LTD Viper-400 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 6
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.2 Good
  • Users' score: 8 (138 votes)
ESP: LTD Viper-400
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Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: doug terror (esp endorsee)

Sound — 8
Despite having EMG active pickups, this guitar retains a lot of the character of the Gibson SG. A very very dark midrange dominated sound. The sustain is definitely on par with that of an SG and the neck profile is also similar to that of a slim taper Gibson 60s neck profile, which is to say it is of a substantial size, but not so large that it gets in the way of playing leads/solos. I play primarily hardcore and metal. I a run a 2nd Mesa Single Recto and a Marshall 1960a 4X12 cab. The heavy low end sounds this guitar is capable of is truly amazing. For a brutal powerchord driven sound (think Hatebreed) I could not honestly think of a better guitar. I find myself turning up the treble on my amp more than I do with most other guitars, because this guitar is very dark sounding. Not say it is inadequate for leads, just not as inclined as others. I also find the EMG81 in the neck to be useless. I do not like it as a neck pickup for any guitar, and it seems to be the worst in this one. This guitar by nature has a very fat warm sound, on top of the fact that the EMG81 is more of lead oriented pickup, the neck position is simply an overkill, as the lower frequencies become too "boomy" to really be used for anything I would like. I plan to Switch it out for an EMG60 which I would use for clean sounds, as EMG81s are just not inclined to clean sounds.

Overall Impression — 8
This guitar is a great blend of modern and old school features. Definitely geared towards rock/metal oriented sounds. Whats nice with ESP are all the great brand name products you get stock on many models. This one in particular, the EMG pickups and earvana nut. If you are a hardrock or metal guitarist, and leaning towards Gibson, I highly recomend considering ESP/LTD instead, as they are a much better value and much better suited to the style.

Reliability & Durability — 6
This guitar is built just as strong as any other set neck/stop tail guitar out there, so make sure above all else you dont ever drop it!

Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The fit and finish is excellent, save for a very small region of neck binding which extrudes out just a tiny bit too far. It is slightly noticable on your fretting hand, but not enough to make it really detrimental to the playabillity of a guitar.

Features — 8
2004 Viper 400. Korean made. 24.75" scale. 24 jumbo frets. Mahogany body. Mahogany set neck w/rosewood fretboard. Bound neck and head. Transparent red finish. Body is a variation of the Gibson SG double cut style. Dual EMG 81 active pickups w/single tone and volume knobs and 3 way Gibson style selector. All standard Viper 400 features plus sperzel locking tuners dunlop straplocks installed by the factory.

34 comments sorted by best / new / date

    graspchoke!!!!!
    we are all sick, that is why Christ came to become our Doctor. This is not a joke, for life is not a joke. Jesus says; I came for the sick not for the well, and sadly to say, we are sick because of our eniquities, and He took them all and hang them on the cross. He is our ransom.
    saito816
    zachg wrote: graspchoke!!!!! wrote: we are all sick, that is why Christ came to become our Doctor. This is not a joke, for life is not a joke. Jesus says; I came for the sick not for the well, and sadly to say, we are sick because of our eniquities, and He took them all and hang them on the cross. He is our ransom. If hes such a good doctor how come he's dead....
    He's not...
    Anjohl
    I played an LTD Viper 1000 with Duncans tonight, which is the next step up from this. Wow. the body shape is hard to describe, it's part SG, part LP. I REALLY loved the feel of the 1000. I also played an MH-400, which has the same pickups as the Viper 400. Yowsers. If you combined the pickups on the MH with the viper, you would have an amazing rythym guitar. And of course, since all ESp vipers have 24 frets, it's good for the occaisonal lead as well. I was shopping for either an SG or a Viper, thinking about going with an Epiphone Prophecy Ex SG. That thought has all but dissapeared from my mind now. I am either getting the 400 or the 200 more 1000. my only decision is whether or not I want the black 1000 with EMG's or the white 1000 with Duncan 59's. ESP really is a great guitar company.
    SaintsinneR82
    totally agree with anjohl..i love my viper..better than any sg ive ever played...that prophecy sg really aint that great i was really let down...cause i wanted one bad..but since ive converted to esp/ltd..its vipers for me all day!...and as far as the headstock being heavy jus have a tech install your upper strap button on the horn...bam problem fixed...next guitar for me...an eclipse..or the white viper1000 with duncans and gold hardware!
    zachg
    graspchoke!!!!! wrote: we are all sick, that is why Christ came to become our Doctor. This is not a joke, for life is not a joke. Jesus says; I came for the sick not for the well, and sadly to say, we are sick because of our eniquities, and He took them all and hang them on the cross. He is our ransom.
    If hes such a good doctor how come he's dead....
    kylelagz
    i got mine for about $550 in sunburst with the duncans. and lemme tell you that this thing can take anything you thhrow at it, litterally and figuratively haha. i have had no problems except my inpunt jack gets loose every now and then. and btw if you put ernie ball beefy slinkys on it it sounds amazing!
    eirkir
    I've bought Viper 400 weeks ago. Great axe, excellent metal sound and very good neck. BUT! If you never played XJ frets you have to try before buy! Most of people hate XJ frets. I love them ))))
    bonekrap44
    yeah im gonna go get this guitar now. lol this thing looks awesome. the ony other viper i consider better is the one with the clockwork graphics (it also casts like $999.99 lol) but this one is awesome. good job esp
    humminamp
    i've had a Viper 400 for about 2 years now and i love every single thing about it. however! i have just now been noticing serious neck issues after upgrading to a .012 gauge set of strings and almost immediately the neck started to warp. I'm thinking it's because of the set in neck and the fact that its such a long neck with all 24 frets. i've adjusted the trust rod as far as i can and the neck still wont straighten out. if anyone has any advice or experienced the same kind of thing please let me know!
    Stev1515
    I own this guitar since 2 months and i have to say: "Its ****ing awesome". I play it mostly through different Line 6 amps and it always sounds great. I play in a Rockband and it fits but its made for metal .
    robolead
    Just received one of these in a trade with See Thru Black Cherry. Looks, sounds and plays sweeeeet!
    sonicbroham
    Got my Viper 400 about a month ago in white with duncans and it plays amazing. The neck is so slick and it roars with heavy distortion AND has great clean tones. perfect weight too unlike a lot of gibsons I've played. Awesome geetar for any style
    Jester.Race
    I have no problem with relgious people...but what the ****? Chill out and don't force it on others that aren't asking to be preached too.
    Shor-T Zero
    I have this guitar in the See-Through Black Cherry color...and it is f'ing gorgeous. Thud, if you are looking for a metal or hard rock guitar that can still churn out some great tones for everything else, you found the right one. EMG81 in the bridge = sweet dist. and pinch harmonics while the EMG85 in the neck = full bluesy tone, but still great for leads of any kind. And then pickup selector in the middle using both = a great rhythm sound with a good helping of bass punch. I seriously recommend this guitar to anyone, and to take a look at the Black Cherry line...it rocks extreme socks.
    Thud
    Well that's about enough of that. Scroll to the Top and notice the name of the website. I have not problem with religion, but when i want guitar, i come here. I've been thinking about getting one of these for quite awhile now. I like the Viper line.
    longwoodmobb
    im getting it just wish it wasnt so expensive (im only 15) anyone who hates the active emgs are mest up in the head big time
    LakeboDom
    alex@ultimate wrote: this is an awsome guitar i have it in in the see-thru black cherry finish and it looks really cool
    me too =)
    dimebagrocks!
    I'm saving up for this guitar. It is seriously good. I agree with the reviews. Anyone looking for a new guitar should try out this.
    .:Darkness:.
    ill bet if you stnad up to play it the headstock hits you in the knees...i hate that...
    How can the headstock hit you in the knees? Unless its top heavy and you dont bother to hold onto it. seriously. btw nice guitar, ESP make great metal guitars and they always have.
    Tullettalica
    I have this and its awsome! The pickups just rule! Great for metal, punk, blues, all genres! Great distorted and clean tones.
    cheames
    ill bet if you stnad up to play it the headstock hits you in the knees...i hate that...
    ESPM200
    Now this guitar is very awsome the active emgs is what makes this guitar sure they have a little bit of fuz but its still awsome the neck is really comfortable to
    alex@ultimate
    this is an awsome guitar i have it in in the see-thru black cherry finish and it looks really cool
    Guglet
    I was considering buying this guitar and i still am. But in AUS it costs alot more and you have to put down a $500 deposite just to get it into the store. What happens if i dont like it when it gets there.