LTD EX-400BD review by ESP

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.9 (90 votes)
ESP: LTD EX-400BD
4

Price paid: $ 689

Purchased from: Music Mart

Sound — 10
I run this guitar through a Peavey 5150 (block letter) with a Peavey XXX 412 cab and an Electro-Harmonix Holiest Grail reverb. The sound is about what you'd expect of such a setup. The active EMG 81/60 pickups absolutely scream. Even with massive amounts of distortion you can hear each note ring out crystal clear. This guitar was made for metal, but the EMG 60 in the neck can produce excellent, bright and snappy cleans (albiet they aren't the cleans for everyone) and when run through my Fender Hot Rod De Ville 410, I can get some really clean bluesy tones. The mohagany body resonates and sustains forever. Even played acoustically it has a certain richness to it.

Overall Impression — 10
This guitar fits me perfectly. If lost or stolen, I'd definately get another. Its a no frills guitar, plain and simple. If you're after a killer metal tone, excellent playability and not worried about having a bright, flashy guitar, definately check these out. All of ESP's LTD 400 series and above are well made and I highly reccomend.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I always change out the strap buttons to Schaller strap locks on all my guitars, but I would definately reccomend it on this guitar. The stock ones were loose and wouldn't have held out long, so I filled the holes with a little wood filler before I put my Schallers in. Probably just a fluke because overall this guitar is very well built. This isn't a cheap beginner guitar. This is professional quality instrument with few frills. I wouldn't hesitate to use this guitar for any recording or gigging. I may be bias on this issue because I don't see the need to spend thousands on dollars on a guitar when there are plenty of guitars at a fraction of the price that offer the same playability, sound and feel. All it really lacks is a beautiful, flashy finish.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar came set up perfectly from the factory. Even after changing my strings to 11-56's, I have yet to need to make the first adjustment. The neck and frets are smooth as glass. There are absolutely no flaws that I can find.

Features — 10
Made in 2005. This guitar was built to last. I've banged this guitar on just about everything in my room (drum cymbals, ceiling fan, amps, tv's) and I have only managed to put one small chip in the finish on the bottom horn. Even my chains and belt buckle have yet to scratch the finish. The one thing that really surprised me about this guitar is how little it weighs. I've always been an Explorer fan, but they are usually ungodly heavy. This weighs in at 7lb 9 oz, just three ounces more than my Fender Stratocaster. The neck profile is slightly flat, but somewhat thick like a Les Paul. The only downfall about the neck, and this is just personal preference, is that its painted. I much prefer an unfinished neck, but its very comfortable. As with all Explorer style guitars, the neck is a little heavier than that of most Strat style guitars, but with a decent strap you don't even notice it. As with any guitar, I reccomend strap locks. - Made in Korea (you'd swear it was American made. Excellent quality) - Black with black Diamond Plate (basically a chunk of plastic, but it looks good) - 3 piece maple set neck construction - 24.75" scale - Mahogany body - Rosewood fingerboard - Dot inlays with EX-400BD inlay at the 12th fret - EMG 81 & 60 active pickups - Volume/tone controls with 3-way toggle - Black hardware - Grover tuners - Earvana compensated nut (this thing actually works!) - Tune-O-Matic style bridge - 22 extra jumbo frets.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    p2fyre
    oh yeah, and it's an amazing guitar.. only downfall is that it's top heavy, so if you take your hands off the guitar, it tilts downwards to the floor. Only a slight issue, just most guitars stay in the same position when you let go
    Weybl Himself
    "you'd swear it was American made. Excellent quality" obviously never played a Japanese built guitar, way better than any American axe.
    Metalemo
    Weybl Himself : "you'd swear it was American made. Excellent quality" obviously never played a Japanese built guitar
    Since when was Korea in Japan???
    Cpt. FLue
    i didn't wanna pay ekstra just fort he diamond plate. so i bought the white one. (yes the white one) because if your on a dark scene you can't barely see the guitar. I just love it. cause your really the guy who's shining up the whole scene. youe the one people say "wooow!" to. And practicly its all the same. just the colour and/or graphics
    starskream
    i want to get the dan jacobs ex, it is a white finish with a dripping blood graphic on it. check out the esp web site and click signiture series. its the sh*t!
    AILD9919
    GWAR's Ballsak uses this guitar, need I say more?
    actually he plays an flying V. I saw them at Sounds of the Underground and he was playing the same guitar that he is on the website. Look closely its not an EX at all. And can someone explain what the compensating nut does?
    Kain_Doom01
    Weybl Himself wrote: "you'd swear it was American made. Excellent quality" obviously never played a Japanese built guitar, way better than any American axe.
    LOOK better, they can build a body that'le blow your mind, but American Axes have better tone, not as "HOLY SH*T" enducing with the looks, but great tone GWAR's Ballsak uses this guitar, need I say more?
    Cobain_Is_King
    Vic_metalhead wrote: I've had this guitar for a year. All my guitar buddies are jealous. It sounds like a monster and plays like a dream. Once I got a quality strap, it hangs exactly where I want it to. And the plate isn't plastic. Its powder coated aluminum. You want a metal guitar that delivers, you want to be unique and have your "own" guitar and not just another strat or les paul...get this guitar.
    If you're urging everyone to buy this, and they do, then it will be 'just another Xplorer.' Sweet guitar though, Love the Diamond Plates.
    guitar creature
    i have a guitar that looks like that. Mine is a takamine. It's awesome for playin stuff like killswitch engage and god forbid. I'd buy this
    Vic_metalhead
    I've had this guitar for a year. All my guitar buddies are jealous. It sounds like a monster and plays like a dream. Once I got a quality strap, it hangs exactly where I want it to. And the plate isn't plastic. Its powder coated aluminum. You want a metal guitar that delivers, you want to be unique and have your "own" guitar and not just another strat or les paul...get this guitar.
    red star
    Metalemo wrote: Weybl Himself : "you'd swear it was American made. Excellent quality" obviously never played a Japanese built guitar Since when was Korea in Japan???
    wow i dont think you got it. hes saying japanese guitars are better than amereican and korean guitars. which is true with fender
    Metallica708
    I wanna get this guitar, along with a Roland Cube 60. With my boss OS inbetween, set on full distortion, and i "krank" up the volume, i'm sure i'll reach orgasm.
    MexiChriS
    Damn I want one of these ESP LTD Ex-Series so bad, I'm thinking about get the signature one by Dan Jacob from Atreyu just because it has a tremlo on it, but it cost alot. So i might just get this and uprgrade it. What do you guys think? - MexiChriS -
    Rock TABer-><
    This is a gr8 axx
    p2fyre : i hated the plate, i bought the plain black
    probably means you didnt get one at this standard and
    p2fyre : oh yeah, and it's an amazing guitar.. only downfall is that it's top heavy, so if you take your hands off the guitar, it tilts downwards to the floor.
    Just get a leather strap, best with a suade inside, I'v got a BC Rich Bich SE, wich has the same problem but it wont do it if your strap is good enough. But anyway its a gr8 axx! ROCK ON ESP!
    cobrajett11
    do any of you guys know where i could find the james hetfield diamond plated guitar for sale?? and how much?
    MaddMann274
    This guitar is awesome.. I am gonna buy this for sure. But wait.. What if it goes AWOL on me..O_O
    Lambo_Guitar
    Loved this guitar since the day i bought it! it's the best thing ever And its true when you hit something it doesnt get scratched at all! its done more damage to walls and doors than the walls and doors did to it
    hauntedinc
    Yeah, the plate is definitely not plastic, it's metal. I just took my plate off my EX to get it resprayed. Decided gloss black was a bit nicer than matte black.
    Shredder Guitar
    what the hell "even my chains...." yeah, we dont wanna hear about your sexual devices, or anything of that matter.
    metal jello
    Kid Fisto wrote: hey dude, koreans can make good stuff too.DigitalFortress wrote: WHY the HECK did you try banging the guitar on everything in your room??!!! i don't think he did. i think he got too extreme.
    I think he's crazy, looking for atttention, and trying to imitate Pete Townsend. (did I spell that right?)
    Kid Fisto
    hey dude, koreans can make good stuff too.
    DigitalFortress wrote: WHY the HECK did you try banging the guitar on everything in your room??!!!
    i don't think he did. i think he got too extreme.
    Luke Murtough
    exta 150 quid for "diamond plated" finish and mounted pickups. better off with the normal version