Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Audiomusica
Features — 7
My guitar was made in Indonesia in 2010, it has rosewood fingerboard with some thunder-like inlays, white binding on the maple neck, reversed headstock, mahogany body, flamed maple top, superstrat body, this time, the famous M or Mirage body. An odd combination of two EMG 81's, and a Floyd Rose Special bridge, with ESP branded tuners. And the standard 3-way selector for two humbuckers, volume and tone. It only included a pair of allen keys. As I bought it at a discount, I didn't expect something else.
Sound — 8
Obviously oriented at metal, this guitar suits me, but the pair of 81's were intriguing, but I liked how sounded the one at the neck. Brighter and hotter than the classic 85, and can be useful if you are looking for this kind of tone, but it seriously limits this guitar versatility, but I have other guitars for hard rock tones, for example. I'm using it with a Zoom G3X and a Laney LX65R with a 12" Celestion speaker, enough for now, as currently I'm not in a band and I'm dedicated to polish my skills.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action was medium, but I had to adjust the neck and the bridge. The original strings were horrible, and I suspect they were replaced by used ones before the sale. Besides, the only noticiable flaw was at the neck binding, with traces of sloppy cutting (and not polished borders), but the fretwork looks good. The hardware feels solid (except the cheap locking 3-way pickup selector) and I liked its nickel color. I think LTDs at this price range tend to be better finished than Ibanez, for example.
Reliability & Durability — 7
It think this guitar can last a long time, but the Floyd Rose Special needs attention, and I have my doubts about its durability under heavy use. AFAIK, this bridge is not suitable for professionals, but I think it can be used live if you are not one. (Un)Fortunately, is not my case (I use it only in a pair of solos), but still I have to check it before summer and winter, and the Floyd Rose Key is a must if you have to intonate this kind of guitars. Besides that, I hope the bridge doesn't get discoloured with the extended palm mute I do.
Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing for 20 years, and finally I can afford some decent guitars for mostly heavy and thrash metal and a bit of hard rock. As I said, I bought this guitar at a discount, so I took the chance at owning my first LTD guitar, after several tests at the store. So far, I'm pleased with the brand's price, fit and finish, and shortly after I bought others, ending with two real ESPs. Maybe this is the logical step for the company, because the LTDs don't disappoint, but left you wanting more. A perfect GAS inducing strategy?