Sometimes you just feel like you need a change, something different.
It’s not necessarily that you’re bored with your guitar but just feel like you would like to try something else. But, when you get down to your music store, you see what you may already have seen and played before.
All the usual stuff prominently displayed, most of it more than you want to spend. But still, you wish there was something just… different.
And, there is.
The ESP EC-1000 is a guitar that in our opinion is well worth having a close look at, so let’s do it…
ESP guitars are well-known and well-respected and are customized and upmarket. But, they are also reasonably expensive.
The ESP LTD is the standard series. We do not choose to use the expression ‘cheaper.’ As this conjures up ideas of cheap materials and poor workmanship when the LTD version is nothing like that.
It is though more affordable. And for those whose budgets do not quite extend to the ESP models. The LTD offers an excellent alternative.
The LTD is also a reference to the location of its manufacture which is in Korea. Effectively it is the Korean version of ESP guitars. Some later models are also being made in Indonesia.
They are also of high quality using fine materials.
The Korean guitars can be identified by a ‘W’ before the Production number.
The first thing that will be obvious to just about everyone is that they have rather cloned the look of a Les Paul. That in itself is a plus as that shape is iconic and just speaks to you.
They have made the edge of the cutaway a little sharper, but the other dimensions are almost exactly the same. However, here is a bit of good news; it is a whole 8 lbs lighter than the Gibson. So no gym exercises needed before you pick it up.
The body is made from fine mahogany. And it has a three-piece mahogany neck with a Macassar ebony fingerboard covering 24 jumbo frets. This gives you excellent grip and fluidity. The neck is a slimline ‘U’ style.
While, as we mentioned, it is significantly lighter than a Les Paul it still feels quite prominent in your hands and ready to do battle.
Sometimes you pick up a guitar, and it feels very light. Made from cheaper woods and materials, it just doesn’t feel right.
The neck features abalone inlays. And the design is beautifully finished off with an attractive binding on the body, neck, and headstock.
There are no construction issues with this guitar, it is well made and put together. And, you cannot help but be impressed with the quality of the materials used and the workmanship.
One of the notable inclusions on this guitar is the LTD locking tuners. If you’ve not used them before they have a locking or clamping mechanism to hold the string in place. The main benefit of this is that it is quicker to make a string change and the string tends to stay in tune longer.
It also benefits from a locking Tonepro Tune-o-Matic tailpiece. Unlike traditional tailpieces that rely on string tension to hold them in place, these have vertical and lateral locking that provide a stable base.
This, like the locking tuners, adds to the accuracy of the tuning process and lets them stay in tune longer. This is serious stuff and usually only found on instruments at the top of the price range.
The hardware on this instrument then is top quality. And, it is finished in a gold effect.
The bridge position houses an EMG 81. A classic humbucker sound. In fact, you could say this is the pickup that really took guitar sound to another level. It’s considered to be very much a powerful lead pickup so is usually placed in the bridge as it is here.
In the neck position an EMG 60. Another humbucker but a pickup known for its thick sound and accentuated mids that make it ideal as a rhythm style pick up. Both pickups are active.
The beauty of using these together is they compliment each other so well. Put the two together and strap in. It’s going to be powerful and very loud.
Everything about this guitar has been built to be a powerhouse, but a powerhouse with quality. It would have been an option to use cheaper pickups, but ESP wanted to produce something special.
The sound generated by this guitar is something special.
Simple enough. A toggle switch to move between pickups and volume for each pickup and a tone control. All accessed with great hardware.
So, What Is This Guitar All About?
Normally when manufacturers design and market a guitar they do it with a style very much in mind and sometimes other potential options are not considered.
But, that’s not the case with this instrument.
It is clear from the way it is designed and looks that its principal purpose is to make a whole lot of noise. A guitar that can ‘shred.’
It does do that. The action on the neck is fast and low, and with the locking tuners and bridge, the strings will withstand a lot of bend and hammer without losing their tuning.
The EMG humbuckers, state of the art for noise-making, will give you a power that is at times shattering. They are a combination often favored by the ‘metal-boys’ and listening to them you can hear why. It has tremendous amounts of natural sustain and pinch harmonics that will remove your socks.
It is a guitar built to scream at you and anyone else in earshot, and it does. If indeed it was designed to do only that then it does its job.
But, it has another side. It would be wrong to say it is delicate, it isn’t, but it is softer and melodic. Unlike many guitars with the ‘shred’ philosophy, this instrument can play soft, and it can be melodic.
Just wind down those humbuckers a bit and get on the neck pickup and you will see. It certainly isn’t what you would call a jazz feel, but it is warm and clear and is a very articulate sound.
Sounds can be created and managed through the guitar setup that allows this with no external help. When you then apply some external effect, maybe reverb or chorus it makes you sit back and think does this guitar really sound like that? It does.
It, therefore, covers wider options than at first are recognizable.
Of course, at some point, you will get excited, kick the humbuckers up and blow the next door neighbor out of bed, again, but the other sound options available with this guitar make it special.
With this around maybe, you don’t need an original ESP.
So, What Do We Think?
There is no doubt in our minds; this is a quality guitar. It is well-made with quality wood, great hardware with attractive gold finish and of course those humbuckers.
Not only does it look great; it plays fantastically well. The neck with its thin line ‘U’ shape is fast, and the locking tuners and bridge make the tuning accurate and decisive.
The features on this guitar set it apart from other ‘premium’ range instruments and the manufacturers have not compromised in any way on anything that will affect its playability, performance or its sound.
Essentially you could say it is a guitar that will be at its best when screaming some ‘metal’ at you, and there is no doubt it excels in that area, but as we have already mentioned it has more strings to its bow than only that.
It can be played sympathetically, and its great action adds feel to this style of use.
It will be at its very best though when those humbuckers are screaming and the harmonics battering the hearing.
We haven’t mentioned the pricing of this guitar for a reason. As we said, to call it cheap does it no justice at all and infers inferiority. Let’s just say it is affordable.
The reality is though that it costs a lot less than its cousins and significantly less than other instruments of this quality.
The ESP LTD EC-1000 is a stunning guitar and gets our vote.