LTD H-500 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.7 (15 votes)
ESP: LTD H-500
2

Price paid: $ 430

Purchased from: SamAsh.com

Sound — 9
Ah, the sound. Out of the box, it was intonated, and barely out of tune [some notes had went a bit south, but not far]. I play metal, and the Custom 5/Jazz N pickup configuration is great. The 5 way Switch gives lots of great tone options, allowing for lots of creativity/variety, and the vol/tone controls are also quite useful; they clean up great, while the tone knob doesn't get muddy at the lowest setting. I use this guitar with A) Peavey Rockmaster 120w head that I use with a Rocktron Silver Dragon or Zombie, or B) Ashdown Fallen Angel 60 with either a Boss SD-1 or DOD 250 and an ART 400 series 15 band EQ. The sound is heavy and full, but not muddy. Setting it right and you get quite a cutting tone. Adjusting the pickups and polepieces helps out quite a bit, and if you are into it, you could Switch the Alnico 5 in the Custom 5 with an Alnico 8, making it what the SD forums user group call a "Custom 8". I give it a 9 for having to adjust the pickups, but that's to be expected. [mainly I didn't want every category to be 10].

Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing 7 years and have quite a bit of gear. The past six months, I've gotten a Rocktron Zombie, an LTD FX260SM, this LTD H-500, a Road 4X12" cab, and an Ashdown Fallen Angel 60. Quite a steal for $910 total. If it were stolen or lost, this is definitely something I'd look for in another guitar. Maybe I'd bite the extra $2-300, and buy the H-400, which I think is the new H-500. My favorite feature is that this guitar was made. It's perfect for soloing, and would be insane in a studio. I absolutely love it. I compared it to quite a few other guitars, mainly an MH-250, and obviously it doesn't even compare, at all. I chose this one because everything is much better, and about the same price due to it being on closeout. The only thing I wish it had was a Tone Pros bridge, but this thing intonated perfectly with the earvana, so whatever.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar seems well built, but I think I'd save it for the studio, because it sounds great. I wouldn't want it to get destroyed, but with an ESP case, it should be solid. The hardware seems nice, and the strap buttons seem solid. I am thinking about getting DiMarzio straps for all of my guitars, though. I could depend on it and use it without a backup, but again, I wouldn't want to risk it. I'd probably handle the guitar myself.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Well, all LTD's are sent out with the lowest action they can get [which is pretty low]. This way, they are slightly buzzy [as this sort of action is expected], but if you adjusted the truss rod, and the bridge, etc., the guitar would probably be buzz-free. The pickups were well adjusted for stock, but I did further tuning of the pickup on a clean channel. Why clean? I figured a nice powerful tone on the clean channel would give me a 'clean slate' [no pun intended] to 'tune' the pickups. Anyways, the bridge, top etc were all properly routed/bookmatched, etc. The guitar was impressive out of the box. I gave a 9 because if you don't like ANY fret buzz, well, you'll have to set it up, but most of LTD's customers probably wouldn't do much adjustment from factory.

Features — 10
It was made in 2007 as the first run for the 2008 specs in Korea. It is a 24 fret 25.5" scale maple neck with a thin contour, and rosewood fretboard. The top is a flame maple top, mahogany body, Earvana nut and Grover tuners. The body style is reminiscent of an Ibanez S series superstrat, but the back doesn't thin out to almost nothing. It's a very lightweight guitar, but feels very solid as well. It has a tune-o-matic bridge, 1 vol, 1 tone, Seymour Duncan SH-14 Custom 5 and SH-2N Jazz pickups, and 5 way super-Switch. Great options for the price, considering they are real Seymour pickups and grover tuners.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Serjem
    looks like a fine guitar.. tho like i mention everytime i've never got to play an esp (im a lefty, damn) but compared to other guitars in the same price range it seems to be great.
    HeavyMetalHokie
    does it come stock with the sh-5 custom pickups? ive never seen that paired with the jazz on a stock ltd
    stephen_rettie
    Tyler Durden wrote: how is this different from the MH series
    mh series has an FR, m=fr h=carved top.
    metalupurazz
    mh guitar is that it has the body of an h model and the headstock of an m model and some come with floyd rose not all tho
    Blanco
    i remember this debate being on a mh review too. MH is the cross over between the M series and H series, basically M series neck with H body. The MH-NT is the non-trem verision. FR is the floyd rose version. Seriously debated getting one of these to go with my mh-1000 they feel and play exactly the same. I dont like the new headstocks though. Looks like they just cut the top of at random angles. The old "tear drop" style headstock was sooo nice they should have just kept it.
    Woodkha'ak
    Brave Moonlight wrote: my MH does not have a floyd rose. if that's what you mean by FR :/ Also, Do like this guitar.
    That would be because you have a MH-NT the NT means Non-Trem.
    strat0blaster
    Woodkha'ak wrote: Brave Moonlight wrote: my MH does not have a floyd rose. if that's what you mean by FR :/ Also, Do like this guitar. That would be because you have a MH-NT the NT means Non-Trem.
    MH1000 cherry quilted finish with SD pickups JB/59 set and no Floyd Rose.
    pmdorn
    I own the flametop and have just purchased locking Grover tuners to swap out the standard Grovers...not a huge improvement just a minor change. Has anyone else made any mods to this guitar?
    pmdorn
    pmdorn wrote: I own the flametop and have just purchased locking Grover tuners to swap out the standard Grovers...not a huge improvement just a minor change. Has anyone else made any mods to this guitar?
    Just to clarify, I was referring to the LTD H-500