Price paid: $ 839
Purchased from: Digitalplayroom.com
Sound — 9
I play mostly metal and hardcore music, with some classic rock/blues at times. I play through a Fender Champion 300 practice amp and an MXR Doubleshot Distortion pedal. The EMGs give some of the best tone for metal I've ever heard. Highs and lows are boosted giving a great edge to the sound. The '81s rich, bright, cutting sound is perfect for lead guitar and fast metal solos, while the 60 backs off a bit and is great for rhythm. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the sound cleaned up. The only real disadvantage to the clean sound is the high end is a little too sharp for smooth blues style playing. The real strong point of this guitar is when it's played dirty. EMGs are some of the best metal pickups around and are used by a wide variety of bands. Sustain is nearly endless and pinch harmonics are effortless. Trying to play another guitar is almost hard because this thing has spoiled me so much. The pickups seem to know what you want when they give a nice loud high end on the high strings, then go back to a heavy crunch on the low ones. This combination creates some of the most intense sounds you can ask for, with a decent variety to them. Them EMGs, being active pickups, deliver huge output and could easily blow an amp if you're not careful. But when you stop, these things go dead silent with no noise what'soever.
Overall Impression — 9
For my metal/hardcore style, this guitar is exactly what I wanted. It gives the ideal tone I was looking for, with surprisingly good clean playing. I have been playing for about 2 and a half years. My only other guitar is my beginner Squier Standard Fat Stratocaster, but I've played a wide variety of guitars and can confidently say that this is the best guitar in it's price range for metal. It easily matches guitars that cost thousands, but costs less than $900. I am completely satisfied with this product, and if it were stolen, I would definately save up and but the exact same thing again. I love everything about the sound most of all, but looks are a close second. This guitar is Drop Dead Gorgeous and is a jaw dropper with all my friends. I can't think of a single thing I would change about it, except maybe giving it the ability to lose some of it's sharpness for a little blues from time to time. I compared this to my friend's Schecter C-1 Hellraiser and other guitars meant for my style, and this one came out on top. Nothing can beat this guitar for features in it's price range. The Hellraiser is a great guitar too, but when it comes down to it, The EC-1000 beats it in the details. The bottom line: A great, inexpensive guitar, perfect for the heavy guitarist. it's strong points are in attention to detail, from the locking tuners to the compensated but to the EMGs to to the ebony fretboard, perfect, nearly seamless, and beautiful. The only thing I have ever wished for on it is a tremelo system, but the tuning is so effortless without it that I think it's a fair trade off. I also had to wait through several back orders, which took over a month. This has something to do with ESP, so if you want this guitar right away, you need to walk out of a store with it, NOT order it. Amazing tone and a beautiful body, all for $840 is one of the best guitar deals you can find.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I would definately use this guitar live, and hopefully will soon. It is one of the most sturdy, solidly built guitars I've seen. It seems like it will last me a very long time. No strap was included, but the strap buttons are great and I'm confident they'll hold strong. Although a backup is always a good idea, I would trust this thing to last through whatever. The finish on my Vintage black model is not a glossy-based finish and does not show flaws as easily. I don't think the finish will wear off and scratches barely show. It will stay beautiful for quite awhile.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Right out of the box, the action was great. No buzz anywhere on the fretboard, but still a very low and easy to play action. Pickup height was ideal and very good looking, blending with the body's contours. No flaws that I can tell of. Right out of the box, I was stunned by the striking gold hardware and trim, which gives perfect contrast to the gray/black body. Everything was aligned perfectly: wood, finish, hardware, tuners, electronics, and nut. The Earvana compensated nut gives perfect innotation and is perfectly cut and inlaid.
Features — 9
I got the 2006 Vintage black model. Made in Korea, 24 XJ frets. Mahogany body/mahogany neck/ebony fretbaord. 24 3/4 scale. Set neck construction. Abalone flag inlays with model name at 12th fret. Single cutaway body like a Les Paul, but the cutaway is sharper for easier access to the higher frets. TonePros locking bridge. Gold Hardware. Active elctronics. 2 volume/1 tone control. Bridge pickup, EMG 81, neck pickup, EMG 60. Sperzel locking tuners. Came with a free ESP hardcase, but most dealers do not offer this. The case costs almost $100, so you may want to shop around to find a free one like I did.