Purchased from: Guitar Center Online
Features — 10
I recently bought an ESP LTD MH-301, and let me tell you something: this rig is built for magic. Mine was manufactured in 2005 in Korea. It's got 24 extra-jumbo frets on a rosewood fretboard on top of a thin U-shape, smooth-as-hell maple neck with a double cutaway body that make it so incredible for hitting those leads. It's got a lightweight Mahogany body with an absolutely BEAUTIFUL quilted maple top (mine has a blood-red finish). It comes with a Licensed Floyd Rose bridge and EMG HZ-H1's or H4's (depending on the model year). It's got a 5-way mega-switch for a very wide variety of tones, one volume and one tone knob and that's about it.
Sound — 9
This beast of a guitar sounds absolutely awesome. I was a little skeptical about the Hz's at first, just because I don't much care for passive pickups. I plan on switching to a pair of 81 85's someday, but for now I'm set. EMG did a very good job with the Hz's; they have enough kick and output to play Pantera and Metallica to black metal and hardcore, yet rich and "creamy" enough to play blues and jazz. I play everything from Pink Floyd to Iron Maiden to Children of Bodom, and write my own stuff, and this thing does it all. The LFR is well manufactured and does pretty well with those "Dime squeals." I run mine through a Line 6 Spider 5 (Jam) with an FBV Express MKII pedal board, and am completely satisfied with the sound I'm getting. (Though, with passives, I would recommend high volume on whatever you run it through for the best sound).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I bought the guitar used, but it was set up pretty well. The action was absolutely perfect, I had to adjust the pickups a smidge, but overall the setup was good. I did, unfortunately, have a major problem with the strings going out of tune any time I so much as bumped the bridge. If I divebombed, it would go about a note flat, if I pulled back on it, it would go about a note sharp. Ridiculous. But I took it to a guitar store and had it repaired and restrung, and now it holds tune through the most ruthless of torture on that whammy bar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I can sit and play on this puppy for hours and not have any issues with it, so I would most definitely say it would survive years of live play. You may need to replace some hardware somewhere down the road; I know mine, at least, is looking a little weathered... a little. But it's also almost 10 years old. And after 10 years, the guitar itself is ABSOLUTELY astonishing. Beautiful. I would use this guitar, and this guitar only for the rest of my life. I'll be burried with it. Honestly, unless I was playing songs tuned differently (the inability to quickly change tune is the one thing I can't stand with a Floyd Rose bridge), I would only use this one live.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, my impression on this guitar is: WOW. I have never been happier with a guitar (and amp setup for that matter). And I've owned a few in my day. Schecter, Ibanez, Dean, Washburn, Peavey, Jackson, none of them have been equal to this. ESP does the BEST manufacturing of guitars (in my opinion). I've been playing for over half of my life, so that means something. I love everything about this guitar, and the only problem with it has been the knife edge on the bridge wearing over time, causing the tuning issue. (Which should be expected from a Licensed FR. I plan on someday getting an Original FR for it). If I could have 2 or 3 of the same, I would. I knew, from the beginning, that it would be ESP or another Schecter for me, but you will get the MOST bang for your buck out of LTD. I will advise everyone I know to shoot for the MH models.