Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Ernie Williamson
Sound — 7
For the music I play, which is a little bit of everything, this guitar can do most of it, but most of the credit is due to my Line 6 Spider IV. I plug it straight into the amp, and the pickups only hum when split even with copper shielding. The sound is bright and rich on the bridge pickup and you can hear the pick bite the strings, I think for what it is, it's great. As for the neck pickup, I cannot stand using it as a humbucker and just a little when split. The neck pickup has almost no clarity on single notes and less with chords. The pickup also lacks the punchy rhythm low end that I like. The sound is more versatile than the standard active EMG's for sure, but I'd prefer to swap the pickups out for passive Invaders or JB's with a Blackouts preamp.
Overall Impression — 7
For the music I play, I think this guitar was a good match as I'm still learning. The pickups have some bite with distortion and have great cleans with my Line 6 Spider IV. I've been playing for a year and a half and while I learn how to play with my "Modern Method For Guitar Volume One" by William Leavit (published by Berklee Press and I highly recommend) I'm saving for a better guitar like a Schecter or Ibanez. If this were stolen I wouldn't buy another one, I'd just buy a Schecter or Ibanez. I love the fact that it has many features you'd find on a much more expensive guitar. I hate the fact I got stuck with such a crappy used bridge and my favorite feature was either the coil tap or Ultra access heel. If there were anything I'd change, it'd be the bridge. I'd change the bridge to an original. Then I'd buy some new pickups to Invaders, JB's, or EMGs.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The bridge on this guitar really needs some fixing, at least a new locknut, then it will be able to withstand some live playing. Maybe a new bridge and it'll last under my care and not the previous owners speaking for me. The strap buttons are solid especially with the straplocks included by the music store. The hardware minus the bridge will last a lifetime, especially with the copper shielding done by the previous owner. I could depend on using it at a gig without a backup simply if I didn't touch the tremolo. If its blocked then it is perfect. The finish is very thick and can withstand multiple hits and still has only 2 barely noticeable mark.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action was really good from the store, it was lock enough for my tastes. I also was satisfied with the pickup setup, as I like being able to strike the pickup with my pick. The bridge was routed fine and the top looks like the pictures provided by LTD aside from a slightly darker look to it. The flaws on this guitar were the bridge being oxidized at the knife edges and losing finish on the saddles. Other than that not much was wrong.
Features — 9
The Guitar was made in 2006 if my memory serves me right. The guitar was assembled in Indonesia. It has my preference of 24 frets and 25 1/2" scale. The neck is about the same profile as my Squier SE Special Stratocaster, maybe a little thinner, and it is of a neck-through construction with a heel similar to Schecter's Ultra access heel, so that was definitely a plus. The neck is also pretty smooth and fast, especially for the profile and finish it has. The neck has a rosewood fretboard with offset small block inlays with an inlay stating the model name on the 12th fret which is standard for most LTD models. The body is agathis with a quilted maple top and a maple neck. The finish is a transparent black and the body is essentially a Stratocaster with some more metal oriented finesse with more edges and a creme binding around the top of the body as well as the neck and headstock. The binding and edginess to the body were some things I really liked, as well as having a finished neck. The electronics featured were HH configuration ESP Branded EMG's that are passive. The controls are a simple 3-way switch with a Push-Pull Coil Split Tone dome knob and a Volume dome knob. The bridge was probably the biggest disappointment of the guitar, being a FRS and not an OFR. The tuners were standard ESP Branded tuners and hold tune really well compared to my Strat. The guitar came with a gig bag and strap as well as strap locks courtesy of Ernie Williamson. Now, keeping in mind I bought the guitar used in a like new condition (minus the bridge) All the features were perfect for the price although I think ESP could have at least gotten better pickups or an OFR while maintaining the price tag or raising it a hair.