LTD EC-400 Archtop review by ESP

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (35 votes)
ESP: LTD EC-400 Archtop

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Sound — 10
I play pretty much everything that you can play guitar to and this guitar has yet to disappoint me. I am not using the greatest of amps (a Crate GT65) but from what I can hear, it sounds damn good to me. I've used other amps with this guitar and it still sounds awesome. The guitar's JB pickup is awesome for playing insane leads and really heavy stuff and the '59 is incredible for acoustic and clean tones. The sustain from this thing would go on forever if I didn't mute the strings. The wood they used in the guitar resonates sound very well and dare is say can compete with a Gibson... yeah I said it. I'm not a Gibby guy to begin with but I did try a few out (explorers, v's, and a few LP's) and this bad boy is right up there with them if not better playing through the same equipment.

Overall Impression — 10
For what I play, I couldn't ask for a better guitar. From Dispatch to Zeppelin to Weezer to Deftones to Coheed to Metallica to Strapping Young Lad this thing covers all the bases and loses no tone in the process. I have been playing for well over 3 years now and this guitar really inspired me to elevate my playing ability just because I know I can get more out of this thing. If it was stolen or lost, I would probably get the same guitar but since they are becoming harder to find in black, I might settle with the new VF model for 2007. What I love about it is definitely its versatility. What I hate about it is the lack of an extra tone knob but you can get by. As I said before, I tried a lot of other guitars before I bought this one. Fender Teles and Strats, Gibby Explorers, Vs, and LPs, a Samick, and a few Epis. This blew everything but the gibsons out of the water and was right up there with the big bad wolf of the guitar world. Since I was getting the same tone and playability as a Gibson at half the price, why the hell wouldn't I buy this guitar? ESP is truly a great company and their LTD models are legit. I'm a convert and don't be afraid to try one out.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Many guitarists use this exact model so I would imagine that it is pretty sturdy during Live playing. I'm only a hobbyist but I've beating the crap out of this thing and it is still rocking like it did out of the box. The hardware is all chrome and looks solid. If I had a band or performed live I would have no issues busting this thing out. I have 2 other guitars (Fender Telecaster and Epiphone LP custom w/Zakk Wylde upgrades) and this is my numero uno.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action on this guitar is awesome. A very comfortable and fast neck. I'm not a shredder but more of a David Gilmour bluesy type of lead guy and this thing's neck doesn't leave you cramped like my Telecaster normally does. The one thing I will gripe about is that my pickups were a bit lose when the guitar came to me but a simple screw driver fixed that problem. The finish and overall craftsmanship of the guitar is incredible considering it wasn't made at the mother plant. I was expecting a piece of crap from Korea but this thing is clean and a true black beauty.

Features — 9
Pretty sure this beast was build in 2006 because it's the black model and they don't offer that color anymore in the 2007 models. It is Korean made just like all other ESP LTD's 400 or lower. It has 22 XJ frets, rosewood fretboard, and comes with a 24.75" scale. It comes with a solid black finish and cream binding all over the guitar. It is a set neck construction with a mahogany body and neck. With a quick look and an untrained eye you could mistake it for a Les Paul but in my opinion much sexier looking. It comes with a Tune-O-Matic bridge with a stop piece which allows for this thing to very rarely get out of tune. There are 2 volume knobs, a tone knob, and a 3-way switch. The model comes stock with the Seymour Duncan JB/'59 setup which in my opinion is the most versatile setup you can get. The flag inlays are cool little design too that really pop on the fretboard. Finally it comes with grover tuners that are a breeze to use. The only hitch is the one tone knob that is offered. If they had switched a volume with an additional tone knob this guitar would be phenomenal. For the price though I am certainly not complaining.

30 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i have the non-archtop model with EMG's, and i truly think you can't get any better for the money. magnificent guitar!
    nik_I wrote: it's just a name. if it sounds good, then who cares!
    BUT If u buy a Gibson u know ur gettin a GOOD Guitar if u buy an Encore u know ur gettin a pretty shit guitar SO a name doesnt count
    im stuck between this and a gison sg special i havnt played this yet but ive played the sg and its realy cofortabe gut this guitar has better pickups and i think ur eting more for the cash
    Anyone who reads this should note that this is one of the heaviest guitars out there. At least, it's the heaviest guitar I've ever held. Amazing tone, tho.
    goldbuddist wrote: gibson SUCKS
    first off, dumbass, gibson does not suck. believe me, i have played a fair share of gibson guitars and they kick ass. BUT esp in my opinion is the greatest guitar company in the world. they treat their customers great and you dont have to drop 2000 dollars to buy a new guitar from them. and the sound is just as good as a gibson's sound. but still, gibson does not suck.
    im looking at two different ec400 arch top a balck one like in the review and a newer sunburst one i dont think there is a difference other than color but i woul just like to ask just in case
    Shib wrote: Slaytanic1 wrote: i have the ec-300 thats 5 or 6 years old now it has emg-hz passives. i was so impressed with this guitar that when i saved up the $$ i bought the real deal esp vintage black. esp/ltd def the best guitar company out there better than gibson? no
    Ok i love gibsons dont get me wrong but you compare any gibson guitar Especially LP's and the Ltd Ec-1000 Deluxe (i have one) Blows them away i mean a slimmer neck to get your hands around easier, versatile pick-ups good for any sounds you could ever want, thinner body and 2 more fretts.... plus they look better then Gibsons..... all around better then gibsons.... soooryyy
    also i have the guitar that is pictured here. a ec-400vf "tobaco sunburst" and it is an excellent buy at any price. the guy that said he had one on layaway. he wont be sorry.
    in todays market. with most guitars being made on an assembly line in some far away country. you cannot expect a guitar by any name not to have a lemon come through every now and then. i mean a the machine that makes it doesn't know what name is goin on the headstock, even if it is Gibson. play a guitar and if it suits you buy it. all you can count on is what they put into the machine everything else is just a roll of the dice.
    Alex Growllin
    I have the esp eclipse 2006 and it is fantastic too. I think esp ltd is the best guitar company.(ever)
    Jean Genie
    Guys don't you think that LTD EC-400 is a bad name for guitar. It really sucks.Remind: Flying V, Strat, Les Paul, Soloist - these are great. I am playing Telecaster for 4 years (Page used it Stairway solo) and I am satisfied - all these features of EC-400 are not really important for just playing the guitar.
    ESP and LTDs rock i hav a viper andit is soooo much betta than the gibs and epis i tried out in the store plus they r cheaper. u pay heapz 4 gibs and epis n there an ok guitar but 4 esps and ltds u pay less for a an even betta guitar!!!!
    P0RN0GRAFFITI wrote: mr. ... wrote: goldbuddist wrote: gibson SUCKS your gonna get SO much crap
    Sorry im a noobie YOU OBVIOUSLY SUCK
    mr. ... wrote: goldbuddist wrote: gibson SUCKS You OBVIOUSLY Suck your gonna get SO much crap
    Yeah,that's a nice guitar! Also,the black painting makes it a true beauty....but are you sure that isn't the EC 500 instead of the 400?
    Better than Gibson? YES, mofo! Try out this guitar. Compare it to a Gibson. At the very least equal quality for about a third of what you would pay, even for a standard LP. I own the Goldtop, they discontinued it this year in favor of the sunbursts.. and I will never EVER touch a Gibson Les Paul in my life after playing it.
    I have the 2007 EC400VF in tobacco sunburst like the pic at the top on layaway for $599. This thing IS the real deal Korean is the new Japanese and this thing outwieghs every Epiphone Zakk and Boneyard included I tried. It is the same thickness as a real LP which is about 3/8" to 1/4" thicker than an LTD EC1000 which suprised me, but the EC1000 is more for metal than the 400VF but the neck is way thin like the EC1000 and with the Xtra jumbo frets this is my dream machine. I also like the neck pup up further w/ only 22 frets. Thru an amp it blew the epis away and I tried 3 stds plus the zakk and boneyard with smaller frets and thicker necks. For $600 no one touches this. I cant wait to pick this beast up.
    I got a non-archtop with EMGs & it rox... but i had problems with it, scratchy pots & a selector switch that sounded like a gunshot & a bad ground for the bridge pickup, annoying sh*t, but its under warranty, so my advice is try the guitar in store at high volumes.
    i have the ec-300 thats 5 or 6 years old now it has emg-hz passives. i was so impressed with this guitar that when i saved up the $$ i bought the real deal esp vintage black. esp/ltd def the best guitar company out there
    Slaytanic1 wrote: i have the ec-300 thats 5 or 6 years old now it has emg-hz passives. i was so impressed with this guitar that when i saved up the $$ i bought the real deal esp vintage black. esp/ltd def the best guitar company out there
    better than gibson? no