LTD M-53 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.5 (60 votes)
ESP: LTD M-53
0

Sound — 9
Great for chuggers, very full bass and the thin neck suits my metalcore/emocore style, but a little tinny in the highs, I never use the single coils, the humbucker does everything I need it to. I do not use effect pedals, I only use a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt, I normally go for a scooped out sound on the insane channel with distortion boost on and full channel volume for even more dirt, I then use a small amount of reverb to lighten the sound a little. I get a tiny bit of feedback if I'm being stupid with it but it never troubles me, the lows are incredibly full and perfect for anyone who plays a lot of heavy breakdown riffs. This guitar pulls off even the craziest sounds, from the solo to "Invincible" by Muse to any Children Of Bodom and Bullet For My Valentine.

Overall Impression — 9
I play a lot of post hardcore and metal, this guitar does everything I need and more. I have been playing for 5 years and I currently use nothing more than my M-53, my Spider 3 and UG. If it was stolen, I'd replace it with an MH-50, I just simply can't resist a HH archtop. I love the way it says ESP on this guitar more than 10 times, but the satin finish chips away too easily and collects a lot of finger prints. Compared to similar priced guitars, this beats each and every one of them time and time again in terms of veratility and extremity. I would only change the appearance, give it an archtop in metallic black with white binding, black neck finish, ebony fretboard, red star inlays.

Reliability & Durability — 9
With a guitar like this, you need a good strap, the first time I played this guitar, my strap came off and my studded belt scratched the paint job, it's taken a beating, but it can take one. The hardware has lasted until now without deteriorating so I cannot imagine why they wouldn't last a very long time. This is the only guitar you need for a gig, it does everything for me. The finish should last, provided you don't kick the crap out of your guitar every other Tuesday.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action was just about ok, not as low as I like it but better than a lot of guitars I've tried. The pickups were bang on centred, but that is excusable seeing as they are good enough that I have not needed to adjust them. Everything on the guitar was set up for Standard tuning. Too bad I play in drop C. The only flaw worth pointing out is that one of the tuning keys was slightly looser than the rest.

Features — 7
-Made in Indonesia -22 XJ frets on a 25.5" scale -Solid top -Maple neck and fretboard, basswood body -Satin black -Strat style -Vintage tremolo bridge -Passive electronics -1 volume, 1 tone, 5 way selector switch -2 ESP LS-150S in the neck and Bridge and an ESP LH-150 in the bridge -ESP tuners -Included all required alan keys, extra Bridge spring, tremolo bar, and the store provided a free bag.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    leohimself
    Dark_Iran wrote: for beginner is good
    what do you mean by that? what guitar should a pro use? should they use whatever guitar they're more comfortable with or should they come and ask you for advice? it's not that i'm defending this guitar, i don't own it, but your comment was unnecessary.
    jeffo46
    I recently had the chance to try one of these out at Guitar Center and for 200 bucks, you could get a lot worse. I'm actually considering buying this lil' beast. I thought it sounded pretty damm good and it stayed in tune quite well. Better than their M-10's, that's for sure.
    DanTheHobbit
    I have learned to trust reviews here, even those published on the main page of the site, with a modicum of respect more than those on Musician's Friend. As such, only a midget would have no difficulty doing the limbo under the level at which the bar has been set. As for this review, I disagree. I used to work at a store at which a small variety of ESP guitars were sold. There were a few LTD's worth $500 or so that justified the investment for a serious player in the wings. The rest were for beginners, made with sub-par electronics and hardware well worth replacing. The M-53 would work fine for someone discovering his or her sound based on what they listen to in their teenage years (yes, I'm being condescending). For the untrained ear, so would any guitar with humbuckers. I started out with an Ibanez GSA-60. It was a nerfed version of the Satriani models that I don't think they make anymore, justifiably so. At the time, I thought it sounded great for both Blink 182's "Josie" and Slipknot's "Wait and Bleed" with the right pedals (Boss DS-1) through my Marshall MG 15 combo. Similarly, to an untrained ear, The Beatles' White Album would sound about the same from stock iPod headphones or from a high-end ceramic needle on an audiophile's stereo. My complaint here is that there's no differentiation between the beginner and the experienced. Most of the time, it's a choice between a wooden pencil and a click pen when it should be a boy scout's pinewood derby car versus a professional's manual transmission hot rod. Less honeymoon opinions and more experienced reviews would be a lot more valuable. Whatever. I am but one small instrument. Eff ye'z all, St. John of Gods, etc.
    Plankton1
    this is my first legit guitar i ever owned. The bass is really pronounced, highs are a lil faint but the LH-150 cleans it up nicely. The finish is ehh mine is coming off and for some reason theres gloss under, it looks better like that lol
    Guitar Sushi
    Well you played it through a spider so any guitar is gonna sound the same... But still +1 for now just 10ing everything
    Dennis_SG
    I think all of those low- and mid-range 'meta'guitars are all terrible, get a decent epiphone or squire for gods sake.
    jarred033019
    Just buy an ESP or LTD Eclipse if you want an archtop. The only thing is you wont have the bar pickups and the tremolo arm.
    Good_Lord
    Seref wrote: I only use a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt, I normally go for a scooped out sound on the insane channel with distortion boost on and full channel volume for even more dirt, If we could put images here, I'd put that picture of that Asian guy covering his ears in agony.
    Good point , don't scoop the mids ... not on a SS at least. Not to be evil , but especially on a 15w Line 6 spider 3 ... DAMN I need a new amp too now ( stuck with a peavey bandit 112 ... )
    Seref
    I only use a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt, I normally go for a scooped out sound on the insane channel with distortion boost on and full channel volume for even more dirt,
    If we could put images here, I'd put that picture of that Asian guy covering his ears in agony.
    EpiExplorer
    Piss poor everything, by the sound of it. Perhaps re-think over what you're going to put in a review.
    blackbird51
    I only use a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt, I normally go for a scooped out sound on the insane channel with distortion boost on and full channel volume for even more dirt
    scooping the mids and rating the sound = fail
    booby50
    leohimself wrote: Dark_Iran wrote: for beginner is good what do you mean by that? what guitar should a pro use? should they use whatever guitar they're more comfortable with or should they come and ask you for advice? it's not that i'm defending this guitar, i don't own it, but your comment was unnecessary.
    I think he means it's a good guitar for beginners to use without shelling out tons of money for a high end one because it will get the job done that is asked of it until you move up to gigging and recording and whatnot where you may need a better guitar. No need to be all righteous here.
    the seventh son
    Sometimes I wonder why people even bother to review, if you want a better rating, just look at the user rating.
    MatasTeen
    Emocore is a genre? I like the guitar.. reminds me of the Kris Norris one...
    Lord_Doku
    You are playing with full volume and full gain on the highest gain channel of a poor solid-state amp. I feel sorry for your neighbors. But on topic, the guitar seems good for someone who wants to learn how to play guitar without going 'casual' with a strat.
    shwilly
    I dunno about the quality, but the finish looks AWESOME Just goes to show how little imagination most guitar manufacturers seem to have: a matt finish (instead of high gloss), 2 horns that have been rounded off slightly less than on a strat, a standard maple neck which contrasts nicely against the black body and already I'm going "cool, you don't see that every day" :\
    riffmerchant
    I have it and its a nice player, smooth neck, action and intonation perfect. However, it is very deep but because of this (or the wood its made from) it cuts through the mids and highs too much for my liking. I may try and EQ it as best I can, but right out of the box, for the trained ear its not a desirable tone for metal if your wanting that nice scratchy sound from your PM's. Then again, I may get better results when I string it with some Daddario XL's which have always been my favourite for bright tone, im not sure what crappy strings it gets fitted with as stock?
    Radynj
    So the top end is really tinny and you're giving the sound a 9?