LTD Viper-400 review by ESP

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (138 votes)
ESP: LTD Viper-400
2

Price paid: $ 550

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Sound — 9
I usually play lead guitar hardrock, metal, shred, and this guitar sounds kickass for it. It doesn't have a very good tone for blues. Very punchy sound that kicks ass with lots of gain. I've played SG Supremes and high-end Jackson's. This guitar is right up there IMO. The EMG's cancel out a lot of noise, but you can still get awesome harmonix and feedback out of it. I play it through a crate solid state amp btw. It sounds even better through a tube amp. If you think this guitar doesn't sound good, either: you are using it wrong; it's not set up right; your amp isn't set up right; you have shitty equipment hookedup to the guitar.

Overall Impression — 9
I really love the way this guitar plays. It is every bit as good as a Gibson SG, if not better. If it got stolen, I would probobly save up my money, and buy a custom shop ESP, painted white, black hardware, and an ebony fretboard with out those damn flag (minus the L) inlays, and a black floyd rose. When I bought this guitar, I also put it up to a Jackson RR5, a Strat Showmaster, and an Ibanez RGX. This guitar kicked their asses, so I got it. If you buy this guitar, go to EMGinc's website, and see what cool accessories you can get for this guitar. Theres a few gain boosters and EQ things you can put on this. Just for the heck of it, I stuck a SG pickguard on it to see what it looked like. Very cool. I think that's all I have to say about this guitar for now. But always, you should try it before you buy it.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is tough, and so is the hardware. It has a heel on the back of the headstock to prevent injury in case you drop it. I put dunlop straplocks on it just in case. I wouldn't use it at a big show without backup. I wouldnt trust any guitar to do this for me though. The paint is nice, and I keep it good and spiffy. Squeaky clean. It may be Korean, but its not a piece of shit. It won't bitch if you play around with another guy's guitar either.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I got this from Sam Ash, and this guitar was out in the storage place, but it seemed good. When I got home I put a set of 11's on it, so naturally, there was some setup work to do. Damn near perfect intonation, and its got a nice feel not too different than an SG. The pickup Switch is a little tough, but it gets the job done good. The tuners aren't exactly as smooth as a baby's ass, but they work fine. My axe stays in good tune. The tonepros Tune-O-Matic bridge is nice. The knobs are all good. I messed around with the pickup height a bit to get a hotter sound. I would rather have no inlays than the flag inlays. They just aren't that cool. And I think the 12th fret model name inlay looks out of place with the flag inlays. And crooked. I think this guitar would also look and sound better with an ebony fretboard. The black on wood looks kind of hokey, juno? The set neck and cutaway makes for a thin heel, and easy access to the top frets. No real flaws that I can see in this though.

Features — 8
This guitar is pretty sweet. As you can tell, its god a SG type body. Set neck. Made in Korea. Tune-O-Matic (but I'm contemplating putting a floyd rose on it). It's got a decent 3-way Switch for the EMG '81s. One volume knob, one tone knob. EMG inc also makes all kinds of goodies you can add on with EMG pickups. It's a pretty heavy duty guitar. Its not as thin and light as a SG, but not as thick and heavy as a Paul. It has a binding on the neck, which looks good. The active pickups take batteries, but I haven't had to replace them yet after 5 months, and I usually play about 8-20 hours a week. One very important feature people overlook/don't notice on this guitar is the heel on the back of the headstock. It prevents the headstock from snapping off if the guitar falls back. Kudos to ESP for that. I only scored features as an 8 because I would like to see a floyd rose and some more knobs to mess around with.

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