Price paid: € 529
Purchased from: Dirk Witte Amsterdam
Sound — 9
It sounds amazingly good. I was al little sceptic because I was afraid the difference of the sound when selecting bridge/neck pickup would be very small. But I've got to say there really is a lot of difference. Switch at bridge position gives a sharp and clean sound, while switch at neck position gives a warmer tone. When using a cheap amp you really want to turn the gain down or it will distort too much and will make an awful sound (especially with bridge pickup selected). Compared to my Strat it has a lot more output and you've got to find your way with that when tuning your amp to it but when you do: delicious! You like Rammstein: great! This beauty really gets the crunchy sound you want. You like blues: tune your amp the right way and it sounds very nice for blues purpose too! I've tested it on a Line 6 Spider 5, A no name brand 10W amp, A Park by Marshall 15W amp and a Blackstar HT-5. Especially when using the Blackstar amp it was totally awesome. The tone, even when cranking the volume it was not deforming but nice and clean. And at distortion it also did what it had to, flawlessly.
Overall Impression — 9
I like to play rock, hard rock, and blues mostly. My favourite band is Muse and it suits very well to play their songs too (great sustain, Bellamy uses a Fernandes Sustainer at his Manson but this guitar does the trick too). Also getting soms very loud and clear harmonics out of it is much easier than it is on my Strat. In fact, I found out how they play the beginning of "Citizen erased" thanks to this guitar, nuff said. This guitar is often referred to as being a "metal guitar". I'm not into metal but I just love the design of the guitar and the parts they used for it. I am sure it will make a good metal guitar for it has 24 frets, lpw action and the neck allows you to play really fast. If it was lost or stolen I would buy another one again, also a 350 again because it has the mahogany body, fr special, EMG pups and ESP tuners (F400 has a TOM bridge, I don't want that. And the ones below the F350 don't have all the options this one has). What I love is the design and the diversity of the sound. What I hate is nothing, just the little faults in the finishing. Overall seen I am glad I made this choice and hope it will be with me for a looooong time.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I think it will withstand live playing. The hardware is well chosen and can certainly bear a lot of rough shredding on stage. The strap buttons are a bit small but they hold my Dunlop strap fine (The buttons are in beautiful blackchrome too). The finish is not the hardest kind around. It has small scratches already though I'm not that rough with my guitars. I think it got the scratches from the little buttons on top of the pockets of my jeans, or the zippers of my vests pockets. I guess it's a 2K paintjob. If it was clearcoated with a high-solid clearcoat it would have been less likely to scratch this soon. Still it's just minor scratches and at no point they are so deep the groundcoat comes through.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Well, LTD had it pre-tuned at the factory. The E was way off, almost at a D. The rest of the strings was tuned okay and the intonation was alright too. The only thing I have to whine about is the finishing of the guitar. It looks good, but at some points it looks like it was finished a bit hasty. At the backside of the guitar there are 3 covers made of plastic. At the side one of the covers the manufacturer had sanded out a little too much wood. At one of the roundings at the front side of the body (top right) there is a part of half an inch that wasn't covered by paint too well. A bit ruff it is at that part. We're talking really small things but I think it is something that could have been better. The rest of the paint is good, flat and shiny like a mirror and the darkest of black. Another dislike is that the tremolo arm was getting loose. I couldn't tighten it anymore and after opening the cover at the back of the guitar I saw the little bolt holding the arm was not tightened enough. I know it is something you can fix in 10 minutes but I'm trying to make a good review and will name the con's too. About the rest I can be short: just great. The blackchrome hardware looks very cool, the action is very low but without any buzz, and the SIT brand strings play well too. The little dislikes on the finishing explain my 7, if it wasn't for that it would have been a 9 of 10.
Features — 9
This ESP LTD F350 was made in Indonesia. I have seen pictures on the internet of F350's made in China too. The body is made of Mahogany and the neck is made of Maple. It has a neck-through construction. The fretboard is made of rosewood and had 24 XJ-frets. It has a glossy black finish, in my opinion black looks very good on the body style. But as you know, fingerprints are soon to be seen on a black gloss finish so it has a downside. The bridge is a Floyd Rose Special and it works great. Compared to the licensed Floyd I have in another guitar it feels more solid and I think it will last longer. The nut is a locking nut with 3 bolts. For the pickups ESP chose EMG 81 active humbuckers for bridge and neck position and you can choose between them with a 3-way switch. The tuners are from ESP. They feel really reliable. The F400 has Grover tuners but I don't feel the need for other tuners, these ESP ones are sturdy and look cool. Of course there are a tone and volume knob too, they turn fluidly like they should and don't give a gauss in the signal when turning.