Price paid: A$ 800
Purchased from: Music express
Sound — 8
Judging by the shape and brand of this guitar, the target genre for this guitar will be Heavy Metal and that's exactly the majority of music that I play. This guitar is very versatile and can handle most genres because of the push coil tap option which lets you Switch from a humbucker setting to a single coil setting. This fulfills a guitarist's needs for other genres like punk and softer rock. I am currently playing this through a Peavey Vypyr 75 Watt with a Boss ME - 20 as a distortion booster and wah pedal. The pickups are pretty good. They remind me of the EMGHZ pickups. They sound very meaty and chunky, good for metal and rock. They can produce a lot of gain without sounding muddy but they can sometimes sound a bit sterile. The pickups are not noisy unless you flood the amp with heaps of distortion without a noise suppressor. This guitar is very versatile and can deal with a wide range of musical genres. However, the pickups sometimes and sound a bit dry and empty. I suggest fitting this guitar with EMG's to make it perfect. I play metal primarily and this guitar fits it like speedo.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar fits most music genres and is very versatile. I have been playing for 2 years and I own a Squier Strat and an Epiphone les paul and this guitar in my opinion is my favourite. I had tried many other guitars Dean, Jackson and Ibanez guitars and I feel that this guitar fits me the best. If this were stolen I would consider buying a higher end version of the EX with EMG's if I had the money. I am, overall, very happy with this guitar and I am getting a EMG 81 for the bridge soon which will make this guitar absolutely perfect for me.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar was made by ESP and through my experience, ESP's last. This guitar has withstood a lot of Live playing. I use this guitar all the time. The strap buttons look very secure, however I do recommend strap locks. I would depend on it, but I never go to a gig without a back up. I actually had a problem with a neck pick up after a few months of having it. The neck bit up was very quiet whenever I switched to it and I just had to toggle the pickup selector and it would work again which was very annoying but surprisingly went away after a while. The finish is will not wear off from playing but the paint will chip if you bump this guitar. The hardware seems like it will last for a long time. In my opinion, this guitar is very reliable and it can be used to Live playing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action was perfect at the factory. The pickups were adjusted just how I like them. The finish was perfect. However the tuning pegs were slightly loose but that was easily fixed. Another thing was that the fret board was poorly cut in some places which makes it looks a bit crummy. Other than that, the guitar played pretty smoothly in my hands apart from another thing that bugged me. It was hard to reach up to the 22nd fret because of the shape. Still, this guitar is pretty well set up.
Features — 8
This guitar was made in Indonesia. Not sure when it was made though. The body is made out of Agathis wood. It has a maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard. This particular model has a black finish and is based on the Gibson Explorer shape. It has ESP tuners and a TOM bridge and tail. It also has a set neck with black nickel hardware. The pickups that come with the guitar are ESP EMG LH-300 designed passive - high output pickups. There is one master tone and volume with a push coil tap on tone control.