LTD Viper-1000 Deluxe review by ESP

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (104 votes)
ESP: LTD Viper-1000 Deluxe

Price paid: $ 300

Features — 9
This guitar was made in 2003, Korean factory. Has 22 XJ frets, maple neck, rosewood fretboard with a Les Paul scale neck. The body is made of solid mahogany, plain top, no top and the weight is less than my V100. The finish is a black non vintage paint, and it is very durable as it is.The pickups are EMG HZ-1, medium-high output, I think with ceramic magnets, 2 knobs (1 volume, 1 tone) and a 3 way LP style switch. The bridge is a TOM with tail piece, black and the tuners are ESP non locking, black finish. I bought it with an ESP case, but my friend told me it was purchased later.

Sound — 8
It can go from Jazz (the pickups are kind of equilibrated plain sounding), to metal. It gives you the great possibility to shape your sound from the amp eq. (9/10 for this). Somehow it lacks a little in the dynamics, my V100 stays better on this chapter. (8/10 for this). The background noise is minimal, and I changed the volume pot with a push pull for a split, and I can confirm that the noise increase is minimal as well, when I pull the switch. (10/10 for this). So we can play on it like every kind of music style, I tried Pantera, Death and Metallica (hehe, this had to be done on this guitar), to jazz (God it performs so well on the middle with those jazzy chords).

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Here is the greatest achievement from the LTD factory, the action can get as low as possible, and the neck profile is the most comfortable I ever played after the stratocaster neck. Now I have 11-50 strings on it, I tried 10-46 and I didn't had to do a major setup, and the neck saddle (nut) performs well, no buzz or dead notes. The sustain could been a little better, but it is ok, you can do solos on it without thinking about losing the sound between the notes. I didn't had problems with this baby until now, and I hope that I will play her at leas some years before something serious has to be done on her. Some guys said the neck could get a little sticky on the back, but I think they don't wash their hands properly before playing her.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar was played on big concerts by the Hand In Chains band, and performed great, and after 10 years is still in great shape (the finish is still in good shape, the neck is very stable and the tuners are doing the job very well (2 weeks of 1 hour per day playing, and only E string had 5 cents down detuning), so again that confirm the maple neck is strong and stable. The fret wires were never changed or leveled, but there are in like 95% good condition after 10 years of abuse, I do not bullsh-t you.

Overall Impression — 9
A good guitar that does the job I want, it can be played live without fear of retuning after every song, solid construction with very small tolerances and no finish flaws. I think of changing the pups with some Gibson 57's, and go a little classic with her, or some Zakk Wylde EMGs and go crazy. I can recommend this guitar for the intermediate players, for live or even for experienced ones for the studio (it cuts through the mix in a good way, no unwanted frequencies. It worth the 300 usd with the case included, if stolen, I will kill the guy first and than buy another one with the money from his pocket.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    les paul 1960
    I swear to God that my review was for LTD EX 351!! And didn't soud like that WTF ULTIMATE GUITAR!!!!!
    I picked this up in Olympic White off Craigslist today for $400 with an ESP case. The passive pickups are perfect for this guitar. Some reviewers incorrectly listed that the '59 is in the it is in the neck and a Custom 5 is in the bridge. I can't overstate how great this guitar sounds through my Peavy 6505+, particularly while playing thrash music such as early Metallica and Slayer. I had my doubts about buying a LTD, I've owned 3 ESP (not LTD) guitars in the past and ended up getting rid of them because I didn't find they suited me. However, the Korean workmanship is amazing on this instrument and I'm putting my Gibson SG Standard in the corner for a while while I hammer out some stuff on this monster!!
    Does anybody have a problem with this guitar when you've got a strap on it, and its weight just drops the neck down? Instead of it being where I need it to be, I have to do double duty and put as much effort into holding it up as I have to for playing it. It's slowly becoming a big headache. I've tried a bunch of different straps, and still the same result... What do I do?