Sound — 9
I play hardcore/metal so this guitar is right up my alley. It's pretty much the sould purpose of this guitar. The EMG 81/85 set up is incredible, they pick up everything. You can feel them, I use to have EMG HZ's on a previous guitar and these are on another level. I play through a 150W Spider II Head on a 4X12 Laney cab, this set up is perfect for the active metal musician playing shows/practicing.
Overall Impression — 10
I am very glad I bought this guitar I was set on the H-1000 but I got a good deal on this so I bought it. Now I think I am going to keep it. The satin black finish is a really nice touch. This guitar is pretty much a top line ESP model with top line hardware. The guitar was designed for the metal enthusiast. My two complaints with the guitar are as follows. They but a skull next to the LTD logo which I think takes this guitar from a serious shredder to sort of illigitamate look. It's very cheesy and dumb looking, but I kind of got over it. The bolt on the front where your strap holds on to is screwed in on the back of the guitar and positions so that the headstock wants to slide down to the ground. I had to buy a padded stap so the guitar would stay up, if you don't you will have back pain. Overall I would reccomend this guitar to anyone Who wants to trash out and play metal or hardcore. Great quality at a good price, the 24.75" scale pushes the frets a little closer which is good if you move around a lot. I couldn't see anyone buying this to play anything but metal as that is what it's set up to do.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The guitar has held up fine, it's still pretty much Brand New. I have owned ESP before and never had any reliability issues. The stain black finish will wear on the back of the neck after time of sweaty hands, I am thinking about treating it with something thats smoother to improve the feel of sliding my hand (even though it's not necessary).
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar is top quality all the way. The guitar was used so I'm not sure if it was adjusted but it's set up perfectly. The action is the best I have ever felt, I don't think you could get any better. The ebony fret board allows you to slide your fingers with ease. The use Grover tunners which are fine but I wish they would have put some sperzel locking tunners instead. The Earvana compinstating nut is a great feature.
Features — 9
The ESP Ltd. Viper-500 features a mahogany body, set neck construction, EMG active humbucking pickups, 24 fret ebony fingerboard w/ 12th fret model name inlay, black hardware, Grover tuners, Earvana compensated nut and more!