Price paid: £ 300
Purchased from: thomanns
Sound — 9
I play metalcore and thrash and this guitar works well for both. I play mostly through a small Marshall MG30FX but as the distortion channel massively sucks I also run through a DigiTech Death Metal pedal. This guitar sounds great through that pedal even at such high levels of gain. The LH-300 pickup sounds great in the bridge and works brilliantly for low end chugging or high end lead work but I find that the neck pickup is lacking depth and/or clarity. Simply put, if I tweak my settings to get a fuller low end I loose the high end and the other way around. Using both pickups together with the coil tap can produce incredibly authentic acoustic tones. If you want to play some more classic rock beware that using the coil tap with overdrive causes slight unwanted buzz.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar suits me well although I would prefer active pickups. One other issue is that although it has 24 frets the Les Paul styled body makes it really uncomfortable to play past the 22nd so th extra 2 seem a little pointless. I think my favorite feature is the coil tap. Having it means that I know that if I need a really clear clean tone onstage then I can get it then and there. If it were stolen I probably wouldn't replace it but only because it has served me well over the past three years and I'm looking for a new guitar anyway.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar easily withstands live playing if you don't mind the odd scratch. This guitar was built to last has lasted well. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd gig without a backup but only because that's gigging law a string could snap or any number of things could go wrong. The finnish is decent but I knocked it against a bass not long ago and it took a nice chunk out.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
There was absolutely nothing wrong with this guitar when it arrived. The action was a little high for me but that's personal preference. Everything else was near perfect. There were no flaws on the body and all the usual suspects for coming loose, such as the jack port, were nice and tight. However, after around three years of abuse the jack port constantly comes loose as does the pickup selector and the top strap button.
Features — 9
This guitar was built in China in in 2000 and something. I bought this guitar just as I was getting seriously into heavy metal and thrash so the features of the guitar reflect that. It has an agathis body with a quilt maple top and a three piece mahogany set neck with a rosewood fretboard. It has 24 jumbo frets so is pretty good for lead. The tuners are ESPs own. It has a tune-o-matic bridge which I love. The pickups are ESPs EMG designed passive LH-300s which can be controlled by the dual volume knobs and single tone knob which is also a push-pull coil tap.