Price paid: $ 180
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 9
My music style consists of anything from Slipknot --> TDWP --> BFMV --> Lamb Of God --> The Doors. So really, its an all around stlye of music for me. As for the guitar... It will play ANY genre of rock / Hard Rock you want it to. I hope that you won't decide to play COUNTRY with it, as its most likley not suited for that. I am using a Peavey Multi-Effects Amp. I also use a Danelectro "Cool Cat" distortion pedal as well as a "Cool Cat" tremolo pedal. Along with those 2, I also have a red phasel Dunlop Crybaby that I use for little effects here and there. I also use a DigiTech Whammy pedal. It is noisy if you MAKE it noisy. Meaning, if you turn it up loud, its gonna be noisy. It does have a little bit of feedback issues / static sound issues, but that's only on certain settings. It has a rich / full sound all the way around. The sound it creats is really bright for how cheap this guitar is. This guitar can make a MULTITUDE of sounds! I gave teh Sound a 9 because its not exactly Les Paul / Ibanez GEM quality sound, but extreamly close to it.
Overall Impression — 9
Like I said earlier, I play anything from Slipknot to BFMV to EVH to Lamb Of God to you name it (Besides country!) music types. As for the matching, its a GREAT match for my playing style. That beining solos / lead playing. I have been playing for around 3 years now. I am self taught and have got gigs at local bars and the local bowling alley every now and then. Other gear I own include a RP-50 DigiTech Multi Effects pedal used as a cheap tuner. Nope, I did all my research and came up with what guitar to buy. Not dissapointed with my selection at ALL! I probably wouldn't buy another one, I'd probably spend a little more and get a better ESP, but if it got stolen, my gold coverage from Musician's Friend would cover it (thanks guys!). What I love about this product is the PRICE! I got mine for $150. I also love the Floyd Rose special Tremolo that came with it. That was a nice add on. What I hate about it is well, nothing. My favorite feature would probably be the Floyd Rose, other then that, the XJ frets would be a close 2nd. I compared it to high end Guitars like a Kirk Hammet Signature guitar, A Slash Style Les Paul, and even my dream guitar, the Ibanez GEM. And to be honest, its like they say: "You get what you pay for". What I wish it had would be some better pickups, better tuning knowbs, and a killswitch so you don't have to mess up your "tone" knob.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Yes, this guitar has and I'm sure WILL stand more live playing. The only thing is that I put a Killswitch in mine like buckethead and messed up (but then fixed) my internals. The hardware does seem like it will last. I've had this guitar for 2 years now and all it needs is a new string change every 6 months or so to be fresh and have good quality sound. The strap buttons are EXTREAMLY solid. I have basicly been bouncing around on stage with it and never once did it budge. So its all good there. Most of the time you can depend on it. There was this one time I was doing a demonstration for my BoyScout troop and hte whammy bar came loose about half way through and then the pickups / input jack faltered a bit. You should ALWAYS bring a back-up guitar to gigs no matter how good / how terrible you are. This finish is good enough to last, every now and then a good wipe with a most paper towel is good to get the dust off. As for it wearing off with lots of playing? No, it hasn't. I have ate Chicken Wings and then played it almost right after with slightly greasy hands but still played fine and hasn't warn off yet.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was actually well set up at the factory. The action was just right for when I was starting to learn to play guitar, but was WAY to low for Drop A songs like slipknot songs. While on the subject of the action, its VERY SENSATIVE! I eventually hardtailed my action so I could change tunings easily without having to adjust screws and spring tension. But if your only going to play songs that varry a few root notes from Standard, you shouldn't have to adjust. When I went into C tuning, I had to loosen the screws holding the FR so it would float, but that's about it. The pickups were well adjusted and do NOT need adjusting. Well, maybe if your a pro tuff kid guitarist its not, but for a simple 15 year old like me, its fine. Everything was rounted fine and the top was bookmatched. The only flaw of the guitar was the pickup selector toggle switch. The plastic cover came off very easily. I gave the Action, Fit and Finish an 8 because its good for the money, but once again, not like a Good Les Paul / Ibanez GEM...
Features — 8
This guitar has some GREAT features and some not so great features (just like any other guitar!). This is a list of all the features from Musician's Friend: - Basswood Body - Bolt-on Maple Neck - 25.5" Scale - Rosewood Fingerboard - 42mm Standard Nut - Thin U Neck Contour - 24 XJ Frets - ESP LH-150 Pickups - Master Volume, Tone and 3-way Toggle - Chrome Hardware - ESP Tuners - Floyd Rose Special Bridge I give the features an 8 because they could make some of the items like the pickup selector a little more sturdy.