LTD KH-SE review by ESP

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.6 Good
  • Users' score: 8.2 (18 votes)
ESP: LTD KH-SE
0

Price paid: A$ 1189

Purchased from: Bmusic

Sound — 7
I mainly play metal and rock style music, obviously Metallica is a fav band (only reason I got this guitar really) - other bands I enjoy are Megadeth, RATM, ACDC, Van Halen, The Living End, BFMV, Led Zep, Muse, Pantera, Foo Fighters etc. you get the jist. I play through a Boss GT-10 multieffects unit into just a Roland Cube 30 (actually a fairly good amp). I wasn't expecting massive things in terms of sound from this guitar, having the stock ESP LH-301 pickups its only going to offer so much. The Bridge has good crunch and the neck is very bluesy probably a bit too bass heavy. The sound isn't as "strat" sounding as say my Ibanez RG which is good for the more fat crunch I seek (rather than that bluesy twang). In terms of versatility the sound range is reasonable, it will cover most things but compared to my Ibanez RG it doesn't offer as much. With the Boss GT-10 I can get endless sounds, so the versatility of the pickups themselves doesn't impact too much in the end - they have reasonable sustain, nothing special and simply get the job done.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall one thing I can say is that I'm fully aware Kirk Hammett isn't the greatest guitarist (I'd take Marty Friedman's chops any day) but he does have some cool guitars which are perfect for playing metal and hard rock. The real reason I bought this guitar is the fact its limited to 300 worldwide and has a unique green burst finish. With those things in mind it will be one of few ESP LTD models that could retain its value over years to come. I ordered this guitar in Feb and it finally came in June, it's been worth the hassle and anyone who is thinking of dealing with bmusic, they're great at what they do. I'm very happy to be one of the few owners of this signature guitar and if stolen... Well I probably wouldn't be able to buy another haha. I compare this guitar to my Ibanez RG a lot (another Strat style, thin neck shredding machine) - it isn't as good to play, I think Ibanez make amazing guitars. In all if this guitar has a few specs upgraded it could really be amazing, with the action tweaked aswell. If anyone else is getting this guitar or is thinking about it, it probably won't blow you away in terms of sound or playability, but in terms of finish, a cool "story" behind it and its limited edition it definitely will (my first review btw).

Reliability & Durability — 8
Personally I don't play live, I'm just more of a casual player, its just a hobby for me. I'm sure this guitar would stand up to live playing, I've abused the Floyd Rose a bit and it seems to hold its tune well. The guitar came with a leather strap which is fairly solid on the strap buttons. If I played live I don't think I would use this guitar mainly for the reason it's a limited edition guitar, and keeping it good nick may pay off in the future. The green burst finish looks like it will last forever too.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Always a concern when you purchase a guitar that you haven't been able to play before buying it, but the action out of the box is good enough. I like low action and this guitar is nearly spot on. Only flaws out of the box are a bit of fret buzz, but I'm sure these small issues can be tweaked. Guitar is in perfect nick as expected, pickups are the right height, no marks at all. Dissapointing they couldn't get the black hardware rather than more chrome finish - not sure of the full story but the sales person I was dealing with said that was the reason for the delay in terms of delivery, either way it still looks nice. Obviously alot of the hardware could be upgraded - pickups upto EMGs, ESP tuners to (black) Gotoh locking ones or something and even a Floyd Rose original Bridge (black of course), those changes could make this guitar really awesome. The finish I think is the guitars best feature, the green burst looks sweet, really unique and definitely much better in the flesh - full marks there (its green burst on the front and back which is also great). The guitar is actually quite light which makes it comfortable to play standing up (again a comparison to my RG, the Ibanez is definitely heavier). Overall the action, fit and finish are great, the neck is really nice to play, nice and thin and I love satin timber finish (none of this gloss painted sh-t!).

Features — 7
Strat style body based on Kirk Hammetts signature series, this is the latest model, ESP version is limited to 100 worldwide and this LTD version is limited to 300 worldwide. ESP website specs: - Bolt-On Construction - 25.5" Scale - Basswood Body - Maple Neck - Rosewood Fingerboard - 42mm Locking Nut - Extra Thin Flat Neck Contour - 24 XJ Frets - Black Nickel Hardware (came as more chrome finish) - ESP Tuners - Floyd Rose Special Bridge - ESP LH-301 (B & N) p.u. - Finish: GB (Greenburst) - 3-Way Switch Neck Volume Bridge Volume Master Tone Also for those that were wondering only the ESP version has scalloped frets (17-24) which doesn't bother me at all lol.

82 comments sorted by best / new / date

    danye
    yeh but he started by taking a dig, i reckon the writer did it on purpose to get a flame war going :|
    MadisonBlues
    Kirk Hammett is still in one of the top rock acts in the world, Marty Friedman hasn't done anything big in like 20 years.
    Slaytan666
    ProgJazzMath wrote: Kirk Hammett better than Marty Friedman? Lol, you guys must be trolling.
    Seriously. It's not even close. Marty is f-ing amazing.
    thereptile
    WTF! ''I'm fully aware Kirk Hammett isn't the greatest guitarist'' That is a ****ing weak start.. Kirk Hammett is a an awesome guitarist. Each guitar player each style. (Im a huge Megadeth and Metallica fan)
    ThatFlyingThing
    PatVanHalen5150 wrote: Did it come with a wah pedal that doesn't have the function of turning off?
    +1 for sarcasm
    guitardWARf
    im gonna throw in some random names here: paul gilbert buckethead chris broderick I think hammet still has a long way to go before becoming the greatest imo
    grungelive72
    Agreed. Kirk is way overrated. I can name at least 20 guitarists right off the bat that are WAY better than him, and don't talk like gay men.
    Farid Macleod
    i love Kirk Hammett , he is not a very technical guitar player but has some killing soulful solos (the unforgiven , bleeding me ...) ! but it's true that Marty is on a higher level , and a more complete guitarist . although i didn't like his last solo albums they both RULE \m/
    sickassfoo
    hell no this guitar is too much and i dont think there is ever a need for the floyd rose
    M_16A
    i might add that the licensed floyd on this guitar doesn't really hold up compared to the originals, it stays in tune if you set up right but wears faster.
    DamagingExcess
    Cam'sGuitarSolo wrote: one thing I can say is that I'm fully aware Kirk Hammett isn't the greatest guitarist What Are You Talking About? Kirk rules, Kick's The Fucking Ass!!! It's Just personal preference but i Think Kirk is Better (Way Better) than Marty.
    danye wrote: "kirk may not be the best", but then how can you compare whos best with so many different styles and genres of guitarist out there, nobody plays like he does and he doenst play like anyone else, its just personal preference and taste, and tbh i think he's freakin awesome he wouldnt be the lead guitarist of one of the greatest metal bands in history if he was shit.... p.s. wah pedals are the don..
    No one said he was shit. They said he is not the best and that is very VERY true
    danye
    "kirk may not be the best", but then how can you compare whos best with so many different styles and genres of guitarist out there, nobody plays like he does and he doenst play like anyone else, its just personal preference and taste, and tbh i think he's freakin awesome he wouldnt be the lead guitarist of one of the greatest metal bands in history if he was shit.... p.s. wah pedals are the don..
    cgmetallica1981
    Cam'sGuitarSolo wrote: laklok wrote: Cam'sGuitarSolo wrote: one thing I can say is that I'm fully aware Kirk Hammett isn't the greatest guitarist What Are You Talking About? Kirk rules, Kick's The Fucking Ass!!! It's Just personal preference but i Think Kirk is Better (Way Better) than Marty. Are you kidding me??? Marty Friedman is on another level. If that mean's your saying Kirk is on a higher level Hell Yeah, In My Opinion Kirk Is a way better and way better Guitar player than Marty!
    Please tell me you're joking... Hammett doesn't compare with Friedman on any level. Marty can play more quickly, and much more accurately then Hammett is able to. Marty's solos are also much better and much more technical and varied, and he doesn't need to have the abuse of a wah-wah pedal to hide his mistakes. Oh and I know you're probably going to say "HURR THAT'S YOUR OPINION" - if you do that really just means you cannot come up with another arguement.
    SanJose
    Cam'sGuitarSolo wrote: one thing I can say is that I'm fully aware Kirk Hammett isn't the greatest guitarist What Are You Talking About? Kirk rules, Kick's The Fucking Ass!!! It's Just personal preference but i Think Kirk is Better (Way Better) than Marty.
    Ha ha ha... ha
    animemetalhead
    I think Dimebag gave Kirk a run for his money when he was still alive, would have loved to see a shred-off between them. That being said, R.I.P. Dimebag and congrats on the new guitar Kirk.
    gwitersnamps
    Metalfan41 wrote: I can't believe you paid $1200 for a $300 guitar.
    Seriously. . . a limited run of guitars and they couldn't even put EMGs on it?
    littlebritches9
    Saying Kirk isnt the greatest guitarist ever doesn't make the review any better so why put in there in the first place?
    djc707
    PatVanHalen5150 wrote: Did it come with a wah pedal that doesn't have the function of turning off?
    +1
    bustapr
    i undestand this was very limited production, but why put all the parts of any mid range esp/ltd into that guitar? it blows my mind how anyone can pay so much for something like that. Esp tuners, esp pickups, FR special?!
    viken
    Metal-pro wrote: So cheap? I've seen for more than 6000$ isj :O
    This is the LTD-model. You've probably been looking at the ESP-model, which is a lot better (and more expensive)
    fas789
    I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, cloud68dotcom
    christhehammett
    Ever heard of Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, or Chris Broderick? Come on guys, Kirk sucks. I'm better than him and I'm ****ing 13! I'm pretty sure all of you Kirk fans boys must suck at guitar if you think he is good...
    MaggaraMarine
    Yes and you do sound like a 13 year old. It doesn't make him suck if there are better guitarists around. They make pretty different kind of music which is about showing your skills (nothing wrong about it and I like listening to Steve Vai and stuff). Kirk Hammett doesn't play that kind of stuff. But if you think you are better than Kirk because you can play all of his solos, you are not and you need to grow up. You don't show all of your skills in your solos. You need to be able to play them perfectly in front of over 10000 people. And also comparing yourself to one of the most famous guitarist in the world is just ridiculous. Show us your skills. Kirk has played some of the most legendary guitar solos, even though they are not technically the most difficult. Technical doesn't mean it's good. Usually the best music is simple but genius. It has something catchy but it's not too repetitive. Kirk is by no means the "best" guitarist in the world but he's not the worst either. I know Steve Vai is much more skilled than Kirk but it doesn't make him better. Who the best is is a matter of taste. Also why are people complaining about "only using pentatonics." First, he's not (listen to "Blackened" for example, not a single pentatonic lick), second, every guitarist uses pentatonics. If it fits the song, why not use it. It's not about the scales you use, it's about how you use them. Jimi Hendrix pretty much played pentatonics but he could use them well.
    feathers632
    andras67 wrote: feathers632 wrote: nt42 wrote: Ok, are we kidding here? Kirk Hammet has like 3 pentatonic licks played repetitively in a fairly fast tempo and that's all his solos are. Marty Friedman is a theory-educated complete musician who actually knows there's more to a guitar than the E minor scale, and can play legato, sweep, fast alternate picking and tapping. Oh, and for some people here, there a song called "Tornado of Souls" - I suggest you look it up before replying... I looked it up. Kind of mehhh... Don't like that glam metal style and the crappy singing. well, now we can be sure that it is only a troll.
    Grow up. If you like that music then go listen to it. I prefer something a bit more sophisticated. And who is the we? Are you speaking for everyone? The voice of the forum? Grow up.
    andras67
    feathers632 wrote: nt42 wrote: Ok, are we kidding here? Kirk Hammet has like 3 pentatonic licks played repetitively in a fairly fast tempo and that's all his solos are. Marty Friedman is a theory-educated complete musician who actually knows there's more to a guitar than the E minor scale, and can play legato, sweep, fast alternate picking and tapping. Oh, and for some people here, there a song called "Tornado of Souls" - I suggest you look it up before replying... I looked it up. Kind of mehhh... Don't like that glam metal style and the crappy singing.
    well, now we can be sure that it is only a troll.
    Slaytan666
    flyingmarlin wrote: Hey! Kirk is a really good guitarist, end of. I'd like to see all of the people, BS aside in this thread out-do his playing. Also, you know what Marty is also an awesome guitarist... When will people understand guitarists cannot be compared, there's no tangible way of comparison. Some may think there is but there isn't. You might as well argue which is better; Peanut butter or jelly? I listen to Kirk's playing and I enjoy it. Job ****ing done.
    I can play a pentatonic scale and stomp on my wah at the same time.. Does that count?
    Coffinspired954
    How the hell did Marty come up in this article?? Dave maybe as it's an applicable comparison...but Marty?!? Before we argue Marty... I hope you don't think Kirk could even write the stuff that a young Chris Poland wrote, let alone Marty. Now for Marty...if you think Kirk could play a single Cacophony lick at speed, you're absolutely delusional. The stuff Marty and Jason we're doing as teens OWNS anything Kirk could hope to come up with in his entire career. Kirk could write a solo for a year and a totally improv'd solo battle between Jason and Marty as KIDS would blow him away. What are you on if you think otherwise?
    feathers632
    nt42 wrote: Ok, are we kidding here? Kirk Hammet has like 3 pentatonic licks played repetitively in a fairly fast tempo and that's all his solos are. Marty Friedman is a theory-educated complete musician who actually knows there's more to a guitar than the E minor scale, and can play legato, sweep, fast alternate picking and tapping. Oh, and for some people here, there a song called "Tornado of Souls" - I suggest you look it up before replying...
    I looked it up. Kind of mehhh... Don't like that glam metal style and the crappy singing.
    CydoniaKnight95
    PatVanHalen5150 wrote: Did it come with a wah pedal that doesn't have the function of turning off?
    loooool
    Norse Thrasher
    Why bother adding in skill in the subtitle to this review. It has nothing to do with his hardware at all. It's like UG just WANTS to start flame wars.
    flyingmarlin
    Hey! Kirk is a really good guitarist, end of. I'd like to see all of the people, BS aside in this thread out-do his playing. Also, you know what Marty is also an awesome guitarist... When will people understand guitarists cannot be compared, there's no tangible way of comparison. Some may think there is but there isn't. You might as well argue which is better; Peanut butter or jelly? I listen to Kirk's playing and I enjoy it. Job ****ing done.
    Sakke
    unnamedplayer wrote: unnamedplayer wrote: why does a $1200 guitar have these stock pickups? Sorry I did not notice it was A$.
    Oh you fixed it.. Nevermind.
    Romper Stomper
    nt42 wrote: Ok, are we kidding here? Kirk Hammet has like 3 pentatonic licks played repetitively in a fairly fast tempo and that's all his solos are. Marty Friedman is a theory-educated complete musician who actually knows there's more to a guitar than the E minor scale, and can play legato, sweep, fast alternate picking and tapping. Oh, and for some people here, there a song called "Tornado of Souls" - I suggest you look it up before replying...
    Also, this^
    Romper Stomper
    Cam'sGuitarSolo wrote: one thing I can say is that I'm fully aware Kirk Hammett isn't the greatest guitarist What Are You Talking About? Kirk rules, Kick's The Fucking Ass!!! It's Just personal preference but i Think Kirk is Better (Way Better) than Marty.
    You're crazy, go away troll.
    Menza_
    [/tallicavsmegadethrant] The LTD KH's aren't that bad, the neck is a bit awkward.
    Sakke
    unnamedplayer wrote: why does a $1200 guitar have these stock pickups?
    He is talking about the lower grade ltd. Note.. he says A$, which means Australian dollars.
    CronoMagus
    Great Review and very good at taking an unbiased look at it. In reference to the Marty, Kirk debate in comments: No question Marty is many levels above Kirk Hammett, and I love them both. It's just fact of life haha
    fajnut
    But thanks to UG for publishing this, it's funny that one sentence comparing Kirk and someone else has become the focus of this review, not the guitar itself haha.
    fajnut
    levnde wrote: I also bought one of these from B music, Shane is great! This review is pretty accurate. People must not compare this with a KH-202 because the 202 are now made in China, where as this Limited Edition is made in Korea. I find the neck on this guitar to be really nice to play. It has yet to go out of tune. For everyone that is comparing guitarists, everyone has different tastes. I myself know that Kirk isn't the most technical guitarist around, but his sound and style are why i love him above other guitarists. Also, we are reviewing the guitar, not Kirk or any other guitarist!
    Shane is very good hey! Spot on though, I just checked all these comments, haha my bad for creating a marty friedman vs kirk hammett article, I simply meant to say that Kirk is a great guitarist but I prefer marty friedmans style as he has more variation and is a bit more technically sound - all personal taste and I didn't mean to downtalk anyone (heck I bought Kirks guitar!). And in regards to the price payed, if you've got some money to burn why not buy a guitar? Thats what I did and surely we can all agree on that? And it doesn't help when UG put that as the quote on the website...fuelling the fire I reckon.
    levnde
    I also bought one of these from B music, Shane is great! This review is pretty accurate. People must not compare this with a KH-202 because the 202 are now made in China, where as this Limited Edition is made in Korea. I find the neck on this guitar to be really nice to play. It has yet to go out of tune. For everyone that is comparing guitarists, everyone has different tastes. I myself know that Kirk isn't the most technical guitarist around, but his sound and style are why i love him above other guitarists. Also, we are reviewing the guitar, not Kirk or any other guitarist!