Price paid: $ 260
Purchased from: Ebay (used, but in mint condition)
Sound — 9
I play a little bit of everything from classic rock (Stones, Zeppelin, Who) all the way to modern thrash and death metal bands. All in all, this guitar sounds good. Sustain is nice, and doesn't buzz or hum or make too much noise, depending how much gain you have in your amp. I normally run it through an MXR fullbore distortion, and it sound pretty sweet. The neck pickup is nice and warm for clean tones, and works well. On heavy distortion, it gets a little muddy/unclear. Now, the neck pickup is my favorite. It's got a nice treble-y sound to it on clean (think Metallica's "Harvester of Sorrow") and through the pedal into the amp, it shines. Lots of bite, and pinch harmonics sound good. They could be a little hotter, but for what they are they do a good job. It's quite versatile, and can play Country to Rock to Metal and more.
Overall Impression — 9
For my music, this is a good guitar. I've been playing for 3.5 years, and it plays very well. Compared to my more expensive instruments, it is lacking in some areas but if you're looking for a great metal guitar under $300, this is a good pick. The only cons I can think of are the cheap tuners, and the neck pickup. I may replace those eventually. I love the way it looks, and also how it plays (strung up with .11-.50s). I wish I would've gotten the Floyd Rose option on this guitar ($50 more) but that's no big deal. If it were lost, I'd definitely get another. I would also recommend this product, either as a beginners or a budget guitar for the experienced player.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar could easily gig. Maybe not tour, but it'll stand up to some good show use. The hardware is decent, but the tuners will need to be replaced. They fall out of tune too easily. Strap buttons come loose every now and then, but tighten the screw back and you'll be good for another month and a half or so. The body is fairly light, so it's comfortable to wear on a strap. Finish is really nice, actually, and doesn't seem to wear that much at all. Points to LTD for that.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar's setup is alright, some of the lower frets do tend to buzz (not much, though). I can't remember how the pickups were adjusted, but I fooled around adjusting their height 'till it sounded good to me. The neck is very nice, it's similar to a Stratocaster neck in thickness, but much more flattened out that the Strat. The frets are HUGE. Big tall frets, it's no wonder they're called X-tra Jumbo. I like them, personally. It plays well, though it's somewhat difficult to reach the higher frets on the low E & A strings (but I can't see why you'd need to play those frets on those strings anyway). All in all, it's a good playing machine.
Features — 8
Guitar was made in Indonesia, quite recently (not sure of the year). It has a 24 fret neck, moderately thin, with extra jumbo frets on a rosewood fretboard with plastic Dot inlays. The body is basswood, and the neck is maple, I believe. It's got quite an attention-grabbing body style, hard to describe because it's so unique. It has a chromed tune-o-matic bridge, string-thru body, and two passive ESP LH-150 humbuckers. One volume, one tone knob and a 3-way selector switch. Tuners are Standard ESP made, and have a tendency to go out of tune after heavy play. Nothing really fancy or expensive, but for a budget guitar, it's pretty well-equipped.