Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Tampa Guitar School
Sound — 9
This guitar with the dual EMG 81's are great for crunching metal. It does pickup a lot sound so you might want to turn your distortion down. I'm only using a 10 watt amp, but I've also played it with a Line 6 VI 75 watt and it sounds amazing. I play mostly thrash metal, so the guitar is definitely awesome for my playing style. Mine came with an Original Floyd Rose, so restringing is a b*tch to do. It can definitely handle the wildest of whammy solos (I play Slayer). You will have to retune once a week (but minimal). Like I said, the EMGs pick up a lot of noise so i just give it a little more deep sound while reducing the gain. Theres little or no fret buzzing, so you wont get any interference. Overall: The sound is clean & loud.
Overall Impression — 10
I have only been playing for a year and a half, so this guitar is perfect. I also have a Dean Vendetta, it was very light and had a matted finish, so it wasn't that pretty. I still need to upgrade my amp, but thats later in the future. I play mostly thrash metal so this guitar is perfect. I love the cut aways at the elbow and waist. The really defining factor I like is the white binding on the neck and headstock. I'm planning on making the same guitar with a white binding on the body. I also love the reverse headstock, it matches the right handed body. I just wish it had a 1000 series FR, I hate tunning it :P.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Although I have not played this live, it will definitely stand playing live. The hardware is really strong, and it will take a lot to ruin it. (Other than the fingerprints) It should stay in mint condition for a while. My strap is kind of worn, but I'm surprised the strap buttons are still able to hold. I would definitely use this guitars on every gig, but seeing as this guitar has a Floyd Rose, and I can't change the strings in 5 minuets, I will definitely need a backup. I do clean the guitar once a week for the fingerprints. Thats the only thing that i hate. It overall looks amazing. Everytime I see it just sitting there, I play it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I had a guy at the place I bought it from set it up before I came in, but there was nothing wrong with it. The pickups were fine. The neck pickup was a bit too high, so I adjusted it in about 30 seconds. The bridge was a bit loose, but it was easily fixable. The guitar had no flaws, no scratches(other than me accidently hitting it on the counter at the store about 5 minuets after buying it :( ). This finish looks amazing, but every time you touch it, it gets 500 fingerprints on it.The knobs were, and still are a bit loose. But it makes them easy to turn. The locking nuts kinda get stripped easily, so I would suggest getting it tuned and locked only about once a month.
Features — 10
Construction / Scale: Set Neck / 25.5in Body: Alder Neck / Fretboard: 3-3-pc. Maple / Rosewood Inlays: Pearloid Arrowhead with model name at 12th fret Hardware: Black+Earvana compensated nut & Grovers tuners Bridge: Floyd Rose Binding: White (neck / headstock) Frets: 24 XJ Pickups: EMG-81 Active set Electronics: Volume, Tone, 3-way toggle Standard Colors: Black (BLK) Get your ESP M-400 today!