Price paid: $ 278
Purchased from: Amazon
Sound — 8
I mostly play metal and this guitar can handle from black sabbath to pantera, sound is fat and bright. Not much sustain tho and pinched harmonics could sound better. I run it thru a Marshall MG30FX (yeah the infamous MG series). The amp's distortion is pretty weak itself but clean is amazing, so I use a Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff (great pedal BTW) on the clean channel, the sound I get is pretty much 80's thrash metal but with a little tweaking I can get a good range of metal tones. I think this guitar could handle blues too, not sure since I rarely play blues.the sound, in my opinion, is too fat for old school rock. Still, for metal, and overall heavy rock music, it is amazing.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar is perfect for metal, ESP pickups aren't the best but it still sound pretty good. I own a cheap Strat copy made in god-knows-where, sound on that one was poor and too thin (well I guess thats how cheap Strat copies sound), if it was stolen I think I'd buy a better one from the EC series I'm thinking the one with the Seymour Duncan JB's on it, (I'm not a fan of EMG's). in its price range this is one of the best guitars out there.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I think this guitar will whistand live playing easy, made to last. Bending the strings makes this guitar go out of tune(blame it on the ESP tuners), which is kinda annoying. Recently one of the strap buttons came a lil loose, nothing a screwdriver couldnt fix though. On a gig I'd actually use a back up, not because of the guitar but becuase you never know what could happen.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Action could have been better, I had to do a little tinkering here and there to eliminate fret buzz though. As for the finish, it has a tiny stain on the side, nothing to alarm about. Every thing else was perfect, action was low (not without fret buzz) and the guitar was overall well set from the factory, didn't even change the strings.
Features — 9
24 XJ frets, basswood body, rosewood fretboard, quilted maple top, maple neck, it looks les paulish, TOM bridge with stop tail piece, ESP LH 150 passive humbucking pickups, 3 way selector, 2 volume and 1 tone knobs.