Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 8
I'm the lead guitarist in a metal/metalcore band, so I need a guitar that can wail, and yet still occasionaly lay down cleaner riff. This guitar definately delivers on the tones I need the most. I'm running it through a Crate GT212 (though I'm hoping to upgrade to a Mesa Boogie dual rect soon), a Boss MT-2, Boss NS-2, and my amazing crybaby wah (slash version, didn't get for the name, it has a really bright top end, and I prefer the sweep of it). Normally I would have to tweak a lot of settings to find beautiful tones, but I'm usually pleased with whatever I play on this guitar. It can be occasionally noisy, even with the gate, but that can't be helped as I play in a closed in room, so I'm usually close to my amp. It disappears in normal playing situations. My one disappointment is the clean tone on the guitar. Though this is usually fixed with a slight chorus effect, it is something that is rather disappointing. However that seems to be a problem with almost all emg pickups so I'm able to see past that. I didn't buy the guitar for the clean sounds anyway. However, that is still a slight downfall.
Overall Impression — 10
As a metal guitarist, this guitar is more than perfect for me. I've been playing for almost 6 years now, and this guitar performs at levels that some instruments, even higherpriced ones, couldnt even dream of reaching. Most people say that price doesn't matter, as long as it's what you want. And with this guitar, it couldnt be any more true. But, like I said, it isnt for everyone. For me, it beat out higherpriced jacksons, epiphones, and even a Gibson Explorer I was considering. Without a doubt, I'd probably cry if it were stolen. Then I'd probably beat the hell out of whoever was stupid enough to steal it. Regardless, this guitar is irreplacable to me, the EMGs and floyd-rose are worth it regardless. I couldn't ask for a better guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I haven't had the pleasure of playing it live just yet. But this guitar is definately meant for Live playing. The locking tuners hold pitch really well, even with the floyd-rose nuts unlocked. I wouldn't have trusted the original strap buttons, so I upgraded to Dunlop straplocks, but I never trust stock strap buttons anyway, so that's a personal preference. I couldn't gig without a backup guitar however. No matter how reliable this guitar seems, I never go anywhere without a backup, because you never know what could happen, especially with a floyd-rose.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The set up from the factory could not have been better really. The action was set pretty low, as low as possible without buzzing on the frets. It also came to me properly intonated, though I had to set the intonation when I changed to heavier strings. The pickups were also set a bit far from the strings, but that was a quick fix. Other than that, the guitar came to me in perfect condition. It hadn't been pawed over by other lustful players, there were no flaws in the finish, which is very flashy, though some may find it tacky (to each his own). Regardless, ltd took time when setting up this guitar, so I commend them.
Features — 9
For those of you who haven't seen this beautiful guitar just yet, and don't listen to, it is indeed Dan Jacobs' signature guitar. No, I didn't buy it just for his name however, this guitar is just amazing. As for the guitar itself, it is an LTD, which may cause some of you to shy away from it. However, just because it was made in Korea doesn't mean it's a horrible guitar. In fact that couldn't be farther from the truth. While it may just look like your Standard Explorer-style guitar, it shines when you really take the time to appreciate it. The mahogany body provides deep tones with amazing sustain, which makes up for the sustain often missing when using a tremolo-style bridge. The body is complimented with a 3pc, set-thru maple neck, with a thin, easily playable, u-shaped neck. The fingerboard is rosewood, which provides a nice look to the guitar. The inlays aren't too great (pearl-style bats) but the true treat is in the finish (snow white with blood) and the hardware/electronics. The EMG 81/85 active pickup combo is pretty much godlike when it comes to harsher, metal tones. However more on that later. They're controlled by a single volume knob and a Standard three-way pickup selector. One interesting thing is the lack of a tone knob, which is instead replaced with the EMG Afterburner Switch. Don't be fooled, it isn't a distortion pedal. I use it to push longer cable runs thanks to the 20db of boost, but on a clean amp, it can act as a slight overdrive to push the amp into a gritty, crunch sound. Not recommended as a stand alone tone; but the afterburner could also be used to add something extra to another effect to create a nice lead tone. The original floyd-rose, as usual, did not let me down. Neither did the sperzel locking tuners. In fact, even the stock strap holders were quite sterdy, though I installed straplocks the day I got it. The only thing that did let me down was the lack of any accessories. Granted, I did get this guitar cheaper than any other place. Most places charged $1500 for the included case. But by buying the case separately, along with a strap and extra cables, plus new effects, my total still only came up to $1475. So, take that as a lesson, it pays to shop around.