LTD SA-2 Sambora review by ESP

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  • Sound: 5
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (23 votes)
ESP: LTD SA-2 Sambora
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Price paid: € 412

Purchased from: ProMusicTools

Sound — 5
Well I've played it through a Marshall Haze 40, Blackstar HT1-R and a VHT Ultra 6 Special. It's not bad but it's not great. The Bridge pup lacks bite and the neck sounds bit muddy. But you can compensate for that by adjusting your amp settings and tackle a lot of styles from Blues to metal. I just don't think the The ESP LH100 suit this guitar with its heavy basswood body. So because of this I'm giving a 5 out of 10. This is only weak point in my eyes. I'd planned to change the pickups out for DiMarzio PAF when I decided to buy it to match Richie's sound. I had the guitar 2 weeks ago and only got round to installing the DiMarzio PAFs last week. I must say this has dramatically improved the sound and vesatility of the guitar. And with the addition of having push pulls on the tone knobs so I can split the coils. You can play Blues to metal to anything in between. So with DiMarzio's I give a 8.5 out of 10.

Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing a while. I play a bit of everything from Richie Sambora (solo stuff more than Bon Jovi) to The Darkness and beyond. What ever sounds good and keeps me sharp really. I used to have quite a few guitars but decided to keep the one I really like a sell the rest. If it were lost or stolen I would be piss off cos it's fast becoming my favorite. But... I'd be stuffed cos they're now discontinued.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I will say Strap locks... Get some, It's heavy. I've had a jam with a couple of others not really used it live but I'm confident it could stand up to live play easy. I always take two guitars with me to Jams or small gigs, I like to mix and match. I do find I favour this over my other guitars. Finish is good and will last. Only pet hate in its a very shiney black gloss so it shows up paw prints really well so I'm constantly cleaning it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Overall I find the bulid quality to be pretty good. Frets had been finished properly and there were no imprefections that I can see. The Shop gave it a setup so I don't know what it was like out of the box. It does have a really low action and there's is a hole between the end of the fret board and the bridge pickup so you can get an allen keys in to adjust the truss rod. So no need to remove covers or take off the neck which make life easier. Also the routing for the floyd rose is nice and deep so you can pull up to three semi tones. And something I really like when plugging in a guitar lead you feel it click into place so you know its a solid fit.

Features — 8
As we probably all know this guitar is a copy of Richie Sambora's original made by his friend, guitar tech and luthier Chris Hofschnider. The body is basswood with a flat top and back (no gut cut). It's a double cutaway which gives a comfortable reach of the dusty end of the fret board. The neck is a bolt on maple with a rosewood board and a rounded heal which adds to fret access and comfort. Now for the tecky stuff.. Made in China, 12" radius fret board with 22 extra jumbo frets. 25.5 inch scale, U-shaped neck - I would say slim not thin (hard to explain but it is very comfortable and won't slow you down), chrome hardware, ESP tuners, Floyd Rose special double locking trem, 3 way selector switch, ESP LH100 humbucker in the neck and an ESP LH100 in the brige, two Volume and two tone (Les Paul style config). Also comes with the Allan keys for adjusting the floyd - but there was no booklet, that doesn't really bother me but it would annoy some people.

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