LTD KH-202 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (243 votes)

Price paid: $ 469.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 8
I'm a metallica fan until I die. Since begining to listen at 8, I've bought every album and DVD they've put out and seen them live. My favorite tone over the long career would be Kirk's smooth leads on display in S&M. I keep this baby tuned Eb, as this allows for the widest variety of Metallica covers. I use a Crate Stealth GT50 (Celestion Vintage 30 equiped combo). I replaced the pu's with kirk's go to setup (EMG 81/60) and there is a night/day difference. The sound of this guitar, variety, cleans, smooth leads, and chugging rhythm's are a 9 with the EMG's, but only a 6-7 with the stock pu's. The tone is pretty dry, lifeless with the stock pu's. With the EMG's its a smooth and creamy, yet cutting and nasty. You can pull off any metal, and any clean tones you want with this. ACDC and classic rock fans look elsewhere.

Overall Impression — 9
This guitar is a perfect match for my playing style and musical tastes. I wished the guitar came with kirk's EMG 81/60's, but coming in at under $500 you can't have everything. Use the money you saved on some overpriced guitar and make this thing SCREAM. The foundation is here for your Metallica dream tone and vibe. 4 years playing, lifetime of listening (rock, metal), and will be comparing the KH-202 to all the guitars i've owned. This includes ('06 Gibson SG, '93 Epiphone LP STD +top, '07 Ibanez RG120, '08 Jackson RR3, '08 Epiphone Goth LP, '99 Gibson Explorer). This is my favorite, as well as my go-to guitar. Upgrade the electronics and this one compares favorably to any guitar on the market. *On my 1-10 scale a perfect 10 is something that either doesn't exist, or I haven't played yet*

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will absolutely withstand live playing. The hardware will last a lifetime if cared for properly. The strap buttons are excellent, and won't need replacing anytime soon. I would not, under any circumstances gig without a backup, in particular with a Floyd Rose guitar. The tuning sacrifices for dips and dives make that impossible. Outstanding, and compares rather well to the much more expensive Jackson RR3 floyd system.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The factory setup was absolutely perfect. I like my action as low as possible, but not so as to lose tone/sustain from fret buzz. The pickups came perfectly setup and adjusted. The fretboard, neck and body of this guitar were absolutely perfect. Frets were dressed and leveled appropriately, there were zero finish flaws, and everything was secured properly. The floyd required no adjustments, which is quite surprising for any floyd, let alone at this price range. For this guitar to come as perfectly setup as it did, that is either a miracle or a testament to the quality of the LTD brand. Absolutely perfect.

Features — 8
2009 Model, made in China. Thin, 24 XJ fret maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. Black superstrat basswood body with all black-chrome hardware. Double-locking Floyd Rose Special bridge, with passive ESP-LH301 humbuckers, controlled by two volume/one tone knob, and a 3-way switch. The tuners are a non-locking, ESP brand. A kit of essential tools was included (allen keys, etc.) The features of this guitar aren't far out there (no coil-splitting, passive electronics), but the necessities are all there and work great. I love the two 3 in-line control knob configuration. Features are fairly Standard for this price range.

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