LTD EC-1000T CTM review by ESP

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (26 votes)

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Used

Features — 10
The ESP LTD EC-1000T CTM is a modern spin on a classic axe. The one I own was made in 2011 in Korea. Stock, it's got a 22 XJ frets, 24.75" thin-U shape set mahogany neck with ebony fretboard. The body is a 2" thick mahogany with a solid top (the CTM in the name), in the ESP version of the classic LP shape (pointed right horn). It's equipped with a gold TonePros locking stoptail bridge and tune-o-matic and gold ESP locking tuners, gold dome knobs, and gold strap buttons. Electronics wise, it comes stock with the EMG 81/60 combo, 2 volume, and 1 tone, with a 3-way switch. My personal model was equipped with Sperzel locking tuners by the previous owner and has Seymour Duncan Blackouts added by me (which, IMO, fit this guitar better).

Sound — 10
I myself play a lot of genres, predominantly hard-rock, metal, and blues, and I would say this guitar can handle them all and more (including country, funk, and lighter rock) despite it's leaning towards metal. I'm currently running it through a Jet City 100HDM with an Orange PPC212 cab, but previously ran it through a Blackstar HT 60 Soloist, Orange Dark Terror, and Line 6 HDM100 MKII, and it has sounded killer through all of them. Although the guitar is pretty noisy (or maybe it's just me always having my knobs maxed out), it sounds great! It does have more low-mids and bass than treble/high-mids, which isn't suprising considering the body is a 2" thick mahogany body. With the EMG 81/60, I felt like it was a tad more compressed and not as open but could still get some good tones. With the Blackouts, the sound is definitely more open, and I feel out balances out the natural sound of the guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought the guitar used, but it was set-up well with .10-.46s from the prior owner. as soon as I got it, I set it up with .11-.50s and adjusted the pickups more to my liking. Bridge was properly routed and the Sperzels were installed cleanly. I saw no issues with the frets, truss rod, action, or anything else. All there was issue-wise was just a couple scratches from use, but for me that was no biggie. Over time the knobs got loose, but also from use as well. I want to replace them with black knobs to see how it'd look, but thats for another day. Currently have it set-up in C Standard with .12-.54s and it feels good!

Reliability & Durability — 9
I haven't played it live yet, but this guitar is definitely built like a tank and I would count on it for live playing. With hardware from TonePros and Sperzel on this axe I have no doubt the hardware will last. I replaced the strap buttons with buttons that were compatible with the Schaller strap locks so I can change the strap from this axe to another axe that has them installed. I would definitely gig without a backup as this guitar hardly goes out of tune and I haven't broken a string on this. The finish is thick on this badboy and I can see it lasting for awhile. I only rate this a 9 due to myself not having played it live or taking it out on the road.

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, I think ESP hit a homer with this axe. It's versatile, looks classy as hell, and is playable. For me personally, this is definitely a good match - I like thicker Les Pauls (the double bound customs) due to my size and my affinity for Randy Rhoads. I've been playing for almost 10 years, and also own another double-bound LP copy (in suburst), and this serves as a nice compliment to it. If it were stolen or lost, I'd definitely get another, maybe in white this time. I love everything about this axe - it's got tons of awesome, pro level features for a very reasonable cost ($1000 new or $600-$800 used), and provides an alternative for someone to get a clean LP Custom for less than a quarter of the cost of a Gibson. My only question for ESP is why they didn't offer some with Blackouts or even the EMG 57/66 combo stock, as I feel these would be more suited for the CTM. However, I can see why the 81/60 combo is in there. Ultimately, this is an amazing guitar and I would recommend it to anyone looking to add some thickness to their arsenal of guitars.

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