Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: used
Sound — 7
This is my first neck thru instrument, had to get used to it. Cause of the maple neck it had a bright tone, the EMG's couldn't disguise it. It came stock with 2 EMG 81's, the 81 in the neck is alright. I had a spare ahb-2 blackout, so I tried that in the neck, it was wayyyy to bassy so I put the 81 back in. I mean the tone is alright, I just think it should have come with a more versatile pick up combo (like an 85 in the neck or 89/81tw combo). I play all genres, but I keep this one just for metal, it handles the drop tunning well, but I am still not convinced this is the best sound this axe has to offer. When I have time, I'm going to experiment with some passive pickups.
Overall Impression — 6
- I dabble in metal / neoclassical / technical stuff. I bought this guitar for that reason, it fits that genre perfectly. I have it tunned at drop C, so I can't really use it for cleaner genres (again I wish it had a different pickup in the neck, that way I could have used it for other genres...) - been playing for about 4 years, I have a ESP LTD MH-400 (made in Korea, my favorite guitar), a mij Fender Stratocaster (got this for a steal, it was my beater guitar, modded the hell out off it), a 1983 Burny Les Paul (put in a pair of Duncan antiquities, it can destroy any Gibson). I use a Vox vt30, it is a great little amp, a 535q crybaby is the only pedal i really use. - if it were stolen, I would get a fixed bridge version of a rhoads guitar or an ESP eclipse. - I love the shape. - I already listed out my peevs about this guitar. -the interesting bit, I have experience in making and modding guitars, the way i figured it, I am not going to compromise on this guitar, I don't care how much its worth, I bought it to paly, not to look pretty. I took things into my own hands. I fixed the frets, sanded the neck finish off and made the profile thinner (more comfortable), I also butchered the heel joint and carved it the way the guys at ESP should have made it in the first place. Now that all the saw dust has settled, the paint has been touched up, the fret work done, and the action set up just the way i like it, it plays like a dream. - I got this cause I love the shape and got it for a great bargain, so I didn't really compare, I just read reviews on line and the specs, I assumed that it would be surpass my ltd, I was mistaken. - It needed work, but now it is alive and well, it is a good guitar, not great, other than its shape, there is nothing about it that is memorable, well not for the good reasons anyway.
Reliability & Durability — 9
- the shape is a bit fragile, its a rhaods after all, so you have to handle with care. - the hardware is top notch, it will last - strap buttons are solid, but it should have come with strap locks - it has a floating trem so you need to have a back up guitar - the finish is good and thick, it will last.
Action, Fit & Finish — 3
- got it used, cannot comment - the bridge intonation is amazing (now I see the difference between an OFR and a LFR.) - shape is very comfortable to play sitting and standing. - Now comes the part what cause me to write the review, the FLAWS (ESP employees, I hope you read this) - the neck. The online description LIED. It's supposed to have a thin U profile. THIS had a FAT neck. I have an ltd mh-400, that has a thin U, I measured the difference in circumference, there was a difference of 4mm. It may not seem as much, but when you are used to a certain profile, trust me your hands can feel the difference. It was probably due to the thick layer of lacquer (or whatever the hell it was on the neck) - the locking nut was a size too small. It is an R2, when it should have been a R3 or R4. They messed up cutting the slot for the locking nut, it wasn't leveled flat, it had not only a shim but a small piece of sand paper to fill in the gap. - the fret work: now I understand that I live in a HOT an humid region (the normal temperature here is 36-45 Celsius) so i can understand the excuse that the climate has an effect on the guitar, but still, the corners of the frets, 40% of them had risen out off the fret board. I have an ltd, and have gigged with it regularly, THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO THAT. - if you tilt the guitar in the light, you can see the paint how the finish has slightly indented on where the neck meets the wings ( did the guys in the factory not put primer and level it before painting?) - the HEEL - for a neck thru, the heel off this thing should have been MUCH thinner, it is not like having shaved off a few centimeters was in any way going to cause issues for structural integrity. It is way to bulky how it comes stock.
Features — 9
- Not sure when it was manufactured - 24 XJ frets - Black with creme pinstripes, gold hardware - 3 piece maple neck-thru, I think it has alder wings. - neck had a clear finish - Original Floydrose - 2 81's and a PA2 afterburner had been installed - single volume, 3 way pickup selector, EMG PA2 - Gotoh tuners - fitting hardcase