LTD AX-401FM review by ESP

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.4 (31 votes)

Price paid: $ 600

Sound — 8
The guitar is very well suited to the type of music I prefer to play which would be metal. I'm running it through a cheap Epiphone Studio 15R amp. The guitar can get some real nice clean low tone and highs, I use it distorted and play wit the selector to see how much of a difference it makes, very noticeable, I wish I had a better amp to get its true potential though. I've been able to clearly notice the sound produced from pulls offs, tapping, strum patterns, finger picking, picking, unfortunately I've never picked up the skill of sweep picking so I can't give any intel about how it sounds with that, so the variety is pretty wide, just no tremolo stunts really... Since it lacks a tremolo. This section received an 8 because its got amazing sound but with no FR could be slightly limited depending on your skill level.

Overall Impression — 9
I play metal mainly would be the classification, the guitar was meant for this type of music. I've been playing for I can't count how many years now but my other Tele guitar is a Schecter Damien Special FR, the upgrade from passive to active pick ups was noticable and nice, same with the bridge, love a tremolo but string thru body so much nicer. If this guitar were stolen and had the money I'd get another. I love absolutely everything about the guitar, the most noticeable for me would be that it has the Ultra access neck so it makes those frets downstairs so much more comfortable, then the string thru body and non locking tuners is great because less work with tuning and changing strings, that was the main reason I wanted the guitar was I wanted to get out of a FR system and into something a bit easier, only thing I hate is like many guitars its shape the "horns" are always at risk to damage and I don't wanna ruin the gorgeous finish, people complained about the weight of these guitars but its actually light. I compared this guitar to only other ESP guitars since this was the brand I was set on trying this time around, the price range was 600 or less, I chose this because its a beautiful looking guitar with everything I wanted in it, the inlays are there but don't look tacky like its predecessor the LTD-AX400. Just wanna sum it all up for you. This guitar is an AMAZING guitar, don't let the rating fool you, may seem basic but I'm not gonna go crazy and give it 10s across the board, honest ratings from me, like all reviews its opinion, someone who love FR may hate this guitar, but I love it, the action is great, the neck is amazing and easy to glide up and down, the sound you can get from this thing is great, and that's coming from the guitarist with a cheap amp, overall for me I believe this to be an end game guitar.

Reliability & Durability — 7
I don't thing a guitar like this would last too long playing live because live playing is hazardous to guitar health and this is a very odd shaped guitar. The hardware isn't cheap so I expect it to last. Straps are solid. If I absolutely had to use this live I would gig without a back up. The finish seems pretty tough but don't wanna push it. This section received a 7 because its a great guitar with sturdy hardware, but any guitar with horns are notorious for being worn down.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set up like I would expect, nothing noticeable. Everything was set up properly. No flaws. A 9 was given here because I'm not luthier so I'm not sure yet if anything internally was set up wrong, but it plays like it should so far as I know, no problem in anything.

Features — 10
- Guitar was made in 2009 if reading serial correctly - 24 jumbo frets - Solid top no plywood here - Mahogany body, Mahogany neck - See thru red finish, flamed maple - TOM bridge - Active pickups - 3 controls are given: master volume, master tone, 3 way selector - EMG 81 in neck and bridge - Grover tuners I gave this section a 10 because it had everything I personally wanted.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I've played one... it's a goos guitar, although not everybody might like the look of it. But for the kind of guitar... it sure beats the crap out of those BC Rich.
    I honestly do NOT like B.C. Rich. Some guitars yes, but they just stopped giving shits about their guitar quality. ESP/LTD takes shapes from other companies, takes input from consumers on what they didnt like about it, and then make it based off that, and thats why people love esp/ltd so much, THEY LISTEN
    Does anyone who rates these guitars actually play them? Or do they see a shape that isn't a strat or Les Paul and go "LOL 1t'z uGlY" and give it a low rating? I've played one of these, and it's definitely not "4.3" quality as the user's rating states. It's a fairly nice guitar, albeit not the best. I may just be spoiled by my ICT700 though. 8)
    Ugly guitar in my opinion, I'd much rather have one of the other XX-401FM's but it's good to know you're enjoying your guitar.
    Every time I see one of these guitars I get an urge to cut the horns of and go Steinberger on it.
    I've got the cheaper version of this model, the LTD AX-50, and even THAT is more durable than half the guitars I've used and tested and played. ESP has my heart for putting quality into what was supposed to be a shitty cheap guitar. The stock tuners stay in tune like a beast, the guitar has a really tight and thick low end and therefore a buttery smooth clean tone when you take any distortion off. and a lot of people give the shape some shit, but frankly It's insanely comfortable to play in sitting with the guitar on your lap, classical position, or standing. And offers you a nice arm rest when you're taking a break! haha.
    I have played these, I just dont like the way it looks, or feels when I played it. To me, it just FEELS cheap. The way the body of the guitar buzzes just feels, cheap.. But ESP have great guitars.
    ugly? if ur not into sharp looking guitars that are unique thats fine, just dont waste ur breathe. ESP's are great and AX series are one of the breeds of metal, as are many esp's
    Overkill design like that isn't really my taste... Not gonna spend 600 on it no matter the features if the sound is an 8.
    redcthulhu wrote: Hard as SHIT to play sitting down, but it sounds lovely. LTD almost always makes quality products.
    actually quite easy to play with sitting down just gotta know how to position leg ur using and it turns out to be very comfortable, not heavy just difficult to find that sweet spot at first
    Hard as SHIT to play sitting down, but it sounds lovely. LTD almost always makes quality products.
    patty-cakez is right, i thought this would be an uncomfortable to play sitting down guitar, but it really isnt it sits on either leg extremely well and is light unlike what people say, and yea i hated the shape of the guitar when i saw it few years ago but i love it now, even tho my mom says its a weird exclamation mark and i agree zan, its kinda like that whole BF3 and MW3 thing going on XD, to each his own though, i plan to make a video review so that people can hear it and not just read words
    I believe if u don't like the horn looking guitars then u should rate it, and pick a guitar u like then play it, and rate, only ppl who like this type of guitar should rate cz they will judge the look compared to another ones of the same
    Not very fond of the guitar look but I was looking for a "metal shaped" guitar for a gig and didn't want to bring my Gibson Explorer (nitro finish doesn't like belt buckle) or my Jackson King V "bolts" (too georgous and pointy for small live shows). Played a bunch of guitars in the store - EMG equiped Jackson Warrior (neck through), Jackson RR (neck through) "kawasabi green" with Jackson pu - and this LTD sounded so much better. More mids and accurate intonation with its buzz feiten nut. I'm glad I listened to my ears (otherwise, the green monster was sooo attractive) instead of my eyes.