LTD H-308 Review

manufacturer: ESP date: 11/15/2012 category: Electric Guitars
ESP: LTD H-308
This is a guitar that makes me feel excited to play it. That's the best quality to look for in a guitar; if your heart skips a beat when you pick it up, take it home. If you're into progressive metal or djent then you should at the very least play this guitar.
 Sound: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
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reviews (2) pictures (1) 43 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
LTD H-308 Reviewed by: ticklemeemo, on november 15, 2012
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 630

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: Before I get started reviewing, let me get this out of the way. This guitar is so stunningly sexy it is ridiculous. I'm so happy after purchasing it, absolutely no regrets; despite the fact that I sold two old guitars and an amp to get it. My guitar is a 2011 model, of course, that came from the factory to my local Guitar Center. They had it on display at the very front of the store, but it was only there for a day before I bought it. Mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. This makes for an interesting combination; the maple neck gives notes extra spring which takes away some of the muddy-ness that I found in the Schecter C-8. It's pretty bare on extra features, with only EMG 808s, a 3-way pickup selector, and master tone and volume knobs, but it makes up for this in sheer playability and tone. Compared to the C-8 (I wasn't able to try any of the Ibanez 8-string models) the extra neck cutout and maple neck give easier access to the higher frets of the low strings, and extra pop to the notes all the way down the fretboard. While the C-8 has locking tuners, which are a huge factor with 8-strings, the H-308 sounds so much better. Some people say that the 25.5" scale is too short, but I don't have any problem with it. Play it and you won't notice a problem. The body is a pretty general super-strat type, blacked-out completely. Black satin finish, matte black hardware, and dark-colored square inlays on the frets. The only colors are the pearloid binding and LTD logo on the headstock. The binding looks almost camouflage, which is odd, but I like it. // 8

Sound: I play djent. Mostly progressive metal and jazz, but I also play blues a fair bit. This guitar is definitely not suited for blues, but it still pulls a decent bluesy tone from the bridge pickup. I tune G-B-E-A-D-G-B-E, and I like the tone I get. I run this through a Peavey XXX and a 4x12 oversized B-52 cab, personally. I ran it through a Peavey 6505+ and the 60 watt Vypyr, Fender Twin, Vox AC15, Marshall 1987X, and a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier at the store. I can't say it sounded anything less that superb on any of them, even the Vypyr. Every note is articulate, on all frets, cleans are full and jazzy, distorted tones are clean and chords ring out clearly. The EMG 808s are great pickups. The only thing I can really mark it down on is that it's best suited to metal and jazz. Rock, country, and other styles are possible, just not practical. And there are other guitars better suited to those styles. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set-up by the Guitar Center tech, because it was a main display model. I know the guy at my store, and he does a great job. Legato playing and tapping are just easier on this guitar. The hardware seems stable, the knobs turn smoothly and don't crackle. The finish seems to be very thick, and since it's matte it won't show scratches or scuff marks like some of my other guitars. I didn't need to play around with anything, because it was set up perfectly when I bought it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I haven't played a show with this guitar yet, I just got it, but it feels nigh indestructible. I doubt I'll have any problems with the body or hardware. I've never had a set-through neck guitar before, but I like it a lot. I have sustain for days, easy access, articulation, and all-around great tone. I've only owned it for about a week, so I can't say anything about long-term reliability, but it feels even more solid than my old Ibanez RG, and those things are tanks. // 9

Overall Impression: I know I sound like a 12-year old with his first guitar in this review, but it just really is a great guitar. I've never walked into a store and plopped down $700 after playing a guitar for 30 minutes. This is a guitar that makes me feel excited to play it. That's the best quality to look for in a guitar; if your heart skips a beat when you pick it up, take it home. All of my friends are jealous, and I'm the only person in my area with an 8-string. If you're into progressive metal or djent bands like: Born Of Osiris, Animals As Leaders, Scale The Summit, TesseracT, Periphery, Uneven Structure, The Contortionist, etc. then you should at the very least play this guitar. // 10

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overall: 8.6
LTD H-308 Reviewed by: PrimitiveGuitar, on november 15, 2012
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1500

Purchased from: Rockshop

Features: 2012 edition, made in China. I brought this guitar 1 day after it had been brought into the shop. 24 XJ frets 25.5" scale. Set-Thru Construction. Mahogany Body, maple Neck, rosewood Fingerboard. 54mm Standard Nut. ESP Tuners, non locking. Fixed Bridge. EMG 808 active pickups. Neck and bridge. Black Satin Finish, Black Satin Hardware. Master Volume, 3-Way Switch, master Tone, sadly no coil tap Accessibility to battery at the back could be a bit easier as you have to take two screws out on the back to be able to get it out. But I suppose it could be a lot worse (like on some Agile guitars you have to remove the whole back plate to change it, imagine doing that during a gig!) I found this Guitar to be very easy to play. I have only ever played 6 string guitars before and I was worried that I would not be able to get used to the neck of an 8 string. This guitar made that seem very easy as it has a very thin contour you shaped neck. It has a very nice cutaway for access to the higher frets. This is one of the main reasons that I brought it over other brands and models that I played. I played a Schecter Damien Elite 8 and the access to higher frets was terrible due to the bolt on neck, where as this guitar has a very easy to play set through neck I'm giving this an 9/10 because I really like the neck and the beautiful finish of the guitar. The stock pickups are decent but I want to replace them as they don't suit my tone. // 9

Sound: I run this through a Peavey 6505, DigiTech Bad Monkey tube overdrive, Boss Equalizer GE-7 and I run the amps distortion. This only problem with this is that a noise gate is necessary but this is in no way a fault of the pickups. I play a lot of progressive and djent as well as jazz, blues and almost anything else. The pickups are best suited for metal and the front pickup can give a real warm fresh bluesy sound. However the pickups lack the attack to give that real defined Djent sound. However that may also be due to my setup so don't be put off by this. The pickups take the low F# very well and I have had this tuned to a double drop D and it still sounded reasonably good. Good pickups and wood for a good sound and sustain. However there are some other pickups that I would much prefer on this guitar, like 8 string Duncan Blackouts. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The paint job is Pretty much perfect except for a few hardly noticeable bumps under the paint on the back. The binding looks SUPERB. Reasonably well set up. Could do with a higher gauge of strings, bridge is set up well but the frets buzz in a few places possibly due to some frets needing to be filed more? But that may just be because of the low gauge of strings (I was not told the gauge they came with or the brand). 7/10, well set up but low string gauge and minimal fret buzz an some places. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I haven't had this guitar for very long but the hardware seems really solid. The Tuning pegs hold the strings in tune really well and the volume and tone knobs are smooth as. I would gig this guitar very happily as it seems to be a very reliable guitar (as long as you change the battery for the active pickups before the gig) the only thing I would do to this guitar to gig it would be to get strap locks for it. Very reliable. // 9

Overall Impression: I have been playing for about 5 years now playing anything from Jazz to djent and anything in between and this guitar perfectly suits what I want to do for the price I wanted to pay. The other guitars I own are; An ESP HORIZON, and the neck shapes of these guitars really match so it doesn't take much to get used to playing between them. I also have a Jackson Dinky, an Ibanez AEG8E (electric acoustic). Out of all my guitars I would rate this right up there with my $3000 dollar ESP Horizon just because I love having a guitar with the extra strings that is still so easy to play. If this guitar was stolen or lost, I would die inside, then go straight back to the shop and buy another one. It is such a nice looking guitar and for an 8 string it plays so easily, the neck is my favourite feature by far. I also played an Ibanez RG8, Damien Elite 8 and the LTD SC-208. The stock pickups on the Ibanez RG8 were terrible and had a very muddy unclear tone. The Damien Elite 8 sounded really great but I couldn't stand the neck as the sound the shape hard to play and it had a huge bolt on neck that really got in the way, which I found disappointing as it was more expensive then the LTD 308. The LTD SC208 was a very cheap guitar (about $800 NZD) for that price it sounded good but the wood was cheap (basswood) and the hardware was cheap (the tone and volume knobs would seize up) However if someone was looking for a cheap 8 string I would recommend the LTD SC208. IF ANYONE IS WANTING TO BREAK THE SIX STRING BARRIER OR GO UP TO AN EIGHT FROM A SEVEN I DEFIANTLY RECOMMEND THE LTD H-308, IT IS A TRULY AWESOME GUITAR. Thanks for reading. Feel free to rate and ask questions. // 10

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