Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 10
I play in a metal band, and having a guitar that can give bright leads and nice solid rythms is essential for me. Well, this guitar delivers. I bought it used with a ding in the body near the tone knob, and it has never once even fuzzed from it. Thats how solid this guitar is. I can go from cranking out a metal rythm to soloing and maintain solid, tight tone through it all. The lack of a middle pickup and the actives kinda kills the clean tone to an extent, but if you're looking for a jazz shredder this isn't for you then, is it? Despite it's lack of a nice smooth clean tone, add some overdrive to it and it gives a nice mello vibe that resonates deeply, thanks to the alder. You can dive on the floyd and recover your note without any problems whatsoever. I play through a Peavey vyper, so I can only imagine how epic this bad boy sounds on an all tube/high gain amp. I will say that I'll eventaully swap out the 81 in the neck for an 85. In short, if you want an affordable shred machine, buy this guitar. This thing is a tonal monster. I use it for almost all my bands recording and practices, and I can guarentee I'll be performing with it.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing since I was 15, and I've never played a guitar that seems to fit me so well. I play it everday through my vyper 30 watt and I'll never give it up. Killer tone, durable despite the previous owner, and still quite the looker. ESP has definetly made me a loyal customer from now on.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I play this gutiar every day, and it never loses intonation. As said earlier, the body damage hasn't even affected the tone or playability at all. The strap buttons do seem small, but unless your dancing on stage like a moron, I doubt they'll ever be a problem. This guitar seems like it would survive the apocalypse to me.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought it used, but it was in suprisingly good shape aside from some cosmetic damage. The action was at just the right height and the 9's on it were aged but still sharp (I changed them recently, same guage) and it's never lost intonation on me once. The pickups never buzz on me and given my amp has no noise gate, that is essential. The finsh is beautiful, but given it was used, there are some scratches.
Features — 9
24 frets with a thin, fast mahogany neck. An original floyd (amazing bridge), alder body for a nice, solid tone. Two EMG 81 actives give Killer shred tone and some nice deep lows and solid mids. Beautiful finish with a flamed maple top. 42mm locking nut and black nickel hardware. Set thru neck so you can easily reach that 24th fret. THree way pick up selector.