Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
EMGS. People tell me you only hear the pickups, not the guitar. I have no idea what that means, but if that is the case, then I like it. Its quite when it needs to be and loud when it doesn't. I no longer have to go Overdrive on the noise suppressor. EMGs are made for metal, but it certainly doesn't sound like crap in other genres. I won't lie, I listen to a lot of Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, Dream Theater and a lot of other shredders, and one thing they all have in common is that they all use DiMarzios. But hey, Children of Bodom, Judas Priest, Metallica, MAB, Reb Beach, Slayer, Zakk Wylde, Syu and a whole lot of others use EMGs. What does that tell you? Stating one brand of EMGS is better than another is pointless. Personally, I find the favoritism of a particular type of pickup is something acquired. I like the sound of the guitar, since you don't really need a lot of distortion to make it sound heavy. It may only have 3 configurations, but I found each one radically different from the other. In other words, this guitar can be versatile if it wants. Don't believe me? Very well, pick up one and hear for yourself. Oh, I was running it through a few amps. It sounds on anything really, even my 15 watt Behringer V-Tone amp. On Mesa Boogie Dual Rectafier, it sounds clear and heavy.
Overall Impression — 10
Okay, you caught me... I have less than 4 years under my belt. BUT! At my defense, I practice 3-8 hours a day, and I have aspirations to make it BIG! I have played live a few times, but only at school talent shows. I just graduated, and I am in college now, so I'll have more time for my music. I owned a Mexi Fat Strat before this, which is an awesome beginner/intermediate instrument. If this were lost, I will only get something better than this...maybe an Ibanez Prestige or something. Though I would recommend this to anyone looking to play metal or play guitar seriously. There is nothing more I wish this thing had, except maybe a "made in usa" stamp to shut up the elitist. Don't know much about the new JH-600s, but this wone with the OFR and pure black hardware is unbeatable. Search EBAY!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Straps, perhaps small? If you want to do crazy antics like Iron Maiden or Adam D(Killswitch Engage), get straplocks. I'm not one who does crazy antics, but if I ever plan to, I think it is best to get strap locks. Again, this guitar(and other ESPs) are built like tanks. Eagle Inlays! Nazi Germany! Tanks! I think you shouldn't worry about backups. This thing is built to last.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought it used, and everything was fine. The action is something I rarely notice, but I guess its fine. The guys at Guitar Center Carle Place did a good job fixing it up. Honestly, ESP's upper-range models are known for there good set-ups, but since this guitar is discontinued, I can't say that for sure. For me, It felt new.
Features — 10
This work of ART was forged before the era of JH-600 with Kahlers, before ESP started using black nickel, and before they got rid of the eagle inlays because some people thought it was "too nazi." Basically, this was made during the peak years of the JH-600(pre 2007?) before ESP realized that their LTD line was dominating their original line. This was made in Korea, but honestly, it doesn't matter because the guys in Korea are just as good(possibly better) than their Japanese brethren. Keep in mind, Jackson's "lower end" models are built in Japan, so don't bother me with that "japan is better than _____" bullcrap because "better" is simply subjective. This came with Original Floyd Rose, 24 large frets, ebony fretboard, neck-thru construction, mother of pearl eagle inlays, EMG 81 & 85 pickups, ESP tuners, awesome binding, and pitch black painting. It looks simply beautiful, and the LTD label does not smear it at all. Personally, I like the name "LTD" over "ESP." It sounds more metal and industrial to me. Not that I listen to industrial metal. Compare the looks of this guitar to Jackson SL2H and it is on par. But from what I observed, LTDs are known for superior quality in terms of fretting and binding compared to Jacksons & ESPs. All in all, this guitar looks and feel professional. Very comforatable, a bit heavy, but easy mobility.