LTD EC-401VF review by ESP

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (26 votes)

Price paid: € 719

Purchased from:

Sound — 9
I bought this guitar to fill in the sound gap I had between my Epi Prophecy LP GX with Gibson Dirty Fingers and the LTD Deluxe EC-1000 with EMG 81/60. I prefer my sound coming from the guitar more than from the amp and, since I play different styles ranging from '60s British rock to Zeppelin, GNR, all the way through grunge and metal, I wanted different guitars for different styles. I use this one to play mostly 60's and 70's rock, but it can easily handle metal, with the right amp and effects. The cleans are beautiful too, just flick the pick-up switch and it goes from full-bodied to bright. Crank up the amp and the sustain is endless; the gain doesn't affect clarity and if you use the tone control wisely, you can get a really rich sound. I believe it's thanks to the thick body that provides this guitar with much more resonance compared to my EC-1000.

Overall Impression — 9
While I don't recommend this guitar if you want to play Slipknot (without effects, that is), I think it's versatile enough to provide the sound range usually desired by most amateur/semipro rock guitarists. I didn't have the opportunity to play the guitar anywhere before ordering it online, but after having owned and played my EC-1000VF, I had enough confidence in LTD products. I researched online and when I finally found out it had a thicker body than the EC-1000, I was sold. And if I decide I can't Live without them, I could install Gotoh hardware and have a guitar comparable in sound AND features to the ESP Eclipse-II. Almost.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Looks and feels like a solid guitar, however I strongly advise on investing in straplocks and locking tuners to make sure you'll have no surprises during live playing. Would I use it without a back-up? No, but I wouldn't use any guitar (or amp, for that matter) without back-up in a gig. Otherwise, I have confidence this will last a long time. I'll get back to you after I drop it a few times, though.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Out of the box, the guitar was set up perfectly, all it needed was a slight tune. Low action without fret buzz, perfect intonation, solid hardware... no complaints here whatsoever. My guitar is finished in Tobacco Sunburst and it is flawless too. The only problem I can foresee in the long run is keeping it clean, as you can see every spec of dust and every single fingerprint on it.

Features — 9
Made in Indonesia in 2008. LTD's mid-range take on the Les Paul which manages to provide great bang-for-buck, thanks in part to the Seymour Duncan 59/JB pick-ups.. The guitar features a thick, yet lightweight mahogany body with a flamed maple top, finished in either Tobacco Sunburst or Faded Cherry Sunburst. It has a set mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, 42mm Earvana compensated nut, thin U neck contour, 22 extra jumbo frets, chrome hardware, Grover tuners, TOM bridge & tail.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    the ec 400's are almost the exact same as the 1000's and are a fraction of the price. you cant beat them.
    i just bought this guitar about 2 weeks ago and dont see myself ever needing another guitar. you have to see this guitar in person because the pictures on musiciansfriend or anywhere else are crap compared the beauty that is this guitar.
    i've been considering getting one of these, a cheaper L.P. style guitar than a Gibson but still quality sound, i'm going to look into this more
    u have some mice guitars man, especially the EC-1000. Guitar looks good man, grats on it. and to Pedalist: we can all see that ur post is first, who cares anyways. I bet you didnt even read the review...
    mmmm. looks nice, i wish i had this over my epiphone LP... well atleast pickup wise. Damn you epiphone and crappy stock pickups.
    thanks very much for this review - this is gonna be my next guitar (birthday in December) for sure and you gave a great review. I'm gonna get mine in the cherry sunburst.
    I love this guitar! Had the chance to buy one and blew it...been kicking myself daily since then.
    dcj438 wrote: you have to see this guitar in person because the pictures on musiciansfriend or anywhere else are crap compared the beauty that is this guitar.
    100% agreed! Btw, I have a new amp now (Blackstar HT-5S), and this guitar sounds just perfect through a valve amp. The 9 I gave it in my review is truly deserved.
    I am thinking of buying either one of these or a michael kelly patriot custom. Any suggestions?
    id love it if you did one of these reviews for the ec 1000 . nice one
    CharlieFoxtrot : I am thinking of buying either one of these or a michael kelly patriot custom. Any suggestions?
    I noticed that the Michael Kelly Patriot has only one knob for tone and another one for volume and that in my book in a no no. I've seen that it has Rockfield pickup's... I must confess that I don't know that brand, and Seymour Duncan's in this EC 401 VF are a safe and great choice. It also looks like it has the same problem as the 401 VF... it looks heavy.
    so how much ofa thickness difernce between this and the ec-1000 is there?
    I played one of these the other day after an EC-256P with LP90 pick ups outplayed, seemed better put together, had less imperfections, and sounded as good as 3 or 4 Gibson 60's Tribute Les Pauls with P90's and humbucker equipped Studios at the shop I was at... It was still a tough decision as I was set on buying a VM or Tribute Gibson and the urge to buy a USA Made Gibson is brain washed into guitarists like myself, but I have saved a few quid off the Gibson's price tag and bought an as good, if not superior, guitar whether Gibson owners will admit it or not as it's Indonesian and has LTD on the headstock - These EC-401VF's really are as impressive as the reviews suggest and I don't regret skipping the Gibson section because as I said I was LITERALLY going to buy one until I realised these LTD's were genuinely as good as I'd heard at a better price and I'm a working man. Also to the guy above, the difference in thickness between these and the EC-1000's isn't mammoth but it is noticeable and it's definitely not a bad thing so don't be put off. The single volume knob isn't an issue either.