LTD FX-400 Review

manufacturer: ESP date: 11/15/2012 category: Electric Guitars
This guitar features a unique, eye-catching design which has helped ESP break out of the mold, the more extreme the better!
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 8.7
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.7
 Features: 8.5
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reviews (3) 19 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.6
LTD FX-400 Reviewed by: SMK626, on november 15, 2012
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Features: 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. // 7

Sound: 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. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 7

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 7

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overall: 9.8
LTD FX-400 Reviewed by: Jodimu, on november 15, 2012
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from:

Features: This guitar is a 2007 Korean-made model and like all other ESP LTD models constructed in Korea the workmanship on this instrument is excellent. The guitar has 22 extra jumbo frets on a 24.75" scale neck. The neck itself is a five piece mahogany/maple set-in Thin-U and it's quite thin and very slick to play. It features an Earvana compensated nut which is an excellent piece of equipment that really helps the guitar stay in tune. The body is a Standard ESP Explorer shape and is made of mahogany with a spalted maple top. The headstock is similar to that of the ESP F-series and is made of the same wood as the body. It really stands out against the Standard Explorer head. It comes with Grover tuners which are of excellent quality and while not locking, they're still very good. The guitar's finish is natural satin and looks absolutely beautiful. Pictures really don't do this guitar's looks justice. The natural features of the wood really leap out at you and the darker staining on some areas of the guitar, particularly the two bands on either horn and on the top and bottom facings, gief it a degree of relief that highlights the area around the bridge and pick-ups. Again, the headstock finish matches that of the body. The bridge is a Tune-o-matic with a black chrome stop tailpiece. One comment I must make about the hardware is that it wasn't as dark as I was expecting and in bright light doesn't look that siginificantly different from Standard chrome hardware. Mind you, it still looks fantastic. The controls are fairly Standard - one volume, one tone and a three-way pick-up selector. Independent volume pots for each pickup would have been nice but it doesn't really make that big a difference. Speaking of the pick-ups, the FX400 features an EMG 81 in the bridge and a 60 in the neck. A In terms of accessories, the guitar only came with a couple of hex keys, which I found odd as most of the hardware seems to be adjusted by screwdrivers rather than hex keys. I'm not complaining in the least about the lack of accessories - for the price I paid, 250-300 less than from my local guitar store, I'm pretty delighted with the guitar itself. Once again I have to emphasise that this guitar is GORGEOUS. I've long had a soft spot for Explorers but this is easily one of the best looking of the bunch. The finish and the headstock really help it stand out from the crowd. // 10

Sound: As you'd expect from active EMGs, they produce superb metal tones but the 60 in the neck really surprised with some of the cleans it can put out. One of my main worries about going for a guitar with stock EMGs was that I'd end up with something good for metal and nothing else. Happily I can report that this is not the case. The EMG is great for blues and passable on pretty much everything else. Granted, some of the benefits of the EMGs are lost when playing through a solid-state amp (although it still sounds great through my Microcube for practicing) but connect it to a decent tube amp and watch it Shine. Something else that really surprised me is how quiet the guitar is! I've just moved from a Mexican Strat and the EMGs are so quiet it's almost unnerving! No single-coil hum, no odd buzzing. Even compared to other humbuckers they're deathly silent. I've found that this really helps when playing Ultra high-gain metal (Black Metal in my case) as each note rings out clear and true and and no unwanted noise is picked up. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action needed to be slightly raised to get rid of some irritating fret buzz on the lower E string and the bridge pickup needed to be lowered ever-so slightly but these two jobs took less than a minute combined. The pick-up selector is a little too sensitive when in the neck position and a slight knock can center it or push it to the bridge but with care this doesn't happen. Apart from that, it was set up perfectly out of the box and the hardware and finish were flawless. I've seen a lot of complaints about Explorers in general that they tend to nosedive but so far I haven't seen any real evidence for this. Perhaps I'm compensating unconciously but I can't see the axe taking any dramatic dives for the floor any time soon. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I'm very much looking forward to playing this guitar Live and I can see no reason why it wouldn't stand up to gig after gig. I would always come with a backup regardless of what my Live guitar was but in the event that no backup was available I'm sure the FX400 would handle the job admirably. The guitar is solid as hell and the finish doesn't seem like it will be too easily damaged by the odd knock or bump. The strap buttons are great and I'm confident enough in them not to buy strap-locks for now. // 10

Overall Impression: I mostly play metal of various sorts (Black, Folk, Power, Thrash, Death) as well as some blues, raggae and funk and this guitar is an excellent match for the metal and blues and does the job well enough on the other two. If I was a serious raggae or funk guitarist I'd probably opt for something else but as it is this guitar suits my needs perfectly. I've been playing on and off for about 5 years and this is my first foray into the world of what I'd consider 'expensive' instruments. If it were stolen or lost I can most certainly see myself buying the same guitar again, unless the cash was readily available for an ESP Explorer. My favourite things about this guitar are it's looks, tone and it's playability. It feels like such a massive step up from my old Strat. I suppose what I like the most is how unique it looks - as I mentioned ealier, the headstock and finish really make it stand out and these were the determining factors in my purchase really. I weighed up a Jackson DKMGT (dismissed because I didn't like the feel of it), a Schecter Hellraiser (incredibly difficult to get in Britain), an Ibanez VBT700 (decided I didn't want a V right now), various ESP LTD EC 400s and 500s (prefered the feel of the Explorer) and the ESP Viper 400/500 (the body shape looked weird with the the big lump on the Standard SG shape). I was about to go for an EX400 in black when I saw the FX400. I fell in love with it's looks instantly and knew I HAD to have it! Overall I am incredibly pleased with it and am looking forward to many years of playing with it. If there was one thing I'd ask for it's be an extra two frets, bringing it up to 24, but it really isn't that big a deal as I mostly play rythym guitar. // 10

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overall: 9.3
LTD FX-400 Reviewed by: Kidsune, on november 15, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1140

Purchased from: Guitar World

Sound: I play lots of metal and fast riffage, and the neck of this guitar is absolutely superb for just that. The neck is very thin and fast, so soloing is a breeze. At the moment I've got it hooked up to a DigiTech Death Metal Pedal, and through to a Hues & Kettner 75W Amp, and it sounds amazing turned up, though that has been rare as of late (stupid apartment living). It's sound is very crisp and rich, thanks to the wonderful EMG on the neck, and very smooth and full with the bridge pickup. There's no noise, it's Artificial harmonics are crazygood, and I love making sound effects with it (a-la Dragonforce)and it's an overall very fun guitar to play. It's shape is great to play while standing, though playing while seated can be cumbersome for some people. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Right from the factory, this guitar was built exceptionally well, the pickups were perfect, the body was very clean and smooth, no rough edges, the action was spot on, absolutely no flaws. Exactly what I'd expect from a top-level brand like ESP. The bridge seems accurately made, as does the top and head. The electronics seem to be in good working order. So far I haven't had a single problem, having the guitar for just over a year now. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have no doubt that the FX-400 will perform exceptionally well on stage, the thrashing they have endured so far has proved that somewhat. It's very sturdy, the strap buttons are immovable, overall very dependable, so much so that I don't think I'd need a second guitar on stage (nor would I be able to afford one now). The semi-gloss finish on it is very smooth and shiny, but not so shiny that it's distracting, which is good, otherwise it would probably take away from the magnificent wood top. It doesn't seem very worn as of yet, however only time will tell if it is as long-lasting as I hope. // 9

Overall Impression: A must try for ESP enthusiasts, this guitar is great, especially compared to my old gear (Warlock) I've been playing guitar for about 6 years now, and this is by far my favorite guitar I've ever played by a long shot. If only it had an original Floyd Rose. Not much else I have to say. Well, if you ever see this guitar in a shop, I highly recommend you give it a test jam. I assure you'll be very impressed. This has been a review from your friendly fret-flying fox. // 9

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