Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: guitar center
Sound — 7
I play alot of thrash metal influenced metalcore, as well as some death metal and the occasional alt rock, as well as some jazz and some old Acoustic 60s rock, and a little bit of country. This guitar was obviously oriented towards a metal player, but you can coax some sweet jazz tones out of it if you back off the tone and volume controls. Not very much for any of the other styles listed, but does metal and jazz very well. I play it through a valvestate vs100 combined with an mg100(don't even start with me I've probly been playing longer than you, I appreciate its handling of effects, I use it for leads with an rp250, good arch enemy solo tone) through a mc412A cab. As I said I use an RP 250 on the mg and a ds distortion on the valvestate for more sustain on leads, and I connect all this with a Ibanez tc7 chorus. The 60 provides a really bright sound for an emg, but it still maintains fullness, though one note leads have a very round sound. The 81 in the neck is very full and good for an yngwie style solo sound, very thick chords, this is also the pickup I use for jazz tones. All in all, not extremely versatile, but very full sounds.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar does lack some versatility, which is why it only got a 7 in sound, but I guess as it is loaded with emgs, its got a pointy cutaway, 24 frets, and its all black, I could have expected it to do mostly metal, so getting jazz tones was a nice susprise. If it were lost I would most certainly get another. I love that it is just so full sounding, but I do think that if you are a shredder this may be a guitar you want to shy away from. I compared this to the Ibanez les paul bodytypes and there really was no competition, except perhaps in finish. I have been playing for 7 years, and I own an SG faded, a Standard strat, a modded alexi 200(again don't even hound me I prefer bolt on necks, and that is perfectly legitemate seeing as a certain player by the name of vai does too..) a Stagg f35o a Ovation 12 string Acoustic electric, and an Epiphone 6 string acoustic, and this is probably the guitar I rely on most for gigs, practice etc. A very reliable, gigworthy guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This thing can take a real whack. I've dropped it several times and there have been barely even any dings to speak of. The hardware is good and sturdy, as the strap buttons are, didn't even feel the need to replace them. I have and will gig with it without a backup. I always carry spare batteries for the pickups and extra strings, so I'm covered. The finish is is excellent, as it is on most ESP ltds.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I can't comment on the setup from the factory, but this guitar is very easy to get a good setup from it. Anytime I need to make an adjustment, its easy to get just what I want. The pickups really make the same tones no matter where they sit, they just lose or gain sustain. I'm assuming that the guitar didn't come with any flaws, as there is all originial parts on it and the finish was good until I got it ( I placed a considerable chip in it recently). Aside from a small amount of fret buzz on the 1st and 2nd frets, which I fixed with a simple raise in action, this guitar was top knotch when I got it.
Features — 9
Here are some specs from ESP ltd Set-Neck Construction 24.75" Scale Mahogany Body Mahogany Neck Rosewood Fingerboard 42mm Earvana Compensated Nut Thin U Neck Contour 24 XJ Frets Black Nickel Hardware Grover Tuners TOM Bridge & Tailpiece EMG 81 (B) / 60 (N) Active p.u. It was made in korea, with a 3way selector Switch sweet black gloss finish all the around the body and neck, white binding on the neck and headstock, three aside tuner setup, two volume and one tone control. I bought it used so there were no accessories included.