Price paid: C$ 150
Purchased from: Private Seller
Features — 7
No idea when this guitar was made, don't care where it was made either. Probably China if I had to take a guess. This guitar has 24 frets so that's great for allowing you to play certain songs that get up in there. It rocks jumbo frets in a 24.75" scale length. This is great if you play a lot below the 19th frets but beyond that things get a little cramped making it sometimes harder to play (tapping is harder) but it actually feels pretty effortless for most things as the frets are closer. Switching from a 21 fret 25.5" scale length guitar and you'll feel like a God on this guitar. I personally use it when I want to show off various licks but practice on longer scale length guitars most of the time. It's got a laminate top with quilted maple, sports a basswood body and a set mahogany neck. It's got a glossy finish and is a single cutaway LP style guitar with a Tune-O-Matic. It's got passive electronics with two volume one tone configuration. It's got a neck humbucker and a bridge humbucker. Tuners are non-locking generic ESP tuners which hold their tuning really damn well. The guitar came as is in a gig bag and one strap that will shave the skin off the back of your neck raw in one go.
Sound — 10
This guitar suits my style perfectly playing metal but it also does cleans remarkably well thanks to the push pull tone knob which splits the humbuckers. With distortion it is very chunky like a SD Invader so if you like heavy crushing rhythm then this guitar is for you. It tracks well and is very compressed so it's great for metal. The first time I tried it without any prior knowledge of the guitar I could have sworn I was hearing an active humbucker (without sounding too thin and piercing). Doing some research online some say that the humbuckers were designed by ESP but engineered by EMG to mimick the Hz series. Regardless - they sound amazing. Clean they are even better as they have the clarity of actives with the feel and warmth of passives. It just sounds spectacular in my ears and doesn't leave me longing to replace them at all. I run it into my Presonus USB Audiobox into BIAS Amp Pro. It's ultra silent and sounds very chunky. I would even say these pickups sound closer to Blackouts rather than an EMG 81. Lead tones are great too but I would say they lacks some upper end bite, but it's nothing a few turns of a knob can't remedy on the amp.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar was setup fairly poorly from the previous owner and to top it off - he must have left it in the car overnight in the cold as it was covered in moisture. Regardless, a good wipe and setup and it was good to go. Once lowered the action isn't amazing - slightly better than a Squier - but I find that if I were to lower it any more it would probably cause more harm than good with regards to notes ringing out for to long as you finger roll when soloing. I've never personally had any qualms with it although expected the action to go lower. The neck profile is just amazing and I'd say is slightly thinner than what you would find on a Jackson. The bookmatched top isn't perfectly inline and honestly looks kind of cheap once you stare at it for too long. There are minor flaws with the guitar like in the binding but nothing too outstanding. The guitar is free of rust and the intonates like a champ. It also is really light so if you're skimping out on your back workouts - rejoice! This guitar is for you. All the controls feel solid.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is extremely reliable and I wouldn't think twice taking it to a live show. The hardware seems durable - nothing jiggles and so far the input jack hasn't failed me or shown signs of cutting in and out. The straps buttons are solid and I would depend on it without a backup. The finish is thick and glossy so even where I rest my pink when picking - it hasn't faded or worn one bit (I cannot say this about other guitars I own). I can't say that I've dropped it or abused it in any significant way yet however I've noticed some scratches on it that I have no idea where it came from. I haven't exposed the guitar to the elements much however the guitar seemed very reliable seeing as the previous owner left it in his car overnight, accumulated moisture and it plays just fine now. Also my apartment had some issues with heating going from 27 degrees Celsius to 17 degrees and the guitar is just fine.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, LTD really knows its market and it works well for playing Pantera and Black Label Society songs. I've been playing five years now and own a Gibson SGJ (which this guitar absolutely smokes, not knocking on the SGJ but the EC-200QM is that good), a Jackson JS32, Godin Redline, a Squier Bullet and Dillion SG P90 copy. The only question I wish I asked before I got this guitar is why I had ignored it for so long. Stolen or lost, I would mourn for a week, tear my clothes and wail in the night. Then I'd pull up my pants, grab a slice of pizza and grab another one. I love the feel of the guitar and tone. It's got an amazing feel when soloing, delivering chunky rhythms, sounds great split and is bum cheap on the used market. My only qualm really is that the upper fret access can be a little cramped and requires some hand adjustment which I'm not all too fond about but I don't think about it most of the time. Compared to other products, I was just blow by how chunky it sounded and similar to guitar's equipped with SD Blackouts. Coming from the EMG 81 world, it sounded full. Also the frets are durable. Grinding away at them relatively in the same area everyday and it shows no sign of wear. I honestly wish the top wasn't so fugly. But that's a minor knock on it. In my books, this guitar is a 10 but for objectivity I will rate it a 8.