavy rock, and it delivers the perfect sound. I play this AX-400 through a Line 6 Spider 2 112 amp (kick ass amp), and as for effects I have a wah pedal and a whammy pedal. I havent had a bad sounds come out the guitar yet, in pretty much every setting I have on my amp and guitar, the sounds are always rich and on clean there always really warm and smooth. The variety of sound this guitar can make is quite suprising, on clean you can play nice slow stuff, and with couple with the Line 6 amp it sounds great, but never the less, this guitar was designed to play heavy stuff, metal, rock, etc, your not gonna get anything impressive out of it if your playing blues or country. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Well, all the hardward, in fact everything was perfect, right out of the box, except for a little bit of string buzz on the 5th and 6th strings, took it down to the shop for a set up and it was all good. A little bit disapointing tho none the less for the price that I paid. But appart form that, everything was perfect. My only complaint in the desing of the guitar is the 9 volt battery, I find it a pain to open the back plate just to change the battery, but thats all. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I can't emphasize more on the quality of build of this guitar, it's amazing how much time they must of put into building each one of those guitars. The hardware seems solid, never any glitches, never any extra adjusting, it holds its tune perfectly. Basically youll never have to worry about it. I would use this guitar on a gig with no backup for sure, but personally I'd have my Squier there too 'cause I like to mess arround with the killswitch on it and the whammy bar which this guitar doesn't have. // 9

Overall Impression: All I have to say is that, if it where lost, or stolen or broken for some reason, I woudl wait without a guitar another 4-5 months, and dish out the $1000 all over again to get another one. I can't even say there anything about it I don't like, I have had it for 6 months now, and the only thing I hate about this guitar, is the extra care I have to give it not to damage (unlike my Squier which is all dented and chipped and I don't care). The other main products I compared this to when I bought it was a Fender Strat and Ibanez (the noodles guitar I forget the model). As for the Fender, I thought too much of my money was going to the name, and not enough on the product, and for Ibanez I was looking for something of higher quality. As for looks of the guitar, I pretty much looked at every possible guitar shape out there before I finally decided on buying this one, and appart for the AX shape, there wasn't much out there that fit me any better. // 10

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overall: 9.4
LTD AX-400 Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 800

Purchased from: Drum City Guitar Land

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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 // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9.8
LTD AX-400 Reviewed by: Ezz_zombie, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This is the 2008 ESP LTD AX-400FM with the flamed maple finish, it's basically the 2009 model AX-401FM but with custom tribal inlays that looks wicked cool, it's made in Korea as most LTDs. It has 24 XJ frets with custom tribal inlays as I said before, it features a Set-Thru neck of scale 25.5 and a rosewood fingerboard, it has a mahogany neck and body, along with the tune-o-matic bridge with string-thru-body, they work perfectly to provide infinite sustain support for each note played. It features two of the world's loudest pickups, the EMG 81 active humbucker pickups, it has a volume, tone, and pickup selector controls. And one of it's worth mentioning features is the Earvana compensated nut that kinda works like a bridge saddle to compensate and keep intonation. The Grover tuners are great too as they're also tightness-adjustable and you don't have to worry about your tuners becoming loose. The ONLY downside in this guitar is that finding a Hardshell case can be a B*tch as it has that non-Standard body shape. Other than that, this Guitar is MADE for High Gain, Long sustain, and pure metal attitude! // 9

Sound: What many might not know, this a guitar of high quality as signature artist model guitars, infact a lot of musicians such as John Gallagher of "Dying Fetus" plays the exact same guitar without any modifications to it. This is a Guitar mainly for metal, as the active pickups wont work well on clean channel, but when used on a dirty amp. This baby sounds like the beast that it is! I play Death and Thrash metal, this just suit's my playing style Perfectly. I use it with my Roland Cube 80x Combo Amplifier on the "R-fier" model (which is based on the Mesa-Boogie Dual Rectifier) and I can get the Dying Fetus tone easily, I also use it with my ZW-45 Zakk Wylde Signature CryBaby Wah and it responds well. The EMG pickups have built-in noise-reduction capabilities so you wont have to worry about your notes sounding muddy or "indistinguishable" even at maximum gain, after all the guitar is made for maximum gain to suit the death metal style. I can get a variety of sounds from blues to death metal and goregrind, however the clean tone will not sound so clear unless you lower the "tone" controller. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: ESP maintains their reputation in delivering their products in best shape! The guitar came perfectly adjusted, even the pickups were set at my preferred height (3mm between the strings and the pickup), not a scratch, dent, or a flaw with this baby, everything just as solid as possible and in perfect condition. Afterall, the guitar came protected in a lined, double card box with bracing. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This Guitar does withstand playing Live, it's hardware seems that it'll last for a long time is properly taken care of, strap buttons are solid, everything just screams Perfection! I can depend on that guitar in a gig without a backup as it does not have a floating bridge (along with it's issues) or poorly-built components, just make sure you have a fresh battery for the pickups before you go on stage and you're good to go! You couldn't possibly get a better tone for extreme metal out of any guitar that has different specs. Than this AX-400. It's definitely an irreplaceable guitar. // 10

Overall Impression: I Play Death Metal like: Dying fetus, Cryptopsy, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse... And Thrash Metal, and other extreme sub-genres of Metal, and I can say that this Guitar is a Perfect match for my needs. I've Been playing for four years now, three of them I owned a cr*ppy Yamaha Guitar and when I upgraded to the AX-400 a year ago I felt the difference and I even got better at playing in an increasingly faster rate than before, just playing this guitar is a turn on! (a turn on to play more music of course).. I own a Yamaha ERG 121C Guitar, a Roland Cube 80x Amplifier, another Behringer 15 watt amp, a Behringer X V-AMP multi-effects (that I don't use anymore), and a ZW-45 Zakk Wylde signature Crybaby Wah. I've never played a more suitable guitar for me as this one before, and if it were stolen I'd hunt down whoever took my baby and retrieve it! I Love that it's well-built, and designed for metal. It doesnt't feature a floating bridge that would just kill the sustain, add noise pickup up by the active humbuckers, and ruin my overall tone. I love my guitars simple and to the point!... As tone-delivering as they could be, and this axe does the job pretty damn well. I did compare it to a lot of Guitars before such as Jackson KV and Dean Razorback and an ESP v-500 (which I had for quite a while and loved it), but this AX-400 just has the aggressive sound and matching attitude of a metal monster. I'm literally in love with that guitar!.. I wanna give it a perfect 10/10 but I have to admit that the hard case thing is a real B*tch and for that it gets a 9/10 in the features. // 10

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overall: 9.6
LTD AX-400 Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 718

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Features: The price includes the guitar as well as the hardshell case ($599 + $119). It's a 2008 Model made in ESP's Korean assembly line. Set thru construction, 24 XJ Frets, Rosewood Fingerboard, 25 1/2 " scale. The body and neck is made of mahagony having a flamed maple finish. It has a Tune-O-Matic bridge with active EMG 81s in the Neck and the Bridge, with a 3 way selector, volume and tone knobs. Grover tuners. Along came the usual manual, and a great Dunlop strap. // 10

Sound: I generally play Rock ,Grunge, Metal and Alternative, and this guitar;s tone and sound satisfies all the genres. I've played this guitar through MG10CD, MG15CD, a Kustom, and a Line 6 Spider III 15W [Yes,haven't found a Vox tube amp to play it through yet] Clean There is no hum or any such noise at any volume, the guitar stays quiet all throughout. Using the bridge pickup, the 81 shows a characteristic crunchiness and bright sound which has more treble, however in Clean, I mostly use the neck pickup which adds some bass and gives it a rich and full sound, great for solos done in clean. When both the pickups are used, it's more like an intermediate of the two sounds, though the neck pickup's deep sound comes out profoundly still. There is no single coil twang, but you'd want a Stratocaster if you were looking for that. Pretty satisfied. Distortion: The 81s are really hot, high output pickups, and sound great with overdrive. The 81 in the Neck still retains its deeper tone,great for riffs in Drop C,however it's the 81 in the bridge that I end up using more.An extreme favourite of guitarists such as Kirk Hamett,James Hetfield,Kerry King,Zakk Wylde, Jeff Hanneman and more,the EMG 81 in the bridge is just excellent for Metal and Grunge.The pickup really hasn't much to prove. All this through the Mahagony body and Set-thru construction make the guitar sound heavenly. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I've heard that ESP sets up its instruments really well,but that wouldn't be so true in my case.The pickup height was fine, much to my liking, but the B and High E string had slight buzz when picked open or in the early frets. An not pleasant sound came when bending the strings in the later frets. [Can't define the not pleasant sound, but it surely didn't make the bends sound too good]. String height seems to fine, but the high E string sounded a bit flat. The guitar otherwise has a flawless gleaming finish on the body, the black nickel grover tuners seem to be of great quality.No dings as such, as it came well protected.However 2 other small problems, the tune-o-matic bridge came with no chrome on one part of the bridge, and the saddles, after 3 months of purchase had started showing a copper-like colour on some areas. [Call it a natural "distressed" appearance, I guess after a few months it'll actually look even more worn, and maybe more desirable as well, after all people pay for distressed appearances] Note: My country has much more tropical climate than USA, so that has accelerated the wear. Secondly the guitar has no pickguard, so has developed a lot of light scratches visible only when really close to the guitar at certain angles, hopefully it'll gleam like new with a good polish. Still give it an 8 as ESP and most other manafacturers generally advise a set-up, so the only real flaws were in the bridge. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The hardware seems to be built to last, besides the finish of the Tune-o-Matic bridge, but as such there is no accumulation of rust or anything like that. As of now only the intonation saddles' chrome finish seems to wear off fast [But I guess no problems in other countries with cooler climates]. The rest of the guitar has no blemishes after withstanding 40C heat. The strap buttons are rock solid and will handle all of the abuse they'll be given. One can definitely depend on this, without the need of a backup [Well only tremolo users will need one, obviously]. // 10

Overall Impression: Even though the guitar hasn't been set up like a dream and the finish of the bridge was nowhere near perfect, it still is overall an extremely gratifying guitar, and am very happy with this. It seems to be at the moment the best electric guitar I have, though I do miss the exclusion of a FR. But the TOM enables instantaneous change in tunings, which is welcome. The guitar suits my preferred genres well,and if stolen, I'd buy the exact same guitar again. // 10

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overall: 8.8
LTD AX-400 Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 15, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: G&L music center (no longer open)

Features: I bought this guitar from a local music store getting out of the guitar market so that helped the price plus this particular model belonged to the owner son who was planning on modding it up but never did then he lost the original bits. This model has a mahogany body and neck with a rosewood finger board and a tribal inlay. Construction is set-through with a tun-o-matic bridge, Ervana compensation nut, and string-through. It comes with a set of EMG 81's which give you all the aggression of this ax's shape controlled by 1 volume 1 tone and 1 3-way toggle you get nice control (would have preferred a 2nd volume but for the price I got it for can't complain). I had to put tuners and a Bridge on it because the shop had lost the originals plus the pickups had been rewired wrong but this was a project and I knew it. I put Grover tuners on it and a Graphtech string saver Bridge on it. The Bridge mellowed out the tone and gave a new resonance to this guitar, and in conjuncture with the EMG 81's proven to no make this one any less metal. I did eventually replace the EMG's with blackouts but that was a personal taste issue not a functionality issue. Stock I'll give it an 8 ( I played a stock one at another music store to see how it use to sound not much different except for harmonic overtones) only because I don't have a reference on the stock tuning keys but after replacing with Grovers a 9.5 I have never had a guitar stay in tune like this one with heavy styles of metal. // 8

Sound: For metal from power to thrash to black and beyond one of ESP's finest instruments and the shape looks the part to where other shaped guitars lack this one prevails. I have played this one through a Peavey Valve King and a Marshall JVM 410. It rocked the Peavey and gave it a great metal tone from an introductory tube amp with mild distortion, and it simply screames through a Marshall. In my effect chain I run as little between me and the amp as possible just a Dunlop Crybaby 355Q and a Hardwire SC-2 both with true bypass. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I set up action myself but if you have been reading you know why, but this thing sets up beautifully. Gloss black finish and Killer inlay to boot with side dots so you know were your at on the neck. I highly recommend the blackouts, grover tuners, and a string saver Bridge you woun't regret the extra money. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I would trust this thing to get me through the gig while moshing and stay in tune original strap locks were great I upgraded to Dunlop strap locks so my straps could be used on all my guitars. Solid as steel! I carried this one alone with me till I got an Angel of Deth and a KV5FR for multiple tunings and a Floyd Rose. // 9

Overall Impression: I this thing were stolen I would buy anther one after I got out of jail for murdering the person that stole it with it. I have many guitars my favorite of which being this one the AX-400, my Dean Angel of Deth, and my Jackson KV5FR. The only reason I can't give this guitar a 10 is because I wish it had a 2nd volume knob so I could install an after-burner pot but it gets a highly recommended 9.5 so if your thinking about a new guitar for metal look no further demolishes and Warlock check it out if you can find 1 they are no longer manufactured. // 9

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