LTD EX-401DX review by ESP

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (24 votes)
ESP: LTD EX-401DX
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Price paid: € 820

Purchased from: Jericho Musique

Sound — 8
This guitar looks and sounds like it's made for metal, which it is! At the moment I only have a Line 6 Spider IV at home, but I play it at a lot of places on different amps, and I can tell you it sounds pretty decent for a guitar in this pricerange. The 81 neck pickup gives a great sound for high-gain metal riffs, and when played clean it produces a beautiful warm sound. I do not know what to think of the 60 pickup on the other hand; it seems just a bit too bright for me. If you turn the tone down a tad and put the selector in the middle, you can make a somewhat fender-like sound, though nobody will believe you'll be playing on a telecaster. You can play anything from blues to heavy metal on this guitar, yet if you're more of a jazzy, bluesy kind of guy, I do not recommend it to you. The 60 pickup seems quite useless to me, and the 81 is just a tad too warm and lacking in treble to play clean jazz.

Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing guitar for 3.5 years now, mostly rock, metal, Indie and blues. And it seems to do more than well for all of those. It might not give a tyical blues or jazz sound, but the warmth of the low tones and the clear and bright beauty of the higher ones gives everything a pretty feeling of its own. The only thing that could improve this guitar, is replacing the floyd rose with a string thru body or other solid bridge, as I find the cons of having a tremolo heavliy outweighing the pros. Compared to other guitars of its class, I'd say this is somewhere in the upper levels, not the best thing you can buy for this price, but pretty damn close!

Reliability & Durability — 7
I have gigged with it a couple of times in the year that I've had it. And it withstood everything. I do not see anyone breaking this guitar in any way within at least 5 years of buying it without really trying. It feels really durable and well-built. I have had one or two strings break (because the floyd rose only locks about 5mm of string) and with this kind of bridge tuning or replacing strings takes about 5-10 minutes, so if you have a gig, I recommend having (a) backup guitar/strings. Unless you have time to replace the strings of course. The finish is really durable, I've bumped the pointy body into all kinds of walls, but I still can't see a single scratch!

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
As for the state I bought it in, I have no remarks whatsoever. The guitar was built properly and up to everything you might expect. The action is right for me, yet I can imagine that for some players it's a tad high. (I also have an Epiphone SG, and in comparison to that the ESP has the lowest action you'll ever see.) I like to think the action is about average. The only weird thing is that I got it with a set of hex keys, but neither of the two seemed to fit anywhere on the guitar, so if you want to unlock the locking tuners or adjust the bridge, you'll need another set of hex keys.

Features — 9
Built in Korea, yet the amazing quality barely differs from US-made guitars. The Black quilted maple top looks truly amazing (pretty much everybody who saw me play it said it's a very beautiful guitar), and the Mahogany body with set maple neck give it quite some sustain, not as much as a neck-thru guitar, but more than enough in my humble opinion. The Explorer shape is quite unhandy at some times, but a special 20 Explorer gig bag solves most of your problems. It has EMG 81 and 60 pickups, a volume and tone knob and a 3-way switch, and comes with a floyd rose special tremolo. Which leads me to the only real flaw of this guitar; it seems to go out of tune rather quickly. Though it has locking Grover tuners, it seems like I need to tune between every 1 or 2 songs when gigging or even practicing. Think twice before you buy a guitar with floating bridge kids!

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Zombow
    I bought one of these a year ago... A great and awesome guitar, It sounds amazing and the shape is just magnificent! I am absolutly proud to be an owner of an ESP LTD EX-401-DX!
    EpiExplorer
    Von II wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: Good sounding axe, great for progressive and extreme metal. Lolwut. I doubt it's any better when playing "progressive and extreme" than when playing Thrash or some Dio. What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing. Although I like me some 85/81/60 EMGs, your comment sounds like a kid wanting to play metalcore and going like "EMG's because that's what you need to be brutal".
    Just because I dont mention every genre under the sun doesn't mean I'm limiting my statement to just progressive metal and whatever. I've played the guitar in a shop, in Denmark street, through what I think was a 5150, I played what I played, which was some SYL riffs, random dissonant scales used in death and prog metal and some other stuff and it sounded good using this guitar. Now you tell me, are you bored and running out of reasons to live or are you just looking for a random troll response?
    ilikefood740
    Von II wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: Good sounding axe, great for progressive and extreme metal. Lolwut. I doubt it's any better when playing "progressive and extreme" than when playing Thrash or some Dio. What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing. Although I like me some 85/81/60 EMGs, your comment sounds like a kid wanting to play metalcore and going like "EMG's because that's what you need to be brutal".
    I wouldnt say its a great sounding axe if you only thought that because of the picture. although i cant see this being used but anyone who doesnt play some form of metal. looks like a sweet guitar regardless
    Camron62\m/
    Von II wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: Good sounding axe, great for progressive and extreme metal. Lolwut. I doubt it's any better when playing "progressive and extreme" than when playing Thrash or some Dio. What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing. Although I like me some 85/81/60 EMGs, your comment sounds like a kid wanting to play metalcore and going like "EMG's because that's what you need to be brutal".
    wow yer even saying shit he didn't say. he didn't even mention EMG's or metalcore, are you retarded? he obviously likes the guitar because he plays progressive and extreme metal. dumbass.
    its_minchew
    It was an ok review, but it sounds like he just bought it and isn't being as objective as he could be. I saw two problems though that if he reads he might want to take note of. 1. The EMG 81 is going to be in the bridge, not the neck, and the 60 is the neck pickup. 2. If you have a double locking Floyd set up and it falls out of tune every couple of songs, you really need to have that set up properly or something is wrong with the unit because that just shouldn't happen.
    LeakyFlask
    Von II wrote: What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing.
    EMG's, Floyd Rose, radical body shape...
    NichOrion
    Slap some 85's in place of the 81 and 60, and you have a lot more tonal options. That's just my experience, though. The 81 is a one-trick pony, and if you feel like that one-trick prick who needs a one-trick pony, then good on you. However, if you want more OOMPH and a lot more balls to it in more situations, look into the 85's or Bareknucle pickups.
    Von II
    EpiExplorer wrote: Good sounding axe, great for progressive and extreme metal.
    Lolwut. I doubt it's any better when playing "progressive and extreme" than when playing Thrash or some Dio. What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing. Although I like me some 85/81/60 EMGs, your comment sounds like a kid wanting to play metalcore and going like "EMG's because that's what you need to be brutal".
    LeakyFlask
    Spartan101400 wrote: LeakyFlask wrote: Von II wrote: What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing. EMG's, Floyd Rose, radical body shape... I play Jazz with a pointed explorer shape with an Angel carrying a blood stained sword and active pups, does this mean that it's only made for one genre?
    There's one thing people always seem to misunderstand. I didn't say it was good for only one genre. I replied to a post asking what it is that makes this guitar good for a certain genre. EMG's and Floyd Rose tremolos are commonly used in many sub-genres of metal, the EMG's provide good metal tones in combination with a good amp and the Floyd Rose allows for dive bombs and other whammy based techniques found in several subgenres of metal. This should make it a decent choice for metal (if the quality is good). I didn't say that it was only good for metal. It is indeed true that very few guitars are complete one trick ponys, but some people just seem to be so stubborn they can't even accept that some guitars were made for certain genres in mind. And saying a guitar is good for a certain genre does NOT necessarily mean it's terrible at every other genre out there. It simply means that it's good for a certain genre. Who would have thought?
    PwnzrJay
    M3AK wrote: Am I the only one who thinks the review made this guitar sound shit? Despite the fact he said he loved it he pointed out loads of flaws and spoke of way too much he didn't like about it. Shite review if you ask me.
    Well I'm sorry for being critical, in stead of praising a guitar into heaven like everyone here. I feel like describing the flaws is more useful than describing everything that's good about it, that would take way too long
    tininho
    I own one of these and it stays in tune longer than my Yamaha Pacifica (strat style bridge). I find this review ironic because you found defects in the things that i love the most about this guitar. The floyd is just great! It stays in tune for weeks. I only need to unlock the strings when it's time to change them. I also love the emg60, its great for cleans and solos, much better than the 81 which i only use for rythm.
    Radynj
    Spartan101400 wrote: LeakyFlask wrote: Von II wrote: What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing. EMG's, Floyd Rose, radical body shape... I play Jazz with a pointed explorer shape with an Angel carrying a blood stained sword and active pups, does this mean that it's only made for one genre?
    Something tells me that you're not using EMGs and a Floyd Rose on yours.... A slab of mahogany with PAFs will sound good regardless of the body shape.
    PwnzrJay
    About that detuning every couple of songs; I didn't mean it sounds awful, but I just have to tune it a lot because it slips out of tune slightly, which sounds terrible if you're playing with a band
    timwparsons
    I have one and I am a Start Fender fan.....The neck is a little wide for my taste.....all in all I love this guitar...The Floyd Rose is top notch...Stays in tune. I will however change the strings on it. I am falling in love with this thing....currently it is my only guitar
    M3AK
    Am I the only one who thinks the review made this guitar sound shit? Despite the fact he said he loved it he pointed out loads of flaws and spoke of way too much he didn't like about it. Shite review if you ask me.
    MaggaraMarine
    Spartan101400 wrote: LeakyFlask wrote: Von II wrote: What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing. EMG's, Floyd Rose, radical body shape... I play Jazz with a pointed explorer shape with an Angel carrying a blood stained sword and active pups, does this mean that it's only made for one genre?
    No but actives can't do twang or crunch sounds. So they are not the best alternative for blues for example. Of course if you like the sound of actives... But many times there are specific standards about what kind of sound you are looking for your genre. For example funk needs lots of twang and Strat kind of sound. So for funk I wouldn't buy anything with active humbuckers. And actives give you good metal sound (some prefer passives of course). But for metal I don't think people want that much twang so that's why SSS Strat isn't the best guitar for death metal. And it won't have as aggressive sound as something with active humbuckers because the single coils have lower output. And I think this guitar was made for metalheads. Just look at the shape. First thing you'll think when you see this guitar is "Metal." Of course you can play jazz, blues or any other genre with it but it won't sound as good for those genres as a Strat would (of course it's a matter of opinion). And I think the guy who designed the guitar was designing it primarily for metal/rock guitarists.
    Spartan101400
    LeakyFlask wrote: Von II wrote: What's so specific on this guitar that makes it good for a certain genre? Oh right, just about nothing. EMG's, Floyd Rose, radical body shape...
    I play Jazz with a pointed explorer shape with an Angel carrying a blood stained sword and active pups, does this mean that it's only made for one genre?
    smouch3
    you gave it a 9 even though it goes out of tune every song????? Have you got any idea at all