Price paid: $ 396
Purchased from: Guitar Shop
Sound — 9
I play mostly rhythm , with only a few solos and I'm driving it through a small practice amp at home (Harley Banton CG-15) with a Zoom 505II effect pedal and the sound is great , I found a preset for an effect that sounds like the one that James Hetfield used on "...And Justice for All" and the results were amazing , the distortion pumps through your veins delivering astonishing results with some pretty cheap gear . The guitar is loud as hell but yet the noise isn't very big . If you decide to play it clean the guitar will not seize to amaze you , although the volume drops a bit too much on clean. And if u want to make a solo every now and then it sounds perfect for slow solos , harmonies and stuff like that , I do not recommend it for tapping or sweep picking solos because it's just not made for that .
Overall Impression — 9
If there's one thing I didn't previously say in this review is that I would love to see a Ebony fingerboard , the sound is much more "metal" in a way . Anyways , good fucking guitar , I strongly recommend it for young metal players . Hell yeah !
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar is awesome for live playing , the hardware will last a lifetime if taken good care of , the strap buttons are very solid , I never dropped it since I got it and using the same strap . You can surely depend on it without a backup . The only problem is I admit , the finish . It already started to wear off near the tuners ...but with a guitar care kit you will have no problems .
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
First of all the guitar was flawless in terms of design (only a scratch made the back by transportation probably) . The bridge was routed almost perfect , only the 1 fret sounded up one or two comas . The pickups are fine , adjusted in mirror image to each other .
Features — 7
It's made in China (WTF !?) 2008 with 22 XJ frets , Rosewood fingerboard , Basswood body , Maple neck with a black finish that covers even the back of the neck where many guitars have plain wood color . It's the low end Explorer style guitar made by ESP , Tom bridge and tail , volume , tone , 3-way selector , ESP simple tuners . The thing that's new in this newer 2008 model is that it no longer has 2x ESP-100 pickups yet it has 2x ESP-150 pickups that deliver a much grater tone especially for metal players . All the hardware is chrome.