Esprit 5 review by Fret King

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  • Sound: 5
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 5
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 4.8 (9 votes)
Fret King: Esprit 5

Price paid: £ 350

Purchased from: Brighton Guitar Co

Sound — 5
I play all sorts of music, especially when jamming on my own, but this is the guitar I "rock out" with the most. It can handle pretty much everything except slide. I have a 30 watt tube Laney combo and the guitar sounds great with a bit of overdrive. The body mass adds a bit more depth to the sound than the other guitars I own and it seems to add a bit more compression, highs and lows are pretty well balanced. The pickups are reasonable PAF clones which get nice and creamy when you roll off the tone knob. The guitar has opened up quite a bit since I have owned it, but it doesn't sustain as long as my older guitars. I had a problem with the tone knob so I have no mark this section down but it would have been an 8.

Overall Impression — 9
I do really like this guitar. The thick neck, the weight and 25 inch scale may not be for everyone but I love it. Especially for the kind of rock I usually end up playing with it. As far as I am concerned It looks very cool too. I have a Les Paul Special and a Gordon Smith GS1 and this guitar fits right in with the others, because it's the only 2 pickup Humbucking guitar I have it is my "go to" guitar for rock music. The guys I jam with also love to see me bring it along, I think people expect something special out of a unusual looking guitar, I try not to disappoint.

Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar is solid, I am happy with the Gotoh hardware and feel no need to replace the bridge/tuners. I am going to be a bit more generous in this section as the guitar is fairly reliable and the neck is stable. The strap buttons are the usual tiny type, I use the rubber grolsch bottle washers to keep my strap in place. The finish is thick and even where it has dented it has polished back out into a nice gloss. As I mentioned earlier the soft case is good, 2 thick shoulder pads with metal clips, I feel a lot more comfortable with it on my shoulders than with the usual thin nylon shoulder and flimsy plastic fastening clip you get with most softcases. Again the faulty pot has to detract from the overall score for reliability, now it would be a 9, a hard case and strap locks would of given it a perfect 10.

Action, Fit & Finish — 5
The guitar was set up well and the bridge intonated perfectly. The action is fairly low and the neck is really well fretted with no scratchiness. I love the fat neck and the 25inch scale, I may replace the nut as I prefer a higher action and it would be nice to play slide on this guitar. The build quality is very high on this guitar, better than some American instruments I have played costing twice as much, the finish was well applied and all the woodworking was without any problems. The lower bout/horn mean that this guitar is very comfortable to play sitting down, like a jazzmaster. The elevated area on the top of the guitar also gives the guitar a forearm contour of sorts this stops the upper bout sticking into your forearm as much as it could do if it was a thick as the centre section. It is also really well balanced when playing standing up. There was one issue though, the tone knob initially had a a very sharp taper on it, not doing much until it got to 4 when the tone dropped right off, then the tone knob became very stiff and obviously faulty. I replaced it with with a pot off eBay and it's now playing great. I wrote a review for my Gordon Smith GS1 and someone left a comment saying that I was too generous with with my scores so again I am marking this section low. After replacing the pot it would have been a 9. It is a shame as this guitar plays great otherwise.

Features — 9
Bought almost new in 2011, made in Korea. - 22 frets, thick neck, 25 inch scale and a rosewood fingerboard with medium frets. - 3 piece mahogany body with a one piece mahogany neck. - Natural gloss finish. - Body style is hard to describe but to me it is like a Gibson Firebird crossed with a Fender Jazzmaster, with a reverse Epiphone batwing headstock. - Gotoh tuneomatic bridge and tailpiece. - 2 Passive Wilkinson PAF style Humbuckers. 3 way pickup selector, volume and tone knobs. - Grover style Gotoh tuners. Close fitting soft case which is well designed, comfortable hand grip and 2 thick shoulder straps with sturdy metal clips. It seems you either love or hate the look of this guitar but I love It.

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