LTD EC-401 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (136 votes)
ESP: LTD EC-401
6

Price paid: $ 650

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 9
I play mostly metal (think Megadeth to Iron Maiden)to death metal (Dying Fetus, Suffocation, Psycroptic) and this monster handles it all with absolute ease. The 81 gives me amazing attack and almost zero noise and the 60 gives me pretty alright sounds too when I'm in the mood for something softer. I run this through a Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100 and it screams.

Overall Impression — 9
For my styles this fits me perfectly. Its over taken my DKMGT as my main axe and put my KE2 into an early retirement. Run through my JCM 2000 it sounds like a dream. If it were stolen the things I would do the guy are so horrific peoples grandmothers would have heart attacks just thinking about it. After playing for three years, I'm pretty picky about all my axes and this one competes with the best of them. I was a little cautious at first being solely a Jackson player at first but I'm glad I bought this guitar. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a Les Paul shape on a budget of $700 and lower.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar has already accompanied me to three live shows and its kicked ass hard at all of them. I put schaller strap locks on just for safety and this thing moves with me everywhere I go on stage with ease. I never gig without a backup however, but I feel as though I can trust this guitar and the finish is still going strong with no stratches or dents. The only time I had to change it was for a downtuned song.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Action was superb when it arrived to me and the pickups were at just right height. The finish is flawless (mines the black) and it looks damn sexy. All the hardware is sturdy, theres no dead or buzzing frets at all and the pickup selector works wonderfully.

Features — 9
Not sure on the year or exactly when this beast was conceived, but its a tank. 24 frets, Thin 'U' shaped contour neck, 24.75 scale, Mahogany body and neck, Grover tuners, EMG 81(bridge)/60(neck) combo, TOM bridge and tailpiece, a 42mm earvana compensated nut, Grover tuners, Black Nickel hardware and a rosewood fretboard.

94 comments sorted by best / new / date

    JoePerry4life
    CptRevell wrote: The best metal doesn't need massive amounts of gain, or "metal" distortion pedals.
    +1, you don't need assloads of gain for metal, it just makes it sound like a pile of mud.
    Tyler Durden
    SOADriff wrote: Honestly, ESP needs to drop their EMG boners...
    not just ESP but yes, it seems every "metal" guitar out there is defaulted with EMG's...its making metal very sterile - all the suberban emo kids are running out and buying guitars with EMG's and starting more and more metalcore bands....enough already lol
    CptRevell
    The best metal doesn't need massive amounts of gain, or "metal" distortion pedals.
    rlheart
    Most of you guys are complete dumbasses who probably haven't played or messed with half the equipment you are talking about. As for EMG's, the EMG 81 is the damn sterile same sounding pickup in that lineup. Stick an 85 or a 60 in your bridge and then tell me they aren't versatile. Or better yet, learn to properly dial in an amp. If every EMG equipped guitar sounds like metalcore to you you're the one doing something wrong.
    Nirvanarien
    emarie6505 wrote: oh and if someone rants on me saying im like "metal core" kids b/c i have 6506 in my name ill kill em. i hate metal now. and i hate all of you.
    ''Look at me! Im The Rebelz!''
    Nirvanarien
    l)ragonForce wrote: thank you eevery metal band sounds the same to me now, i listend to that stuff for like 5 years and realized its all the same, and they all use esp guitars with EMG pick ups for that same sound they all have.
    All Metal sounds the same! Said the guy with DragonForce in his name...
    NHECOS
    Superb guitar... I prefer the 401 VF because of the pickups... EMG's are not too versatile.
    Taint McGooch
    SOADriff wrote: Honestly, ESP needs to drop their EMG boners...
    Personally I think every metal guitar with active pickups should be fitted with Blackouts...
    PurpleBear102
    Man! Most of you guys are pretty stupid. You continue to bash EMG's but it's as the guitarist wants it that matters. I dare you to go to Zakk Wylde and say: " Dude, you're a lame ***** cause you got your axe stocked with EMG's" I'm pretty sure he'll kick your ass and then Ozzy will bite your F***ing head off. I have one of these ESP LTD 401's and it is VERY versatile. Using a Marshall MG30DFX I got an awesome jazz tone by putting the selector on the bridge and turning the treble way down. Going from Metal to Jazz sounds pretty damn versatile to me. The guys who just said the duncans or dimarzios are better, you guys are cool with me, everyone has their own taste. But the guys who bash on the EMG's just cause a lot of people use them for metal are dumbasses.
    LostKeys
    Uhm..put your KE2 in early retirement? Okay, I'm going to go on a whim here and say that you don't even own a KE2 or have ever owned one...
    shadowsoldier08
    pickups dont make the music, musicians do. dont blame the pickups for the monotonous metal scene today
    Baconator1228
    Tyler Durden wrote: SOADriff wrote: Honestly, ESP needs to drop their EMG boners... not just ESP but yes, it seems every "metal" guitar out there is defaulted with EMG's...its making metal very sterile - all the suberban emo kids are running out and buying guitars with EMG's and starting more and more metalcore bands....enough already lol
    Yeah its the EMGs making metal sterile, not the 6505s, dual rectifiers, drop tunings, repetitive breakdowns, and unoriginal guitar riffs. If everyone would just use blackouts, metal would be awesome again.
    Southern_Metal
    Personally I think every metal guitar with active pickups should be fitted with Blackouts...
    I put blackouts in my ibanez sz: perfect alternative to EMG's- sounds just as good and save you a tonne of money
    l)ragonForce
    Tyler Durden wrote: SOADriff wrote: Honestly, ESP needs to drop their EMG boners... not just ESP but yes, it seems every "metal" guitar out there is defaulted with EMG's...its making metal very sterile - all the suberban emo kids are running out and buying guitars with EMG's and starting more and more metalcore bands....enough already lol
    thank you eevery metal band sounds the same to me now, i listend to that stuff for like 5 years and realized its all the same, and they all use esp guitars with EMG pick ups for that same sound they all have.
    MakkoMortalis
    i dont think the sound of EMG Pick Ups makes the metal bands sound the same, its because of the composition
    InVainmetal
    EMG"S ARE NOT ONE TRICK PONIES! i use em for blues and worship usic in my church with an ec 1000 deluxe You obviously just dont know how to dial in anyother tones but metal
    Seref
    +1, you don't need assloads of gain for metal, it just makes it sound like a pile of mud.
    Iron Maiden tone is the only metal tone, imo. \m/
    jherzog
    why in the world would "everyone" use EMG's if they sucked? hmmm.... maybe they don't? that sounds logical to me lmao
    Minivirus2
    SOADriff wrote: Honestly, ESP needs to drop their EMG boners...
    Metal pups for metal guitars. Makes sense in my mind, but they should offer some variation. I've been drawn to this line of ESP/LTD's for some time. I own an LTD EX and ESP MII (easy to tell I'm an ESP fan), but I'm still thinking of picking up a hardtail EC or Eclipse down the line for drop tuning. Hard to say though, I've been thinking about going for a 7-string next, potentially an HR/Horizon.
    Sakke
    And sorry for double post, but no review of this guitar is helpful.
    Sakke
    LostKeys wrote: Uhm..put your KE2 in early retirement? Okay, I'm going to go on a whim here and say that you don't even own a KE2 or have ever owned one...
    So true. This guitar cannot match that guitar in any single aspect. To the people who are saying that EMGs are sterile.. Well, maybe yeah, but it's not everything in the sound, only a part of it. Sure there are lots of people who buy EMGs just because "everyone else" uses them. I think you could do metal well with SD PG in bridge and '59 in neck and that's just an example. There are lots of options. Blackouts being better than EMGs.. I don't know, maybe for extreme metal, yeah, but I didn't find them good and I like active pickups.
    OceansBetweenUs
    I've also jumped on the low-gain bandwagon for metal. Once you start downtuning, you don't need a ton of gain to be heavy. I used to have my gain on 6-8 for heavy stuff...then one day I kept bumping down my gain at band practice. I stopped when I hit like 4.5 on my amp. It sounded meaner with less gain. And I'm not using the stereotypical 6505+ (Jet City 50H to be exact).
    master2sexy
    I prefer the sound of DiMarzios, but theyre a bit pricry, so I have the Duncan JB combo
    livewire76
    Might be stating the obvious but its all just a matter of taste, isnt it? Maybe EMG's glory days are on the wane then as so many here seem to dislike them? Personally, i like them and an average player in an average band wont sound much better because of a pickup. A little - maybe - but not much. Can anyone list these bands that sound so alike?
    Viking_Swede666
    Taint McGooch wrote: SOADriff wrote: Honestly, ESP needs to drop their EMG boners... Personally I think every metal guitar with active pickups should be fitted with Blackouts...
    bingo. I swapped the EMG 81 pair in my LTD M1000FM with a pair of AHB1 Blackouts. rapes.
    Wiintruder
    Good guitar. A friend has a similar model. Love the neck, hate the EMG's but that's just me. Decent review.
    minchew
    I personally like EMGs. I use the 707s in my C-7 Hellraiser, which gives me a good metal tone. Having said that, I also use the stock "classic" pickups in my Epi SG custom for metal. It gives me a different tone from the EMGs I enjoy. I think people should stop hating on them. But they are starting to get over used. I would love to see a company besides Ibanez put Dimarzios stock in their guitars
    D_Dettinger
    Duncans sound amazing I play a musicman stingray but my buddy has a les paul with Duncans and it sounds superb for metal or anything really and CptRevell your correct +1 for you
    ultimateshreddr
    seriously though, EMGS aren't all that bad ... but ESP should definitely have quality pickups other than EMGs. on an unrelated note, what's the difference between the EC-1000 and the EC-401?
    shyftee
    emg's are good if you like them. i have emg 85/81 and i love them. they sound amazing to ME. if you dont like emg's stop crying and swap them.
    BlaqIc3
    btw! ive played the ec-401 it really isnt that bad. If you cant get the 200 bucks to get a EC-1000 then defintily go with this guitar. Slick and plays well. EMGs are great, but if you got a shitty amp well then your just going to sound shitty lol. Either way, Great Guitar! 4/5 stars!
    BlaqIc3
    asitmguitar wrote: I am so sick and tired of people bashing on other types of metal and arguing over gear. TO EACH THEIR OWN PEOPLE!!!!!yes there are alot of bands who sound alike nowadays but if you look back through history, alot of bands of their eras sounded the same.
    Actually....your somewhat right, but at the same time...some what wrong. What was, what is and what will be, is never gonna be the same
    asitmguitar
    I am so sick and tired of people bashing on other types of metal and arguing over gear. TO EACH THEIR OWN PEOPLE!!!!!yes there are alot of bands who sound alike nowadays but if you look back through history, alot of bands of their eras sounded the same.
    livewire76
    Its hardly EMG's that are causing a stale metal scene. Its down to preference, taste, trends/fashion and not least the musicians playing EMG equipped axes that are the giving all the EMG haters a hard on about "stale music". Dont like it, dont listen. Theres a tonne of bands/albums out there without EMGs on them.
    flippydude
    how can you say EMG users all sound the same? Zakk Wylde and James Hetfield both use 60's for rhythm playing, but would you say they have the same sound? And also, for those of you who criticise brands like ESP for making more guitars with an EMG pickup configuration than other pickups, surely you'd rather they stayed afloat as a company? Guitar companies make what people buy, otherwise they go bust. people buy guitars with EMGs, thus brands make EMG equipped guitars
    Charlie4
    I do agree that the emg active's are very sterile and limited in tones...if you don't eq your gear properly.
    OceansBetweenUs
    I don't understand the EMG hate. I have the EC-1000 with the Seymour Duncan setup passive, and they're great, but don't do 'heavy' as well as the EC-1000 with EMG's I played. The EMG sound gives you that compressed, tight, distortion, even when your cranked past 6 on the gain. Not to mentiona very wide range of guitar players use them - clearly does not mean just metalcore bands do.
    Air_Stryker
    shadowsoldier08 wrote: pickups dont make the music, musicians do. dont blame the pickups for the monotonous metal scene today
    This. I sometimes feel ashamed to admit that my EC 1000 has EMGs in it due to the typical reaction they get. "EMG = Metalcore / breakdowns = sh*t rahrahrah" etc. It sounds monstrous, and I'll be damned if you'll tell me it doesn't just because some emo pricks are using it too. They're the problem, not the pickups.
    Malzahar
    PurpleBear102 wrote: Man! Most of you guys are pretty stupid. You continue to bash EMG's but it's as the guitarist wants it that matters. I dare you to go to Zakk Wylde and say: " Dude, you're a lame ***** cause you got your axe stocked with EMG's" I'm pretty sure he'll kick your ass and then Ozzy will bite your F***ing head off. I have one of these ESP LTD 401's and it is VERY versatile. Using a Marshall MG30DFX I got an awesome jazz tone by putting the selector on the bridge and turning the treble way down. Going from Metal to Jazz sounds pretty damn versatile to me. The guys who just said the duncans or dimarzios are better, you guys are cool with me, everyone has their own taste. But the guys who bash on the EMG's just cause a lot of people use them for metal are dumbasses.
    ^ This.
    batiboy06
    Baconator1228 wrote: Tyler Durden wrote: SOADriff wrote: Honestly, ESP needs to drop their EMG boners... not just ESP but yes, it seems every "metal" guitar out there is defaulted with EMG's...its making metal very sterile - all the suberban emo kids are running out and buying guitars with EMG's and starting more and more metalcore bands....enough already lol Yeah its the EMGs making metal sterile, not the 6505s, dual rectifiers, drop tunings, repetitive breakdowns, and unoriginal guitar riffs. If everyone would just use blackouts, metal would be awesome again.
    i see what you did thar