Sound — 8
It doesnt't have a bad sound at all. The 60 pulls a more bluely, melodic tone while the 81 delivers a more intense sound with a good amount of bite to it. I played this one out of my Peavey Triple XXX. As most all ESP (or LTD in this case) guitars I've played, this one was pretty noiseless. On clean it can played very smooth with a very rich sound, and distorted is can deliver a sound with, as I said earlier, a good amount of bite, as well as warmth, as well as smooth harmonics. The down side to the tone is the sustain is extremely weak. Either that or Ibanez spoiled me when it comes to sustain. Yet it does work well enough when it comes to the music I play which is mostly metal, with blues, classical, classic rock and them some in between.
Overall Impression — 7
For being a metal guitarist, it doesnt't match me too well. I play lots of lead and this doesnt't offer that lead room as much with the 22 XJ frets on a Set-Neck. I prefer 24 XJ neck-thru. If this were stolen or lost, I would not buy another, in fact, I would just save up for a ESP. I love the look with the whole natural wood along with it's maple top giving it such a nice aged look. I hate the fact that it has no lockings, is unbalenced, and isint that much of a lead guitar. Comparing this to the other ESP/LTDs I got, which was the LTD V-500, and the ESP Eclipse-II, this is by far, my least favorite. It is a interesting touch, but just does not work for me. If your a metal rhythm player, don't care about unbalencedness, and want a Explorer shape guitar, by all means, go for this guitar! Yet for all the lead players out there or people like me Who hate an unbalenced feel stay away. This guitar will not please you in anyway other then looks.
Reliability & Durability — 9
ESP makes durable guitars. I know that for sure due to the fact that I've played a couple of them Live and have had my ESP LTD EC-1000 for a few years and it has not ever given out on me. This guitar, I'm pretty sure will stand Live playing. The hardware seems like it will last but possible fade back to it's chrome finish. The strap buttons and solid, just unbalanced. I feel I can depending it but at a gig, I wouldn't even use it as a backup because I personally HATE using unbalenced guitars Live. The finish seems unnoticeable. You can't really tell there is a finish there. So even if it does where you'll never notice so there is not much I can say there. Throughout, I'm if you don't mind unbalenced guitars, that it will work Live, no problem.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
As usual, ESP gave me some problems with factory set-up. I always get this from the LTD's but never the ESP's. ESP are perfect guitars. Back onto the problem, the action straight from the factory had a slight overbow. Both that and the bridge had to be adjusted to get rid of the fret static. The neck pickup was slightly too low when adjusted. Yet the great thing I find about ESP LTD models is there always routed properly, which means, none of the guitar shocking me crap. The finish itself came with no visible flaws on the finish at all. This is typical of most LTD's yet gets annoying, it's part of the reason why I switched to ESP's now.
Features — 7
This is one of the last guitars my uncle gave me when he went on his purchase-spree of the new ESP Models. He gave me this one along with a few others. This is of course, a newer 2007 Model, made in Korea. It is a interesting mix of the EX series with a more natural look, along with F headstock, and that same EMG tone. First off, it has 24.75" 5 peice mahogany/maple set-neck with 22 XJ frets on a rosewood fingerboard, abalone dot inlay, topped with a Earvanna Compensated nut. The headstock is the one off the F series with Grover tuners. The body is the EX shape (a Explorer with sharper edges), made of mahogany wood with a maple spalted maple top with a natural satin finish that really shows the beauty of the wood (or at least I think so). The wood itself looks very natural yet aged in a way. The hardware include a 2 peice Tune-o-matic bridge with a black nickle color. It features Active EMG 81(B)/60(N) pickups controlled by a toggle, volume knob, and tone knob. The look is very interesting, with a huge natural touch on it and, in my own opinion, it has a enhanced look with the F series headstock. It came with the basic tools to adjust it along with a little ESP sticker (sticker was from my uncle though). It offers as much as your average guitar and handles well, yet has this annoying unbalenced feel to it. The fact that it features no locking what-so-ever may bug many, including me.