Price paid: C$ 900
Purchased from: Long & McQuade
Sound — 9
I play in a metal band and this guitar is perfect for it. It's great with any amount of distortion. I run it through a H&K Switchblade and it sounds like a dream. The tone cuts through perfectly, and it doesn't sound muffled or muddy at all. I also play a lot of shred-ish stuff, like Paul Gilbert, and this guitar is awesome for it. It's clean, yet aggressive, and takes on any amount of distortion you want. However, one surprise this guitar has is that no matter how the MH series is marketed and targeted, this guitar is just amazing when playing some clean stuff. It's natural sustain, resonance and reverb are just astonishing. I haven't heard any guitar below a $1000 have these features, and I haven't seen a lot of high end ones have them either. Great surprise. The EMGs are very quiet pickups anyways and don't hum or produce any noise, and the 81-85 is definitely a great combo on this guitar. However, I put dual 85s in the guitar and modded it to 18V as I prefer it like that. But don't get me wrong, on it's own this guitar is a masterful work of ART.
Overall Impression — 9
Great guitar. For the price, it's majestic. I believe when it first came out it was about $1200, but it's slightly cheaper now; I paid CAD 900 for it. It really seems like a $1500 guitar. I've been playing for about 11 years now, and I own a Schecter C7 Hellraiser which is another great guitar, but not a right comparison to the MH, as it's a 7 string. I also own a custom shop guitar called a Scyther, made by a local group of luthiers. The Scyther is a wonderful guitar, it's built to my exact specs, and while it costs twice as much as the MH-400, the feel of them both is pretty similar. I play all my guitars through a H&K Switchblade, which is another good amp I feel, and the MH-400 certainly brings out the best in it. I really like the MH, it's a great guitar. I compared it to the Jackson DKMG, Dean Razorback 255 and Jackson RR5. I chose the MH because it's certainly a better play than the DKMG and Razorback, and while the RR5 feels just as good as the MH, it's got passive Seymour Duncans, and passives aren't something I'm looking to get into now, ever since I started playing actives. All in all, the MH-400 is one great guitar!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've played multiple gigs with this guitar, and literally, have never had any problems. The strap hasn't come off in all the 7 months I've had the guitar, and neither has any of the tuning changed when playing Live. In fact, the tuning stays perfect for 8-10 days on a stretch. I Switch between this guitar and my Schecter C7 Hellraiser in between gigs, and truly, I haven't encountered any problems at all. I don't take a backup to my gigs because I'm pretty sure this guitar isn't going to mess up on stage. It's a solid build, doesn't seem frail or anything.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was definitely well constructed and built to good specifications. Having said that, I notice flaws in all guitar constructions and this one was no different. These are minor flaws that don't actually need 'fixing', but it's not a bad idea to do so, especially if you're recording some songs at the studio and such. Firstly, the string guide had a wrongly screwed nut (it should've gone in 90 degrees flat, but it was screwed in at about 85 I'd say). This was causing my Lower A string to buzz a TINY amount on the first fret. I fixed that, took about 3 hours to do. Apart from this little thing, there wasn't anything else that needed to be fixed, and there definitely wasn't any rust or loose tuning peg or anything. Everything else was perfect, in I haven't had any problems with the guitar ever since.
Features — 9
This is a Made in Korea ESP LTD, see through blue color, Mahogany body, quilted maple top, maple-set neck. I believe this is a 2007 model- 24 extra Jumbo frets with a blazing fast neck! This neck is definitely the best neck I've played on- compared to the Jackson DKMG, Dean Razorback 255, Ibanez RGs (with the Wizard II necks), the MH-400 is definitely the best. The neck fit's right into my hands and lets me run it like Paul Gilbert on crack (OK, I don't know how that's possible really). And this guitar isn't just a one trick pony; comes with EMG 81-85, and surprisingly has an excellent natural sustain. It's great for high gain metal, but it's just as good for clean playing and blues. Comes with a Floyd Rose tremolo. There's two knobs, one for volume and the other for tone, and there's a 3-Way selector. The tone knob actually works, unlike a lot of guitars, and so does the volume. Good construction and design.