LTD SC-500 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (2 votes)

Price paid: $ 100

Sound — 7
The guitar is actually the signature guitar for Stephen Carpenter (Thus explaining the SC prefix), albeit a lower end model. Stephen Carpenter is the lead guitarist for Deftones which is a more alternative metal style band. If anything, I would most closely relate them to Nirvana. I play a lot of progressive metal, melodeath, metalcore, etc. So the sound that the guitar offered wasn't exactly my style. Another thing to note is that the guitar has all Duncan Designed pickups, meaning that they are lower quality pickups which cannot compare to original Seymour Duncans. In return, you get a much more bland sounding guitar than what it could really be producing. I suggest if you are going to be sticking with this guitar, you buy some new pickups to compliment the guitar. Other than that, the guitar is pretty versatile and can play many types of genres. However, this makes it a jack of all trades, meaning that the guitar can play many things but doesn't really excel at any of them (At least with the stock pickups).

Overall Impression — 9
As stated before, I am a metal head and while Deftones are partially metal, they are not the type of music I would normally play. Other than that, the guitar is surprisingly good. $100 bought me a solid guitar with the only bad thing about it being the pickups. Out of all the guitars I have bought and traded, this one was a keeper because it was one of my first and it felt just right for me, it being heavy and having a thick neck (I warn some players out there, this definitely isn't a Wizard neck so if you want something thin, look the other way). Sadly though, if someone were to steal it or if it were to break, I would not buy another one because of two things; A) Although the guitar is solid, I do not feel I would need to put down more for it, especially when I have things superior compared to it. B) This model has been discontinued for a while. It would be very difficult for me to obtain another one, let alone obtain it in the perfect condition in which I have received from my friend.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Though the guitar does not shine in the sound department, the guitar is built like a tank. It is unexpectedly heavy (This may or may not be a problem, depending if you lose stamina quickly during a Live show or not) and the neck-through design means that the neck will be very hard to displace or warp, let alone crack or snap off. Pour a thick gloss all over it and you have yourself a guitar that you could use on Live shows and not worry about anything other than your playing performance. The strap buttons are also solid, as you don't want your guitar dropping to the ground when you are playing. Really, the only thing I'd worry about is that the Duncan Designed pickups are not good. Even so, pickups are not one likely to fail unless you intentionally abuse it. Would I use it as my primary guitar? Eh, unless I have nothing better, no. Would I use it without a backup? Definitely, as this thing is like the Kalashnikov of the Red Army.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When I got it, the action was setup nicely. My friend said that he didn't modify it at all and in fact, he hardly owned it for more than a month and so the guitar was still sort of new. The pickups were adjusted perfectly and the frets were also aligned perfectly, as it all should be. The neck is a neck-through, something often associated with higher end guitars and so the neck was nice as well. The guitar, to my surprise, didn't have any flaws in it. I would have expected something of a much lower quality, especially since I payed so little for it (Neither did my friend).

Features — 10
I am not exactly sure what year this guitar was made in, but my guess would be around 2000, more or less during the Nirvana punk rock/grunge craze. I do know it was made in Korea though (As most ESP LTDs are nowadays). The guitar itself has 24 jumbo frets all packed into a 25.5" scale neck-through design. It is totally encased in black gloss with a small white gloss strip running the span of the fretboard and head. The whole guitar is made of basswood while the fretboard is rosewood. It features the basic super-Strat design with a passive H-H-S (Two humbuckers and one single coil in the neck) pickup setup and a tone and volume Switch. The bridge is your average Tune-O-Matic fixed bridge. My Experience: as I received the guitar from a friend who originally bought it, I cannot accurately describe in what condition the guitar came in when he bought it, but I presume it was setup correctly just like most other guitars ought to be. Going from my own perspective, the guitar was setup fine with a good action, pickups, etc. The solid black finish looked splendid and without a scratch in sight. My friend also gave me a case which came with it. I presume wherever he bought it from had the case included with the guitar, as the case has ESP engraved into it.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I think it has the bad picture there, but the axe must be a tough beast nice review
    They are both alternative rock/grunde-ish type bands. I don't listen to that type of stuff but many of my friends who like early 90's grunge also liked Deftones.
    deftones are like korn and coal chamber aka nu metal... nirvana is like alice in chains, pearl jam and soundgarden...
    I am not comparing the bands. I know that they are different. The point was that the guitar suits any of those styles of music. Hope this clarifies your discussion.