Price paid: $ 347.7
Sound — 8
I play Metal and blues, so it was important to me that it sounded good clean as well as the distortion pumped up (But lets be honest your not gonna get a guitar like this to play blues on, are you?) I was happy with its performance. The distortion was crisp and clean, and surprisingly controllable with no frett buzzing of any kind. However, top 2 strings did sound a bit weak, buts it's nothing serious. If your going to play with distortion I recomend using the lower bridge pickup, as the neck pickups are a bit lame to say the least with no overdrive or gain and a retarded fuzzy sound. But then most guitars of this price range suffer from that same problem as well. It sounds much better turned up (obviously), and I found it works well with Line 6 distortion pedals. So, there are no issues with the sound. The clean sound was nice enough, does the job as well as you'd want. Smiles and horns all round, then.
Overall Impression — 8
Ironically, it's a remarkably well built guitar despite the fact that it split in two after a few weeks as I explained earlier. I've knocked it around since then (I glued it back together since then, using an insane wood adhesive) and it's held up well. I haven't used it Live yet, as I still haven't summed up the nerves yet, but I reckin it will do you justice. So long as you don't go trying to immitate Jimmi Hendrix. As a complete package it's definitely a one to consider. It's much more adventurous than just buying a conventional looking guitar. It has a cool Aura around it and people will mistake you for James Hetfield if your big and blonde. Its defining feature is just how damn cool it looks. And it's good for slicing up fans and crowd surfers if they get too close. I also dig its tone, and ergonomics. The buttons are placed where they should be, and the fret board does the job. However it could do with some extras, like a Floyd Rose tremolo or something. If the Peavy Rotor which is considerably cheaper can have one, I don't see why this cant. I mean it's a real metal guitar, and any self respecting metal player should have one. True I did mention earlier that it isn't a lead type of guitar, but it would still be nice. So, if you really want one, trust your instinct (and eyes) and get one. Get a decent pedal and amp and get rockin.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Unfortunately Within 2 weeks the guitar fell off my lap and fell on the ground from about 2 feet. The top back wedge snapped off like a piece of glass, a total clean cut. I wasn't impressed at all. In fact I was quite pissed off. Guitars shouldn't snap in half when they fall from such a small distance. ESP, totally blanked my efforts for a refund when I showed them pictures and explained to them that there must have been a split in it before I baught it. It is a cheap guitar, but I really wasn't expecting that. Remarkably I can still play it and none of the sound has been affected. I do believe it was a fault of the manufacturing and that there was an internal split there before I baught it. On top of this I would still recomend this guitar, I don't believe all of them are as weak as mine so don't let this put you off if you are considering picking it up. The strings are placed on a perfect hight and the bridge is well place and sturdy as you like. The fretboard is suitably thick and works well for rhythm. I wouldn't recomend if you are planning on doing loads of solos and stuff, although it can handle it if need be. It's comfey to hold and feels firm. It is prone to going a out of tune at the slightest bump, however. But that's probably just my fault. The only major problem is practicality. It's an absolout bitch to play sitting down due to the nature of it's shape. It's designed for Live playing, not practice. After playing to long with your hand eternaly in an awkward position, you get tired of it quickly. However playing standing up is a real joy, because if you manage to udjust the strap hight properly it's really good. Flaw No2, it's kinda heavy, but not to the extent of a Gibson Explorer, so you need strong shoulders. Flaw No3 is carrying it around. As far as I know ( I might be wrong) ESP don't make a carry case for this type of guitar shape. I tried but I couldn't find one, so I had to buy an extra large Standard shaped guitar case to fitt it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
From the factory it came out of tune, which is understandable. The finnish is generaly nice. The paint is smooth, It has lovely little "ESP" logos etched on each machine-head, the neck bolt plate also has a pretty snazzy ESP logo etched on it, and the 12th fret has a nice "EX-50" inlay which is also quite handy for playing solos with as it acts a great marker, I found. So it's well finnished and look simply georgeous. Realy, this is the best looking guitar of it's price, and people will think you're a pro. My guitar teacher estimated it at 300-400 when I asked him how much he thought it cost. Makes you look way cooler than you really are.
Features — 8
The EX-50 is the cheapest X-plorer type Axe ESP make, and it's a toned down version of EX-500 and Dan jacobs signiture model. Despite being a lot cheaper it still retains those good looks. In fact it looks identical to the EX-500 from afar, the only difference is the colour is gloss. So, it looks the biz and is ideal for morror posing and killing crowdsurfers with, and it's sharper than a broken mirror. Basically it's all good. I baught this guitar for a total steal at only 190 UK pounds at a guitar show, as the styling and general feel of it apealed to me. It features a pretty Standard set up for a guitar of this price (bearing in mind that it costs 230 normally), two humbuckers, 24 frets and so on. No complaints, everything you'll need to start rocking. Or so I thought. I'll explain later.