LTD KH-602 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (189 votes)

Price paid: $ 760

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Sound — 9
It sounds like every other guitar that has active EMGs. EMGs are a one-trick pony, but it's a really GOOD trick. So if that's the sound you're going for the sound is perfect. If you prefer a Vintage or "warmer" sound, then these pups aren't for you. It annoys me that people give poor sound reviews because they don't like the active sound. If you've never heard them before, make sure you hear a set before buying because it might not be your cup of tea. I personally love the sound. The 60 in the neck actually give a really good clean tone if you set your amp up right. But these are mainly for metal, so don't buy this guitar to play classic rock then complain that it sounds too cold.

Overall Impression — 10
I play all kinds of music, but I bought this guitar specifically for metal and it does a GREAT job at it. I use my other guitars for lighter stuff. If you want a versatile guitar for playing all styles, I wouldn't recommend this. But if you want a guitar dedicated to shredding, then this is it. I've been playing for about 20 years and this is the best shred guitar I've ever played. In fact, I played a KH-2 in the late 90's and I think this one is nicer. Don't let the "LTD" thing fool you... This is a high-quality guitar. I firmly believe if you spring over twice as much for the ESP version, you're just buying a $1000 decal. The main thing I can't stress enough is to know what you're getting before you buy it. People are pretty polarized on some of the features, like EMG's and the painted neck. The only reason I bought online was because I got a hell of a deal, and I had played this model before. I hate to give all 10's for a review, but I honestly can't find anything wrong to dock points for. I docked 1 point on sound because of it's lack of versatility, but that's still unfair because it does what it's supposed to do.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Can't really comment on this since I just got it. It feels very solid and is heavier than I expected (which is a good thing.) I imagine it could take a beating but can't vouch for that just yet. I don't play gigs or anything, so it'll probably always be close to pristine. No problems with the strap buttons (not sure why people act like this is a dealbreaker for a guitar... they're not that expensive to replace.) The Floyd Rose is great. I've had Licensed Floyd Rose's before and they were always a pain, having to re-tune every day. This one stays in tune for about a week of 1-2 hour/day playing, unless the temperature changes too much, but that's with every guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When I buy a guitar online, I don't expect it to arrive at my doorstep already set up and in tune. The temperature changes and time between factory and doorstep are too great to expect a great setup. If you order a guitar online, you should expect to have to spend a few hours getting it just right before it's really playable. But I was completely blown away by this one! The FR Tremolo needed no adjustments whatsoever. The strings were actually still good, and the thing was perfectly in tune! The action was about the lowest I've ever played and I haven't found any fret buzzes yet. The finish is gorgeous if you like black. Again, know what you're getting into... Some people don't like painted necks. I don't have a problem with them. The Neck-Thru construction really does make it easier on the higher frets because you don't have this big chunk of wood under your palm. I was skeptical about the skull and crossbone inlays because I figured they wouldn't have been set in the wood tight enough, and I was a little concerned about them screwing me up since I'm used to seeing dots or keystones. But they are inlaid perfectly... I inspected all 11 skulls and couldn't find a single flaw. And they don't screw me up when playing because I only look at the dots on top of the neck, if I look at all. The rest of the guitar is finished very well. No fret hangups, all hardware is tight, pots and Switch are quiet, and input jack is real tight.

Features — 10
The features can be found anywhere... no sense in re-typing them here. The features that sold me were the EMGs, Neck-Thru construction, and Original Floyd Rose (well... Floyd Rose 1000 which is SUPPOSEDLY exactly the same metals, quality, and everything, just lower price because it's made in Korea). I also like that there's a separate volume knob for each pickup, which gives it points over the MH-II for me. I was trying to avoid a signature series guitar, but this one was the only one that was configured exactly how I wanted it.

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