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ESP vs. LTD

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Arsenu,, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. Arsenu,

    Arsenu, Member

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    yo!

    alright, i know this subject quite a few times over the internet, and googeling it shows a few threads here and there regarding wood quality, precision, bla bla bla...

    anyway, i'm GASing for a new guitar and i was thinking about an LTD.
    since i only internet on spending about 500-600 euro LTD's seem to be a leading candidates in terms of getting your money's worth.

    so i was wondering if anyone can post a shootout between "sibling" ESP/LTD guitars (2 guitars that have the same specs, and seem like the only difference is the label) so i can actually listen if there's any NOTICEABLE difference. someone out here must own a couple...

    the other thing, is how it FEELS. so anyone here has real experience playing those guitars, an cares to elaborate, that would be awesome!

    *please no inexperienced advice. if you haven't actually played an ESP or LTD don't mislead anyone just because a friend told you Japan is better than Taiwan
     
  2. Tercero

    Tercero Member

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    I've owned several ESP's and LTD's and worked as a tech in a few music stores. There are a few things to keep in mind. The big one is the different levels of ESP's....Custom Shop, Original Series, the older USA series, and the Standard Series. The Standard Series is definitely the weakest of the bunch. They're not bad guitars by any means, but I think there are far better guitars out there in that price point. If you can snag one used they're cool guitars, but for what ESP is charging for them new now....totally not worth it (especially considering the veneers on the maple caps).

    LTD's are great bang for your buck guitars. Well made, solid instruments at an affordable price. The Korean ones are generally better, but I've even played some Indonesian models recently that were surprisingly cool.

    The Standard Series ESP's are definitely a little better than the higher end LTD's....but not enough to justify the huge price difference. The ESP's are a little more resonant and the fit/finish is better...but bring your LTD in for a fret level/dressing and it won't be far behind. I've had a few SS ESP's because working in music stores I got them at store cost which made it worth it to me....but I'd never in a million years fork over the sticker price. My vote is to snag a used ESP if you can find one, but to not beat yourself up if you get an LTD. The differences between the 1000 series LTD's and the Standard Series ESP's aren't huge.
     
  3. nosgulstic

    nosgulstic Member

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    I agree with Tercero. I've only had one LTD and I've only had one ESP but I've tried several mid level LTD's. The LTD I had was pretty crappy. Really hard to set up and the clear coat was incredibly thick. Granted, the LTD was a H-207 so it was pretty low-end but the ESP MII was easy to set up. I wouldn't pay full price for a ESP Standard Series, the only reason I got mine was because I got it really really cheap. Midlevel and upper midlevel LTD's are pretty good but you'll get more bang for your buck buying used.
     
  4. Arsenu,

    Arsenu, Member

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    i think that's always true mate...

    anyway, thanks for your replies mates, but iv'e gotta say, this is not much different than any other thread iv'e read on the subject.
    saying that guitars built in Taiwan are "better" than China doesn't really mean much, because what is "better" anyway?

    does it sound better? does it feel better?
    the reason i'm asking for a shootout, hoping one of the guitar gurus here are able and willing to do it, is to confirm or bust the myth that ESP's SOUND better.

    the second element is how it feels. which is obviously a matter of personal taste and experience. i'll probably do it myself next time i'm at the shop, but has anyone owned both brand and can share he's thoughts about how they feel?

    sorry if i wasn't clear, by my point is finding out if there's an actual difference between the brands, and how that difference manifests itself in reality, since the saying a guitar is just "better" than another guitar is like saying boobs are "better" than ass :loco:
     
  5. Tercero

    Tercero Member

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    Feel-wise, the ESP's definitely win. More attention to detail. But like I said, bring an LTD in for a fret level and dressing, and you can get them pretty close.

    Sound-wise, they're going to differ. For example, the LTD Horizons are set neck, the ESP's are neck-thru. Your pickups mounted into a piece of mahogany is going to sound different than being mounted into the same pieces of maple that span the entire guitar. In that regard, the construction of the guitars are very different. The ESP Horizons I've had are infinitely more resonant than the LTD Horizons I've had, but the LTD's have more low end thump. Due to being so skinny, my ESP Eclipse II was pretty thin sounding. Not bad, but not what you'd expect from an LP shaped guitar. My LTD's Eclipse models (especially the 400AT's) were significantly chunkier and more balanced. A bolt-on or neck-thru ESP M is going to sound a lot different than a set neck LTD M-1000.

    I don't think anyone is going to argue that LTD's sound or play better. ESP's get better woods and better luthiers work on them. They're more resonant, have better fretwork, and feel/play/sound better than their LTD counterparts. BUT, what ESP charges for them new is ridiculous. Take a higher end LTD to a good tech and you can get them playing pretty close to the real thing. Due to the way the guitar was built it's not going to sound the same, but that's not a bad thing. It's just different. This is comparing higher end LTD's to the Standard Series ESP's. Comparing LTD's to any other series of ESP's...there's not even a shred of competition.
     
  6. Lasse Lammert

    Lasse Lammert HCAF Blitzkrieg

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    I own or have owned many standard series ESPs as well as custom shop models, USA models and some LTDs.
    The custom shop and old USA guitars were the best sounding guitars I ever played.
    My absolute favorite guitar ever is my custom mII which was built for the musikmesse 94.
    It's the most resonant guitar I have ever played, it sings like crazy and despite the thin bolt on neck and FR term the sustain is unreal...beautiful guitar.
    The old USA made one I had was also fantastic.
    Currently I have two standard series guitars, one eclipse and one SV, they both are excellent guitars as well, quality and tone are on the same level as Jackson USA...price is almost the same too.
    (I mean on the same LEVEL, they definitely have a different sound than Jacksons, in general ESPs sound smoother, chunky, modern, while Jacksons sound a little grainier, deeper and growler...matter of taste, I prefer the ESP sound).

    The LTDs I've owned and recorded were good guitars!
    But compared directly to ESP they're definitely a different league.
    For the "below 1200€" I'd probably go with schecter.

    I'm a HUUUUUGE fan of ESPs!!
     
  7. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

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    I had a an LTD EC1000 VB for a few months, but ended up selling it and going with a fully blown ESP Eclipse. I will say it felt a bit more toy like, but was still a good guitar. My main reason for having to trade up in that case was that I made a mistake buying the half thickness model, and I also can't get on with cheaper ebony fretboards. It killed a lot of power from the guitar cutting that piece of wood in half lol.
     
  8. Lasse Lammert

    Lasse Lammert HCAF Blitzkrieg

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    MY eclipseII has a slim body, sounds extremely powerful though, has more attack and cut than the full thickness model...perhaps a bit less weight/low end...but aren't we all cutting, C4-ing etc that anyways?
     
  9. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

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    ^^ I guess half a piece of ltd wood is bad sauce lol. But you're right, probably end up cutting those frequencies out in the end anyway!

    P.S

    Nice pix in the other thread!!
     
  10. jamvanman

    jamvanman Member

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    The FT is also damn heavy to hold (well mine is anyway).
     
  11. Arsenu,

    Arsenu, Member

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    after all this ESP gear porn, i'm leaning towards Schecter Damian :)
    no budget atm + just found out i have to look for a new apartment starting april! joy!
     
  12. neptunian

    neptunian Member

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    I've used both the Schecter Damien (Korean) and the ESP Horizon NT II. The Damien is a pound or two heavier, has more fullness in the lows and low mids, and a springier/blooming response when picking. It's built like a tank, a bit chunky but it works great for down tuning. I prefer the Evo 2 in the bridge of that thing.

    The Horizon is lighter, plays easier, looks and sustains better, but due to the maple neck-thru it has a rather bright mid to upper mid focus (guessing around 2khz). The response is also snappier and tighter than the Damien, which is good or bad depending. Bad if you like the faux 'power amp sag' effect that the spongier sound of bolt on basswood gives you. I haven't tuned the Horizon below D standard though, so don't know if that's where it would shine.

    As others said, the 1000 series LTD guitars are pretty close to the ESP standard, much of the cost difference coming down to Japanese vs Korean labor, and that the ESPs go through a more rigorous fret dressing process. I also tried a MH-401NT (Indonesia) and wasn't impressed with the build quality. On the LTD side I wouldn't go below the 1000 models.
     

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