LTD KH-202 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (243 votes)
ESP: LTD KH-202
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Price paid: € 450

Purchased from: Thomann.de

Sound — 9
It suits my playing style well since I play mostly metal at the moment but no doubt it could handle other musical styles as well. I'd suggest switching into some other pickups though because in my opinion the stock pups don't have enough balls and that distinctiveness that I missed a lot in the stock pups. They we're noisy as hell too. So I changed the stock bridge pickup into a Seymour Duncan Blackout and damn! The guitar just burst into flames! =D Haha just joking anyway now the sound much more raw and distinctive in the low end and the highs are just singing..well..high. It's much quieter now too. So I strongly changing the pickups. Not necessarily into what I switched but into whatever you prefer. I'm using this guitar with Bugera 333XL head and Framus 2x12 cab with v30's and I just love the raw crunchy tone I can achieve with it. Though after changing the bridge pup into a SD Blackout it's pretty hard to get a bright clean sound without turning down the guitar volume and picking a bit lighter but hey you just can't get it all can you? :) Besides I have other guitars for the cleans anyway this one is dedicated to metal.

Overall Impression — 9
As I mentioned above at the moment I play mostly metal and this guitar delivers it (with a change of a pickup anyway :) ). I've been playing for 4-5 years. Other gear can be found in my profile. Well I wish that I had asked about the pickups and the FR but other than that I'm good with it. " If it were stolen / lost, would you buy it again or get something else?" Hehe silly question I would never let my guitar just lay there for some junkie to pick it up and sell it to get money for drugs. BUT in the most unlikely situation if it were stolen I'd get my money back from my insurance company, add some money into it and get the KH-602. But as I said I'd never let the events to lead into that some moron would pick it up and leave with it. =) I love the thin neck and fast playability and of course the looks but I hate some of the cheap hardware. I didn't have the chance to compare it nor test it since I bought it straight from the world of internet which is something I will never do again :D (Buying something from the internet without properly testing it that is). I wish it had better stock pickups and better FR but other than that it's great product for the price I think. As a overall rating I'd give it a 8 but oh well that goes to 9 since there isn't 8 as an option :).

Reliability & Durability — 8
I've used this guitar for about a year now and been through 3-4 both inside and outside gigs using it as my main guitar and it's still rocking. But it is not all bed of roses. I've had a few problems with it. For instance the "chrome" finish of the oh so cheap Floyd Rose Special is starting to corrode (lol my palm sweat is so corrosive :D ) and the paint from all the other hardware is slowly starting to wear off (screws etc.) but I guess that is normal when a guitar is in daily use since it is my main guitar. I'm more annoyed of the FR chrome to wear off. But the FR itself seems to last. The guitar is still in great condition there is of course some minor scratches on top and still I'd have to really search them with a proper lighting.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Action and pickups were all setup well so I didn't have to tamper with them and got straight into the playing part. Actually I didn't get to the playing part right away because I just stared there looking at it because it looks so bad ass! The skulls & bones inlays got my attention (and of course being a Kirk Hammett signature :P ). No flaws whatsoever

Features — 9
I bought it in 2009 so I guess is's made in 2008. Taken from Thomann.de: "ESP LTD KH 202 Kirk Hammett signature guitar - bolt-on neck with rosewood fretboard, 24 extra jumbo frets, basswood body, EMG-ESP LH-300 pick-up set and FR tremolo. Inlays: skull & bones. Colour: Black." It also has 3-way switch, chrome hardware, 2 volume and 1 tone knob. Great features. At least when its brand new.

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