« a LTD built to sound and last! »Published on 12/29/13 at 06:10
3-piece Mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, ESP Locking Tuners (based on Schaller M6) and Earvana compensated nut for better intonation
Abalone "flags" inlays
2 humbuckers: 1xEMG81 bridge and 1xEMG60 in the neck
Gold hardware with TonePros bridge and T3B-T TonePros T1Z tailpiece
3 positions switch , 2 volumes and a common tone
The neck is a very playable, pretty flat and rather wide but not too thin. Diapason is 24 3/4, and the guitar has 24 frets. I do not have huge hands, but with the cutaway, it's easy to get to the last frets. The action is very low (if the guitar is properly set up!).
Also it's not too heavy, but it is not light either.The body is comfortable in a sitting position and overall the guitar is relatively well balanced.
The two volume knobs and the tone knob are easy to reach. Note that the volume knob of the bridge pickup is set before the one of the neck pickup (since we supposedly use it more often!). The tone control is shared by both pickups.
These knobs are very progressive and of very good quality, just like the 3 positions pickup selector.
When you do not play, the EMGs are dead quiet, which is a nice change from the DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan I have mounted on my other guitars!
I tried this guitar on quite a few amps, not to convince myself of its built quality, because if you play it unplugged you'll hear it has a very good sustain, but to test the versatility of the EMG 60/81. So I played it alternatively through a Fender Twin, a Vox AC30, a Marshall JCM900 and finally a Dual Rectifier . Honestly, to my great surprise, it sounded better than I expected ... So to all those who say that EMG is only making pickups for metalheads, then perhaps they should get their head round the use of volume and tone on a guitar!
ESP did a great job in that respect in the sense that the knobs truly react to minute adjustements and allow players to make these very subtle variations that make all the difference.
Obviously on a Rectifier with the distortion crancked, even a muppet chas no problem unleashing the sonic violence of the uni-finger power-chord of death!
If you play clean tones, backing up the volume on the EMG 60 a little will somewhat bring you back into the passive pickup territory, though tone wise it's going to remains way more "articulate" or clinical, in the typical fashion of active pickups. Honestly fiddling with the tone, and two volume controls, and of course the EQ on the amp, one can really get almost any type of tone! you can go from a single coilish type of sound (a mix of the 2 pickups) that is good for funk or soft passages to a jazzy type of sound, and I even managed to get tones quite reminiscent of a folk guitar!
When I played on the Vox, again, using the volume and tone, I got very good crunch tones that were quite vintage sounding, while maintaining a clear attack (EMG inside!).
To put it in a nutshell, plug into the proper amp (that certainly does help a lot!), and it's really not that difficult to get the tone you're after!
For the sake of clarity though, the guitar is mouted with EMGs, so it is obvious that it will never sound as vintage as guitars that were made for that purpose. And yes, EMGs excels on distorted tones. That being said, given the built quality, just mount a pair of Alnico II pro on it and you'll get a very different type of beast at home!
When I walked in the shop, it was initially to buy a Gibson Les Paul Custom or Tokai Premium. I had the budget for it, and was looking for intrumentsa in the 3000 to 4000 euros range ... but like any other guitarist out there whenever I see a cool looking guitar, I juts can't help but trying it!
I have been playing for almost 20 years now and I have owned many good to excellent guitars (to name but a few: Fender U.S. and Mex, Jackson Soloist, Gibson SG Standard, Godin LGX and Artisan STVI, Lag Roxanne and Hardmaster etc.). All this to say that I expect a certain level of craftsmanship and quality. Through the years I've also learned to see beyond the famous names in the industry. Actually on that day, I played two Fujigen/Japanese FGN that sounded absolutely awesome [one was a strat and the other a les paul type guitar] ... but they were a little too heavy for me unfortunately.
I had never ever paid any attention to LTD before playing that EC-1000. Actually I assumed LTD was on par with Squier, Epiphone and the likes, meaning instruments of rather poor built quality. Well, what a surprise, I had it all wrong!
So for those of you who are wondering, no offense intended to all Gibson fanboys , I have spent some time comparing the LTD and a Gibson Standard side by side and my verdict is that quality-wise, they are in all respects comparable. The chief difference is that the LTD is nearly half the price of a Standard! And even if we were to compared it to her bigger sister, the ESP Eclipse, it's still very, very close (some slight "embellishments").
Tone-wise, the EC1000VB sounds a bit less "fat" that a Gibson mounted with EMGs but on the other hand it offers a clearer and more articulated tone, which is good thing if you down-tune your guitar. The Eclipse still refines this feeling a tad further (probably due to quality of the woods used), but in the end it's rather subtle and if we leave the aesthetics aside, tone-wise I don't think it's worth an extra 500 euros for it ... unless you have bat ears maybe ...or if you spend a lot of time recording in studio!
So to sum it up, the LTD EC1000VB is a "weapon of choice", and it proved very versatile too. It's a tad lighter than a Les Paul (and it feels so after a few hours playing it). It has 24 frets and a simple but excellent built quality. Mine is flawless. All this for 900 euros (or 600ish if you get it second-hand)! With my initial budget I would certainly have been able to buy a nicer looking guitar (but not necessarily with a better finish) but I like to keep my feet on the ground. For what I had in mind, unless I had decided to go down the luthier route, there was no justifying spending that much more on an industrially made guitar!
It seems that these days Korea & Japan offers similar deals to Japan & U.S. a few years ago.
To put it simply, with this EC1000VB, ESP/LTD brings you a (nearly) high -end guitar, when competitors only get you one in the mid-range ... Hey! For once we're not being taken for fools!
So unless you buy a guitar thinking about its resale value or to hang it to a wall and watch it illuminate the room , in which case you should clearly get your hands on a Gibson Custom or something equivalent, if you're like me and need a flawless instrument that will be played and carried around, this LTD is a super deal!
And when your budget is well above its price tag like it was for me, with what you have saved, you can just splurge on a few pedals or even a nice new amp! ... And you have absolutely no excuse to skimp on a flight case! Thank you Mr. ESP!