Price paid: € 700
Purchased from: www.musicstore.com
Sound — 10
This guitar sounds amazing... better than most Gibson's I've tried. It's body is shaped like a Les Paul, but the sound is much more richer and warm than most Gibson's. I would say that you would have to buy a 3000$+ Gibson to match this ESP beauty. This guitar really suits me and the kind of music I like to play. I dislike the sharp tone of Fender Strat like guitars, so I tried out this axe and I was blown away. The pickups on this baby are amazing. I specialy like the Seymour Dunca JB pickup for the heavier stuff, because I often use lots of distortion and chorus+delay combined. I don't use amps very often... I play it through a Boss ME-70 multi-effects pedal board directly connected to a PA or headphones when practicing. The neck pickup (Seymour Duncan 59') is screaming "BLUES"... it has a warm but clean sound that is perfect to play straight to an amp or PA without effects, having a sound that is full with no dead spots. With a little tweeking with the knobs of an amp or in my case with the knobs of my Boss ME-70 COSM amp simulator, I can get almost all the sounds I can think of... PERFECT.
Overall Impression — 10
When practicing I usualy try to pull off some Adam Jones (Tool) stuff and I usually get pretty close to his tone using the SD JB in the bridge position. When playing with my band, we play our originals wich are more of a mainstream kind of sound, for that I use the 59' pickup. I've been playing now for 8 years, and to this date this is the best guitar I own... and belive me people... if this axe was stolen or lost, I would definetly go out and buy another one. My favorite thing in this guitar is the warm tone it gives out, and I would have to say that the thing I love less is a consequense of that fat low and warm sound... thw WEIGHT. My shoulder hurts for a couple of hours after a gig or a rehersal (but belive me... it is worth it). I compared this guitar with the LTD EC 400 VF, the Schecter Deamon II and with a couple of Epi's Les Pau and SG's... and I tell you... it was worth the extra euros I paid for it, it is a far more superior instrument. So my advice is: If you are looking for a Les Paul guitar type and you can't afford a Gibson, and the Epi doesn't sound right to you... consider this ESP EC 401 VF, it simply rocks.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I used this guitar on two gigbs now and the only time I had to used my Ibanez was because it was tuned in Drop D, and it was was needed for that pecific couple of songs. The strap buttons are solid and firmly attached to the body. The finish looks that it is going to last through the ages. Another positive aspect is the Grover tuners... I tune my guitar in the begining of the rehersal and never again until the next session. Electronics are looking preety solid and noiseless until now.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I suspect his guitar had some prior setup in factory before it landed on my hands. I didn't had to change anything. The pickups height was just perfect for my taste and the distance between the strings and the neck is just good enough for me not to make mistakes with slight touches in adjacents strings other tahn the one I sould be hitting. The action on this guitar was great right out of the box... I just had to tune the guitar and let it rip. The finish in this baby is FLAWLESS.
Features — 10
This guitar was built in 2008 and I think it was built in China. This guitar has 22XJ frets a beatiful mahogany body and a rosewood fretboard. The finish I chose is an incredible Tobacco Sunburst. It has a Tune-o-matic bridge with Stop Tailpiece, Grover machine heads, a 3-way Toggle Switch, chrome hardware, Earvana compensated Nut and 2 Volume, 1 Tone Control knobs. Regarding the pickups, it has 2 Seymour Duncan's, it has a SD 59' in the neck position and a SD JB in the bridge position. The guitar came tools for basic setup.