LTD KH-603 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.2 (10 votes)

Sound — 9
I play a lot of different kinds of music in a lot of different tunings. Once I got this thing into Drop C, that's where it stayed(mostly cause it was a pain in the ass to get a Floyd Rose there, had to add an extra spring); this meaning that I ONLY play metal on it. (BFMV, BLS, COB.. etc) I play through a Peavey Vypyr 75 which I've fiddled with a lot to get an unreal crunch out of it. The pickups do their work, they really lay into the songs I play and make it sound incredible. The only issue I really have with the guitar is getting it to squeal. There really isn't that much room between the tremolo and the neck, which makes it hard for me to find the sweet spot for my pinch harmonics. I like to think my pinching ability is pretty good too, having learned them no a Squire Strat. It also makes it hard to palm mute sometimes, there just isn't enough room! The clean sound is very nice though. I had it in Standard for about a month before I took it to drop C, and it sounded decent through some tube amps and stuff. VERY warm sound! It gets the job done, but if you really want to play on your clean channel then you're looking at the wrong review. Rating it a 9 because of the limited room between neck and bridge.

Overall Impression — 8
This guitar is a perfect match for any metal/hard rock guitarist. I have only been playing for 5 years, but I've played a lot of different guitars through friends. I cannot compare this to any other instrument I've played though, it's just so unique. I've played Explorers, Les Pauls, PRS, Ibanez, Jacksons, SGs, Strats; but none of them compare to the experience of playing this guitar. However, unique does not not necessarily mean incredible. I've had good and bad experiences with this guitar, I don't hate it, but I don't think of it as my baby either. If this guitar were lost or stolen, I think I'd look for something else to be honest. Something a bit simpler? It is a bit too much guitar for me at the moment. I love the floyd rose, but I hated having to set it up and tinker with it. This guitar is something that I think everyone should play, but perhaps not everyone should buy? Comparing this to the ESP EC-1000's I tried out while searching for a new guitar, it is a much better guitar. I chose this one because it had everything I wanted... and then some. I figured that it'd be good to have the extra perks if I ever needed them. In truth, I think the extra perks such as the floyd rose, tremolo and neck-thru body inhibit your ability to play. To me, it's a subconscious thing that I'm going to ruin the guitar or something. Like I stated earlier, it's a bit intimidating because it's a bit too much guitar.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is incredibly solid and heavy. I can't picture anything stopping it besides maybe a large explosion. I have never had any electrical issues with it, and I don't think I will. It's built to last, it's built to play live. I haven't done much live playing with it, and certainly no real tests, but I'd say it is very durable. Strap buttons are very solid. I wear a strap on it a lot and I've never doubted their resilience. I can always depend on this guitar to learn new songs and just play on. The finish is perfect, a few nicks from my personal carelessness, but there's no way it's going to wear off through playing. The only way the finish is coming off is if the wood itself does too.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I got this guitar, it was very well set up. I'm not very picky about that stuff, my Acoustic has an incredibly high action, while my Strat has a very low one. I just play the damn things. However, when I changed the tuning, I did decide to lower the action just a tad. Personal preference, I think it would have been fine the way it was, but I had the time to make it custom. I also decided to raise the pickups a little, just to help with the pinch harmonic problem a bit. Once again, personal preference. It was 100% working a playable with factory setup (assuming the previous owner didn't do anything he neglected to tell me). The ONE issue I had when I got it was that the 2nd and 3rd strings wouldn't tune to each other. When I played the fourth fret on the third string, it would be out of pitch with the second string. My automatic tuner and ear assured me that the two open strings were perfectly pitched. I changed the 3rd string and the problem went away. I'm rating this an 8 for the goddamn trouble it was to change the string. Had I been changing the string on a Strat or a les paul, It'd be a 9; but with the floyd and such, not only was it a pain to change the actual string, but setting up the other strings as well once I unlocked the nut made it very difficult. This is my first guitar with a floyd rose, and while it truthfully does NOT come out of tune, it's a pain with changing strings and tunings. I imagine it won't be as hard once I get used to it though.

Features — 10
This guitar was given to me as a Christmas present. My father found it on Craigslist and went to check it out. The guy claimed his GF had picked it up in the states and he had only ever played it once, to tune it to Drop D, admitting that he liked to look at guitars more than play them. 24 frets, thru-body neck made of maple with a rosewood fretboard. The black laminated top is incredible, you can see yourself in it. Cleans up nicely with a dry cloth too. Also has some sick spidery/scarab inlays! Look at a picture for any other details I neglect, it's pretty self explanatory. The thing has active EMG 81's, and an Original Floyd Rose. Came with a hardshell case, but I'm not sure if the guy just threw that in.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    LP body with a tremelo just doesn't seem right. I wouldn't buy it. I bet it sounds great though.
    ProgJazzMath wrote: LP body with a tremelo just doesn't seem right. I wouldn't buy it. I bet it sounds great though.
    Even gibson make one now, the les paul Axcess i believe slash used it for a while. However yes it still looks..."incorrect"
    rob904 wrote: floyds are always a pain, but they kick ass
    Not really lol, i wouldnt be able to live without one
    @ mrrman I recieved this as a gift from my father, he neglected to tell me the price. He is very cheap however, so I imagine he didn't spend more than 1000$ (Canadian) on it. As mentioned before, it was bought pre-owned so don't quote me on that.