Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: amazon
Sound — 9
I'm using this guitar thru a Peavey 5150 combo that has been retubed with euro tubes standard kit and vet 30 speakers. I play lots of styles within the metal genre and full around with blues wannabe SRV stuff. Stock pups were decent and had a good clean tone that surprised me. With distortion they were lacking in gain for metal. They sound like very clean loud passives that are quite. They seem great for rock and cleans. If your serious about your tone your gonna upgrade, which I did. I put in a Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz I had with a push pull pot, a Orange drop for the tone, and treble bleed on the vol. Which made this guitar go from pretty average to a versatile pretty damn awesome guitar. I can get whatever tone I want for my particular playing styles. This guitar has a somewhat bright sound do to it being bolt on and having a maple neck. But bassy too due to the mahogany body. To me it makes it sound clear and full. You could say warm and crisp. I love it. Stock, I would rate this guitars sound a 6, with the Duncans, a 9 and a half.
Overall Impression — 9
I mostly play metal but this guitar can used for any style with the right set up and pickups. I have been using it to record some ska and reggae songs with the coils split and it sounds very nice. And for metal I can get the Exodus, Slayer, Metallica thrash metal sounds and the newer Lamb Of God type riffs as well. I have been playing ten years now and I know what I like and feels good in my hands. I have owned mostly Ibanez guitars until I got bored and checked out the ltd line up and bought a few guitars. For me ESP makes necks that feel great for my playing style. Not to big like a Schecter not to thin like an Ibanez, just right. Though I like there 24.75" Scale guitars more then the 25.5" Scale guitars. I do plan on buying a few more ESP LTD guitars, the h 1000 and EC 1000. Until then this guitar will do and I highly recommend this to anyone on a budget and/or modders like me, who look for great playability and potential a guitar has. Just make sure you get a good return or exchange policy because you never know what your gonna get quality wise from Indonesia or china made guitars. I could of just been lucky and got one made on a Wednesday. Every ESP LTD guitar I have tried was great though. I give this guitar a 7 overall for stock out of the box and a 9 after the pickup change set up and nut work. It will probably be a perfect guitar once I mod everything.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar feels very sturdy. The neck pocket is very tight there are no small gaps between the neck and body. Hardware looks like it would last but I plan on modding everything on this guitar, locking tuners, Tusq nut, Gotoh tom bridge, string saver tom saddles, strap locks, and whatever else I might wanna try. The money I spend fixing up guitars I could just buy something better but I just love to mod and tinker with stuff.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Out of the box the neck had way to much back bow and the strings were touching the first few frets. After making adjustments to my preferences the guitar still had some issues. The high e and g string nut slot were cut to low. To fix this for now till I get my graphtech nut, I grounded up a black pick to a fine dust mixed it with super glue and used a tooth pick to put some into the low nut slots. After it dried I used fine sand paper to smooth out the nut slots. Now there is no more buzzing at the first fret. As for the rest of the guitars action and finish, the neck is super playable for fast leads, old thrash metal riffs and newer chugging drop d or c stuff, and I'm able to set the strings very low without much buzz. Only buzz I get is on the low e but you can't hear it thru the amp so its no problem. Also this guitar is able to intonate properly there's enough room on the saddles. The finish is very nice for a Indonesian made guitar. Of course nothings perfect and there is some marks on the binding on the underside of the guitar and on the neck. Nothing anyone can notice without looking for it. I'm not to fond of glossy painted necks so I sanded it down with fine sand paper till the gloss was dull. Now the neck is super smooth and makes playing fast more comfortable. I normally wouldn't do such a thing to a nicer expensive guitar but this was only 300 and its a bolt on so no biggie. Everything on the guitar looks brand spanking new and is shiny and clean. And everything works fine, tuners are good but not great, stock pots weren't scratchy, jack was tight, and all screws and hardware were clean no rust.
Features — 8
- Bolt-On Construction - 25.5" Scale - Mahogany Body - Maple Neck - Rosewood Fingerboard - 42mm Standard Nut - Thin U Neck Contour - 24 XJ Frets - Black Nickel Hardware - ESP Tuners - TOM Bridge - ESP ALH-200 (B & N) Active p.u. - Finish: SW (Snow White) - Made in Indonesia