Price paid: $ 225
Purchased from: Private Seller
Sound — 8
The sound is good, I play this clean or through an DS-1 Boss distortion or Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Russian, the EMG HZ works fine. I use 0.10 D'Addario strings and the sound is punchy, clear when is clean and really good with distortions, fat and not too brighter. Perfect for hard rock and metal rhythms.
Overall Impression — 10
I have this guitar, an ESP Traditional strat, and a pair of entry level yamahas. I've been playing over 5 or 6 years and my style is hard rock and metal, also a little bit of classics (not Beatles but Mozart and Beethoven) and this guitar work well in any style but is metal oriented instrument. Is heavy (in the weight way) so, you better use it with a good strap. In my opinion this guitar have one of the better price/quality relationship, is a really good guitar for the money. If you make some changes like substitute the EMGs for the active ones or Seymour Duncans, depending what you like, and better tuners, this guitar can be great, almost perfect. This guitar is no longer available but if were stolen, I try to buy a Viper-401 or an ESP Viper. Others high end Vipers are fabulous too but I don't like luxury finishes. If you can try or own this guitar, you will do it. Are not comparison to others on his range.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar has a solid finish and construction, I think that this one can withstand live playing and resist years of use and abuse. The strap buttons are Dunlop straplock, the original owner change this, and was a good idea. The tuners are pretty decent and works fine, are solid but seems like the weak point in this guitar, are ESP generic and I could not guarantee their resistance.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought this to a private seller, the guitar was pre-owned, so I can badly say nothing about the setup factory, but I can say this, the construction is perfect, really solid guitar, all hardware are perfectly adjusted, jack, tuners, and bridge are really solid, not loose at all. The paint job is good, totally flawless.
Features — 9
This is a ESP/LTD Viper 301, Korean made, I don't know the year. Is a SG-like guitar but with a slightly offset, beautiful design. The neck has 24 frets, flag inlays, Mahogany wood, and rosewood fretboard, with white (now little bit creamy) binding. Body is also mahogany and in this case, all (body and neck) are solid black. Tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece. ESP tuners and EMG HZ passive pickups, 1 volume and 1 tone knobs and 3 position PU selector.