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Thread: ESP/LTD

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    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Hey guys:
    Iwas wondering if you can tell me about the ESP/LTD line of guitars. I'm interested in the Les Paul style the have. I did a comparison and they have the same wood selection throughout, same parts also. So what is the difference? Is it just where they are made? or is there something else? They both sounded real good. Not one sounding worse than the other, just different as say two USA Pauls may sound different.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

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    The ESP/LTD line are great guitars. The ESP are Japanese, and the LTD are Korean, Chinese, Vietnam produced. The lower model number you go with the LTD's, the different country it's produced in. I'd stick with the ESP's or the Korean LTD's. 9 out of 10 are well made. I've never had a problem with mine.

    The ESP's/LTD's won't hold their value as well as a Gibson, but you'll have less repair/setup issues initially. Gibson are extremely hit/miss. You'll have to spend 2-3 times the money for the custom shop Gibsons to achieve the initial quality of the ESP's.
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    Personally, I think they are very good import guitars for the money. I had a PB-500 that I sold recently, as I couldn't get used to the body shape, but it was a good guitar.

    I have noticed the cheapos (under $400) aren't what they were about 5 years ago...

    They used to all be Korean made, and I have since noticed alot of "China" crap which is not the quality the Korean stuff was.

    If you aren't dead-set on ESP, I believe PRS has a Korean single-cut model for about 6 bills. I've yet to play a Korean PRS which wasn't top notch.


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    Quote Originally Posted by A&Z Guitar Repair View Post
    The ESP/LTD line are great guitars. The ESP are Japanese, and the LTD are Korean, Chinese, Vietnam produced. The lower model number you go with the LTD's, the different country it's produced in. I'd stick with the ESP's or the Korean LTD's. 9 out of 10 are well made. I've never had a problem with mine.

    The ESP's/LTD's won't hold their value as well as a Gibson, but you'll have less repair/setup issues initially. Gibson are extremely hit/miss. You'll have to spend 2-3 times the money for the custom shop Gibsons to achieve the initial quality of the ESP's.
    Thanks Man! Tell me about it will ya? You can see my rants about Gibby's all over this board. Iv'e been a longtime Gibson player but I can't stomache them any more. They've become so arrogant in their pricing and lax in their QC. I had never tried an LTD before but miss the feel of a Paul, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I usually build my own guitars but I really was impressed by the EC-500 cherryburst.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EJC View Post
    Personally, I think they are very good import guitars for the money. I had a PB-500 that I sold recently, as I couldn't get used to the body shape, but it was a good guitar.

    I have noticed the cheapos (under $400) aren't what they were about 5 years ago...

    They used to all be Korean made, and I have since noticed alot of "China" crap which is not the quality the Korean stuff was.

    If you aren't dead-set on ESP, I believe PRS has a Korean single-cut model for about 6 bills. I've yet to play a Korean PRS which wasn't top notch.


    ~Peace
    It's funny you say that. Y'know for years Epiphone was horrible for quality. Bridges way off, cheap over saddle grounding wires, sharp fret wire, the list goes on, but since their move to China, the quality is extensively better! Iv'e tried some Gibby Pauls alongside some Epi's, and I gotta tell ya, aside from the obvious pickup deficiency, the setup, as well as the overall "acoustic" resonance was as good or better than Gibson's overpriced "all American Standards". Mind you the Epi China Plant is run by american Managers now and is now a dedicated company specific plant. Thanks for the feed back. I dig some of these guitars for sure.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SLEEPER5150 View Post
    It's funny you say that. Y'know for years Epiphone was horrible for quality. Bridges way off, cheap over saddle grounding wires, sharp fret wire, the list goes on, but since their move to China, the quality is extensively better! Iv'e tried some Gibby Pauls alongside some Epi's, and I gotta tell ya, aside from the obvious pickup deficiency, the setup, as well as the overall "acoustic" resonance was as good or better than Gibson's overpriced "all American Standards". Mind you the Epi China Plant is run by american Managers now and is now a dedicated company specific plant. Thanks for the feed back. I dig some of these guitars for sure.
    I think sometimes we (American's) turn our noses up at anything not made here without good reason. Mass produced guitars are all made on the same equipment and to the same specifications no matter which country the factory and machines are located. They are similarly all subject to the same QC. The QC may be debatable, but for some of the people in these countries, the jobs are extremely valuable and they are not going to slack off. Granted, the factory may pressure the workers to overlook problems to keep production high, but that could happen anywhere.

    Its funny how people used to hate stuff that was made in Japan, then stuff got made in Korea and the Korean stuff was crap while the Japanese stuff suddenly became great. Now China is making stuff, the Chinese stuff is crap and the Korean stuff is crap!!

    I've had guitars from all over asia, and have generally been very happy with all of them. To some extent, you get what you pay for, but as someone mentioned paying $3k for an axe is beyond most peoples means, and its not like they are making them significantly differently than they did 50 yrs ago. As long as you've got decent pickups and the guitar "feels" good to you, you'll be fine - ask Eddie how much his frankie cost him in the day!
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    I totally get what you are saying... But I'm not an "it's better because it's American-made" guy...

    I've seen American-made Fenders that had terrible neck pockets and bad frets too.

    I had to return a Japanese Jackson once because it had a piece of cardboard shimed under the Floyd nut... WTF?

    As someone who likes to buy/sell/give away cheap guitars, I have noticed Korean-made guitars, for whatever reason, seem to have better QC than those made in China or Viet Nam... Just my opinion. And I've had some guitars that "feel" good, and after a few string changes, the frets start popping out, and the necks won't stay straight... So there's a little more to it than just feeling good, and that's where QC comes in, along with using cheap fire wood and crappy hardware. It's not like making a DVD player where all your components are identical.... Wood is a different animal all together

    Personally, for the money - my next guitar will be a Carvin made in their custom shop in Cali... I can get any wood/options/finish I want, and still pay less than an off the shelf Fender/Gibson.

    And ask Eddie how much his guitars cost today...

    lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJC View Post
    I totally get what you are saying... But I'm not an "it's better because it's American-made" guy...

    I've seen American-made Fenders that had terrible neck pockets and bad frets too.

    I had to return a Japanese Jackson once because it had a piece of cardboard shimed under the Floyd nut... WTF?

    As someone who likes to buy/sell/give away cheap guitars, I have noticed Korean-made guitars, for whatever reason, seem to have better QC than those made in China or Viet Nam... Just my opinion. And I've had some guitars that "feel" good, and after a few string changes, the frets start popping out, and the necks won't stay straight... So there's a little more to it than just feeling good, and that's where QC comes in, along with using cheap fire wood and crappy hardware. It's not like making a DVD player where all your components are identical.... Wood is a different animal all together

    Personally, for the money - my next guitar will be a Carvin made in their custom shop in Cali... I can get any wood/options/finish I want, and still pay less than an off the shelf Fender/Gibson.

    And ask Eddie how much his guitars cost today...

    lol
    Oh yeah. I'm in total agreement with you. I just meant funny in that the Korean made guitars as a rule were not all bad....with the exception of Epi.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grateful Ed View Post
    Its funny how people used to hate stuff that was made in Japan, then stuff got made in Korea and the Korean stuff was crap while the Japanese stuff suddenly became great. Now China is making stuff, the Chinese stuff is crap and the Korean stuff is crap!!
    yeah, I think I understood your post wrong... I'm thinking the last part was supposed to be that now we think the Chinese stuff is crap and the Korean stuff is great!


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    These low-budget models use inferior parts from the wood to the pickup and everything inbetween. It just so happens they are produced overseas to cheapen costs. Thus, made in China is associated w/ inferior products. If these same guitars were made in the US, they would still be cheapos w/ inferior quality due to all the components used.

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    I think if everyone was made to try different guitars wearing a blindfold, people would really be suprised at what they thought felt, and sounded good.

    American made, unfortunately, does not always mean superior quality. Companies like Fender and Gibson started out as musical instrument manufacturers, but ended up as huge corporate machines. They don't look at producing musical instruments as an art form anymore, they look at it as a production process. It's not about a craftsman taking time to select a particular piece of wood based on tonal characteristics an beauty, it's about material cost vs. profit.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm very much a capitalist. My point is that Gibson and Fender gained a reputation by producing instruments at a quality level that other companies could not match. The tone and playability of their guitars were outstanding. They became a victim of their success. Once demand for their instruments rose, they sacrificed quality for quantity, thereby destroying the very foundation of their success.

    The one company that still impresses me to this day is Music Man. They have managed to produce guitars cheaper than Gibson and Fender, at a higher level of quality. I think it is due to their production philosophy. If you are a Music Man dealer and you want a guitar hanging in your shop, order one and they will build it for you. They don't build a boat-load of guitars and ship them all over the world. Every guitar is being built for someone that is waiting for it. That is the way to ensure quality.

    There is really nothing wrong with companies from the U.S. or overseas that mass-produce their instruments, as long as they maintain strong quality control over the materials and workmanship. ESP is, of course, the high end of that line, and LTD is the lower end. ESP guitars cost as much as high-end American guitars, and LTDs are the mid-level alternative. My experience has been that LTDs are pretty well made. To me, I can't really tell the difference between an LTD and a Schecter. They are both decent, functional guitars.

    In my opinion, for the price range of an LTD, you would be much better served buying an Ibanez. I feel that Ibanez has the best quality in that price range hands down.
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    I agree, there's a huge amount of snobbery about guitars and the country of origin. I was working in a music store when Fender made the 'Silver Series' Squier guitars in Japan in the early to mid 90s. We sold every one that came through the door within hours, the quality was so good. I think the longest we had one in stock was about two days. Of course, when Fender realised the Japanese factory was producing guitars superior to their USA entry models at half the cost, they put a stop to it pretty sharpish.

    It's true that far eastern produced guitars often use inferior quality materials, but just as often they use materials equally as good as their USA made counterparts. The best Strat I ever played was a Tokai. In fact, there's a Korean made Tokai SG hanging in my local store that I've been coveting for quite some time. But I'll admit it's the snob in me that's been holding back because I want the 'real thing'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    I think if everyone was made to try different guitars wearing a blindfold, people would really be suprised at what they thought felt, and sounded good.

    American made, unfortunately, does not always mean superior quality. Companies like Fender and Gibson started out as musical instrument manufacturers, but ended up as huge corporate machines. They don't look at producing musical instruments as an art form anymore, they look at it as a production process. It's not about a craftsman taking time to select a particular piece of wood based on tonal characteristics an beauty, it's about material cost vs. profit.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm very much a capitalist. My point is that Gibson and Fender gained a reputation by producing instruments at a quality level that other companies could not match. The tone and playability of their guitars were outstanding. They became a victim of their success. Once demand for their instruments rose, they sacrificed quality for quantity, thereby destroying the very foundation of their success.

    The one company that still impresses me to this day is Music Man. They have managed to produce guitars cheaper than Gibson and Fender, at a higher level of quality. I think it is due to their production philosophy. If you are a Music Man dealer and you want a guitar hanging in your shop, order one and they will build it for you. They don't build a boat-load of guitars and ship them all over the world. Every guitar is being built for someone that is waiting for it. That is the way to ensure quality.

    There is really nothing wrong with companies from the U.S. or overseas that mass-produce their instruments, as long as they maintain strong quality control over the materials and workmanship. ESP is, of course, the high end of that line, and LTD is the lower end. ESP guitars cost as much as high-end American guitars, and LTDs are the mid-level alternative. My experience has been that LTDs are pretty well made. To me, I can't really tell the difference between an LTD and a Schecter. They are both decent, functional guitars.

    In my opinion, for the price range of an LTD, you would be much better served buying an Ibanez. I feel that Ibanez has the best quality in that price range hands down.
    Those are my feelings as well. In regards to Ibanez, there are some real nice ones at that store too. They've got the full lines of RG's, as wall as the Satriani models. I dig the new ZR bridges. Who knows, I'll probably go with the ESP, as theres only $400.00 bones difference. May sound like a lot but in todays market of multi thousand dollar axes? Sheesh! I will say both guitars have mahagony bodies and necks with full maple tops, ebony fingerboards which I love, Toneprose locking bridges (the T3B-T) come with S.D> JB in bridge and 59' in neck. The manager of the store last night said he has had some complaints about the fret wire used on the LTD version (said to be a bit soft and wears out too fast) but that was the only consistent complaint. He was saying he's had less complaints about any ESP product in the last 17yrs.than he has in the 5yr's he's been selling Gibsons and that they welcome and honour any consumer feedback. He was saying that his Gibson contacts never seem to be available except around restocking time, and when there's been real unforseen problems occuring with their guitars like one where there was a severe fretboard separation on a $3.000.00 Custom, he was told to just tell the customer to take it to a local luthier with no speak of investigating the problem or standing behind the repair one way or the other.The customer and store owner ended up settling out of court for a repair that cost almost a third of the guitar itself for a bad glue joint, NOT GIBSON! Just the opposite with ESP/LTD. That's a hell of an endorsement and unfortunnately only reinforces my feelings of Gibsons current corporate model. He was saying that he can't wait till he can offload Gibson from his product line, and he's also the owner of some '70's 335's and SG's. His take is that Gibson stopped being Gibson in 2000, and that if not for the initial demand from customers he never would have brought Gibson in. Now he can hardly move them. People think it's him setting the huge pricetags now and some of the huge ticket guitars end up being sent back or sold just above cost. He was telling me that he's real excited about the new line of Hagstrom's coming in. I'm not big on the tuning pegs but some of their guitars look cool.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    The one company that still impresses me to this day is Music Man. They have managed to produce guitars cheaper than Gibson and Fender, at a higher level of quality.
    Dude, I totally agree that Music Man is of higher quality than Fender/Gibson, but cheaper?

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/navig...musicman&Nty=1

    Maybe cheaper than the average Les Paul, but not an American strat or studio Pauls, SG's, etc...
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLEEPER5150 View Post
    Hey guys:
    Iwas wondering if you can tell me about the ESP/LTD line of guitars. I'm interested in the Les Paul style the have. I did a comparison and they have the same wood selection throughout, same parts also. So what is the difference? Is it just where they are made? or is there something else? They both sounded real good. Not one sounding worse than the other, just different as say two USA Pauls may sound different.
    I picked up an EC1000 a few months that I absolutely love. I was Contemplating the new Epi Slash model, until I picked up the LTD. The difference in the quality, build and setup was huge! If you like the ESP, go for it!
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