Purchased from: Atomic Music- Maryland
Features — 10
It was made in South Korea. I bought it used, and I don't know what year it was made. 24-frets, on a 25.5 inch scale. Passive Seymour Duncan JB-59 combo with a 5-way selector, so the coils can be split, but not used together when the neck/bridge are split (typical setup, easy to use). One Volume, One tone. (Reliable), locking tuners. I bought it in sunburst (it looks excellent). Rosewood fretboard. String through-body. You can find all of this on google and it's not worth expounding on (I met the 500 character requirement!).
Sound — 8
The sound is very good when I don't split the pickups. Rich, articulate, aggressive, responsive to harmonics and changes in the tone control (which I actively use when in the bridge position). I always have a little bit of chorus on. I mainly use a Marshall AVT-100 (which is a hybrid amp) and I was hoping to have some Jimi-style strat-sounds at my disposal with this guitar, which I do not- It sounds muddy to me when using the single coils - even while using a BBE Fuzz instead of my amps distortion. On clean it's fine - but you don't buy an LTD/ESP for cleans. Mostly I play thrash metal and shred on this guitar, and for that it excels, but beyond that is a stretch with a non-boutique amp, so it seems.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought it used, in great condition, I believe that it was basically new from what I've seen in other used guitars. There were no issues from the factory that I could identify. The volume and tone knobs and switch are not made of cheap materials (they are not loose, which I hate) and the tuners work. Everything worked fine from the get-go,which is a dealbreaker for me. The wood was quality, the frets were done with care, the neck was set well, etc. Certain companies and guitars have a reputation for unreliability and poor craftsmanship, but this one doesn't, and that's for a reason from what I'm seeing.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I am not a working musician, and I do not depend on this guitar in a professional capacity or in a band. But I get home from work tired and ready to play and I don't want complications or having to mess with my guitar, and this absolutely delivers on that. The room that I keep my gear in has unreliable heating and AC, and can fluctuate, and this guitar does not go out of tune if the temperature suddenly changes (much less the neck warping). I live in a humid, hot place and have lost all AC for 48 hours at a time in the summer (living hell) and the guitar has not had suffered due to that. For my purposes, it delivers.
Overall Impression — 8
If you look at the guitars that are currently on ESP's website, the volume controls are much further away from the bridge. That is for a reason- the volume on this is obtrusive to me, if you look at how Marty Friedman picks sometimes, that's basically me - I hit the volume by accident constantly. It annoys me, and it seems that ESP/LTD responded to that. Other than that: 1. It sounds good for metal and hard rock (articulate- responsive controls) 2. the binding/overall looks (I got it in sunburst) are simply elegant and I get complements on it, which is important to me. 3. and I'm overall happy I bought it. I can't say that about everything I've ever owned.
But: The neck is also thinner/flatter than my liking, it's unnecessary - there is a lot of "free space" between my palm and the neck sometimes and it used to tire me out before I got used to it. It seems a bit thin just for the sake of it.
I buy used and don't like to order without trying out and seeing the product in person, this was the best "metal" guitar I could get in a hardtail for the $450-800 range at the shop at the time. It came with a hardshell and no scratches (I had resale value in mind when I bought it, given that I didn't love the control placement or the neck, and still don't).
If I can find a used guitar with the same electronics/sound and elegant aesthetics but with the volume farther away (Like a new H-series LTD) I will trade this for credit on it- but until then, I play this guitar minimum 45 minutes a day and it works for me.