Price paid: $ 711
Purchased from: Axemusic.com
Sound — 8
The EMG 81s are excellent for my style of playing, as I play metal (death, thrash, black). The pickups produce no feedback on my practice amp, and has a very sharp attack. The sound from the bridge pickup is very sharp with a lengthy sustain. The sound from the neck pickup is not as sharp, with an increased low end and a lengthy sustain. The mahogany construction of the guitar gives it a very clear, heavy sound used in most styles of metal (unlike alder bodies). The guitar is not suitable for clean sounds as the EMGs have mid scoop. The clean tone is quite dull. However, the guitar is remarkable with mid to high distortion/overdrive. It can produce very powerful chugging riffs and crystal clear guitar solos that utilze the higher registers of the fretboard.
Overall Impression — 9
I play in a blackened death metal band (think Immortal meets Nile meets Emperor) and this guitar is perfect for slaying the masses. I have been playing for roughly three years, but that being said, I can play complex riffs (Children Of Bodom riffs, Megadeth riffs, Slayer riffs). My other gear consists of a budget priced Yamaha Strat copy and an Ibanez 4 string bass. If my axe was stolen, I would first destroy the person Who stole it, and if I cannot find it, perhaps order another one (tough I am quite short on cash). The shape is unmistakeable. The horns give the guitar a very aggresive look, fitting to it's intended purpose. The one setback is the black nickel hardware. The black dye wear out quickly. However, the Earvana compensated nut and the grover tuners are a definate plus. When I was looking to purchase a guitar, I also looked at the ESP EX-400, but decided against that because of the 22 fret setup and the fact that the guitar was unbalanced in that the guitar always felt heavier on the neck side. I chose this guitar for the amazing price and excellent playability.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The guitar has two horns that are quite long and are prone to bumps. Apart from that, the body and neck of the guitar are very solid. The hardware is of high quality, though I replaced the Standard strap buttons with Schaller strap locks. I can depend on this guitar without a backup. The finish on the black nickel parts of the guitar can rub off, especially the bridge.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar arrived through a courier service from another city. The action is a bit low and produces a slight buzzing when fretting the lower strings at certain frets. The pickups are adjusted so that they produce roughly the same amount of noise. Apart from the action, everything else was perfect. The finish had no scratches or dents and the wires were bundled for cleanliness.
Features — 9
Brand spanking new, the V-500 is ESP's replacement "King V" shaped guitar after the departure of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine. The V-500 is manufactured in Korea, as are most mid to high end LTD model guitars. The guitar features 24 Extra Jumbo frets with the model name at the 12th fret. The body of the guitar is mahogany, while the neck is maple with a rosewood top. The finish is a simple black satin. The bridge is Standard Tune-O-Matic, with the strings through the guitar body. The V-500 uses Grover tuners, which are much better than the ESP brand Standard tuners that come equipped with lower end models. The pickups are dual EMG 81s, and the controls are Volume, Volume, Tone, and Three Way Selector. Perhaps the most intresting feature of this guitar is that it comes Standard with the Earvana compensated nut. This special guitar nut improves the intonation of the guitar in the lower frets (from 1st fret to 12th), a problem that has plagued many guitar players of the past.