Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com (Through Distingo Music)
Sound — 10
I play almost thrash and death metal almost exclusively and this is the ultimate metal axe is combined with the right pedals and amplifier (note: avoid any crappy digital effects. They'll make any guitar sound like sh-t), the EMGs produce no noise at all what'soever however I'd recommend Ernie Ball strings as the Pickups are soo powerful that they will detect even the slightest string vibrations and make your playing sound dirty or sloppy if you use bad strings. So, Ernie Ball or D-Addrio strings are recommended with these EMGs or any other high-output active pickups. The Guitar has a pretty decent clean sound however if you wanna play Joe Satriani or Steve Vai you should go for the Ibanez JS or JEM. This ESP v-500 is for pure f--king metal!
Overall Impression — 10
As I've mentioned before, this is the Ultimate metal axe, if u're into Cannibal Corpse, Cryptopsy, Behemoth, Decapitated or more into thrash like Laaz Rockit, Megadeth, Kayser, Demolition Hammer than you've got the guitar u've been looking for. It also works well for melodic stuff too if u're into it. The EMG81 is the bets pickup out there and u've got two of it! So you can basically play any type of extreme music on that guitar. I've been playing for four years now and I own a crappy Behringer amp and multieffects processor, but I'm saving up to buy a marshal tube amp that has a decent distortion and some pedals rather than the digital one I have now. I've tried this guitar in the studio and on my friends gears and it's just the best guitar I've ever played with, if it were stolen I'd get the same guitar again, I'm literally inlove with this incredible guitar and you will too when you try it out, this has been a very positive review and I know I must be neutral but believe it it's hard when you own such a beauty like that guitar. I did a lot of research b4 I bought it, and compared it to the Dean RazorBack and Jackson V and this guitar just owns them anytime, any day!
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar does withstand live playing, in an underground scene like the Egyptian one this is a super A-class guitar! Bands play Live here with yamahas or pearl rivers and other weird beginner-brands. I think many great guitarists form well-known bands use this exact guitar too, like Abbath from "Immortal", that dude from "The Black Dahlia Murder", and the other dude from "Dying Fetus" that left the band now. Haha The Hardware seems pretty strong and stable I'm just worried if I dropped the guitar it'll surely break one of the "V" horns or legs or whatever you call them. The V design itself isnt as shock absorbing as strats for example. But since this is not a punk rock guitar so I don't think you would have to worry about that as metal guitarists don't mess around and toss the guitar round their necks! I would most certainly use that guitar in a gig without having a backup as this guitar stays in tune, and delivers a sound that is unmatched by any other guitar, I'd just have a totally complete different sound without it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Since I live in Egypt -feel sorry for me please- and I ordered the guitar from a US online store so, of course I had to adjust the action, other than that everything else was great. I can't say if the pickups are well adjusted or not because the output sound depends on personal taste, but I leave 3 millimeters between the pickup and the strings for best results (and it came adjusted to the 3mm I didn't even have to adjust it myself). The only finish-flaw I'd have to say is the glossy pain itself as it leaves finger marks, you have to wash your hand before playing and even in breaks between playing as not to let the oils form your skin ruin the finish or stain., I'd usually prefer a more rough texture than a glossy one, but it's a matter of personal taste.
Features — 10
This is the 2007 Edition of ESP LTD V-500 Guitar which is currently no longer in production and instead renamed to LTD V-401 with the same features. Since it is an LTD it is probably manufactured in Korea or Indonesia. This Guitar has 24XJ frets with a Set-thru neck with the scale of 25.5" made of maple wood and a rosewood fingerboard, it features the earvana compensated nut that works kinda like a bridge saddle is compensated for intonation. The guitar body is made of mahogany wood however the guitar isn't heavy at all. It has a black glossy finish, and a black pickguard. This guitar is similar in shape to the King-v (KV2) guitar more like the one mustaine used, and not like Alexi's randy rhoads or Gibson's flying-V, which is great for reaching the higher notes easily. One of the best features of that guitar is it's Tune-O-Matic bridge with the strings-thru-body, it's just the most natural, tone-delivering bridge ever made, and works perfectly with the 2 powerful EMG 81 active humbucker pickups and doesnt't have the floating bridge-related issues. Each pickup has it's volume knob, and a master tone knob and a pickup toggle. The Grover tuners work great, dunno why all the fuss about not having sperzels. Of course sperzels are better but those are fine too and it's not like you have a whammy bar to dive bomb and mess up your tuning or something.