Purchased from: The Planet Of Sound (Online music shop)
Sound — 10
This guitar sounds good for most music styles. I mostly play metal and shred, and it's excellent for those, but I've tried playing jazz and blues on it, and it still gives a great result. I use a Line 6 Spider II amp, and if you put the amp model on "insane", and crank the Drive right up, then select the bridge pickup on the guitar, with the volume and tone fully open, then you have a really great metal/metalcore tone. I could play Children Of Bodom riffs for hours on end using these settings. I'm sure this sound is possible to achieve on most modern amps, but I have yet to try it on a Marshall (I'm sure it would sound just as good, if not better). If you add a bit of reverb to the same sound, then select the neck or middle pickup, then you have an insane shred tone. I like to play a lot of neo-classical stuff, like Yngwie Malmsteen, and this guitar sounds almost as good as an old '70s Strat (like Yngwie's) so it's great for that too. As I said, I've tried playing jazz and blues, and for those, it delivers a really bright, clear tone, which I love. It's impossible to find a tone which sounds bad with this guitar. You just can't lose. It's pretty much noiseless as well (unless you're playing next to a computer).
Overall Impression — 9
This is a great guitar for playing metal, and shred. I've been playing since I was 9 (I'm now 14), and I've played lots of amazing guitars (electric and acoustic), I've made my own guitar, and I've played through lots of amps as well. Unfortunately for me, being 14, it takes me a long time to save up for new equipment, so my ESP is the only good guitar I own, as my self-built guitar isn't extremely playable, although it does sound good. I use a Line 6 Spider II amp, as I said earlier, and I don't use any effects pedals, as I don't need them (yet). If this guitar was stolen, I wouldn't replace it, as I can't afford to, but I would probably save for another couple of years, and then buy one again. I love this guitar mostly because it has helped my playing improve tonnes and it looks amazing. I just hate that little problem with the tuning. I will probably buy a Fender Classic series 70s Strat, once I have enough money, as it will be great for shredding, and then I can keep my ESP in drop-D tuning and use the Strat for playing shred. I get the feeling that most people won't take this review seriously, as I'm 14, but I have built a guitar from scratch (I even wound the pickups), I've worked out a Bach piece from piano music (I'm grade 5 on the piano), and I've taken advantage of pretty much every shop on Denmark Street (London), by playing as many guitars as I can get my hands on. I don't have guitar lessons either. So if the words "Why would I listen to the advice of a 14-year-old?" have come out of your mouth in the last minute or so, you can bloody well shove them back in there.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't used this guitar live, yet, but I look forward to doing so. I would use it without a backup, as I don't have a choice. I'm not planning on using a second-hand Squier Strat Live, although my home-made Les-Paul style guitar is pretty safe. Anyway, this guitar stays in tune very well, thanks to the thru-neck construction and the locking nut. The only problem I have with tuning, is that I Switch between Drop-D tuning and Standard tuning alot, and I have to get the alan keys out for that, as you have to retune all the strings, because of the unbalance that retuning the bottom sting by a whole tone causes. This is all down to the Floyd Rose tremolo system. If you want to retune alot, then I recommend getting the Non-Trem version of this guitar (the LTD MH-400NT), which is exactly the same, apart from there is no tremolo system or locking nut. The stings drop off the back of the bridge, through the body, and this makes the tuning just as stable. The finish is very glossy, and seems reasonably durable. I can't see it wearing off anytime soon. The hardware attracts condensation, but hasn't rusted on me, and looks great. The strap buttons are just as solid as the neck joint, which is saying something, as it is a thru-neck instrument.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The guitar was set up reasonably well, I think. I made some adjustments, though. I lowered the action a bit, adjusted the pickup height, and the intonation was a bit dodgy, so I reset that. Although these things should have been done at the factory/shop, I think it should be expected to have to set up your guitar, when buying online. I didn't have any problem making these adjusments (the intonation was a bugger, though).