While the guitar world is slowly being taken over by the more or less overused Stratocaster design, in the underground there exists a genre of instruments that I have grown to have a taste for. Not for their amazing musical ability, but for their specific designs that actually produce a great effect when you first see them. One of these guitars is the one we shall be reviewing right now. The ESP LTD EX50 is the one we are taking a closer look at in an attempt to understand why you should consider picking up a unique looking instrument.
First let me get to talking about the most exciting part of the guitar – the design of it. The guitar decides to abandon the usual Start and Les Paul design craze and go for something more interesting. As a result we get an angular shape that feels a little retro, a little lopsided when you first look at it, but is definitely something to fall in love with once you have it and get to look at it more. The unique design is one of my favorite out there and has a lot of character. The coloring of the instrument is usually solid, which provides a more glam look for it.
The body of the guitar is made out of basswood. This tonewood has a lot of advantages for the manufacturer. Namely the fact that it is so easy to work with and experiment with, while laos being so very, very cheap. The hardwood also has some advantages for the buyer. The tonewood produces a great effect on the lower tones of the instrument and warms the entirety of the sound. The hardwood is also known to be rather light, which in the shape of this guitar, is a very pleasant thing to have. The only problem you might encounter are the easy denting and scratching. Combined with the pointy ends of this instrument, you might want to be extra careful.
The neck of the guitar is made of the ever loved and respected maple. This hardwood is best known for its frequent use in the necks of guitars. This is actually a good thing, since maple is much sturdier than most tonewoods and does a great job of keeping the instrument together. The neck is bolt on, which gives you the chance to replace the neck eventually if you don’t like it anymore, but it also does not create any problems with the instrument. The fretboard is made of rosewood.
The guitar comes with a tune-o-matic bridge and a tailpiece. The tune-o-matic famous for looking great on Les Paul guitars does a great job of being pretty on this design as well. It provides great action for the player thanks to the decent rise. The tailpiece provides a nice level of stability.
The nut of the guitar is unfortunately made of a cheapish plastic material. This gives the guitar a bit of string buzz which would be a bother if the guitar did not have humbuckers. Thank god for humbuckers.
The tuning machine of the guitar could do a little better, but at this point I do not expect affordable guitars like this to have the greatest tuning stability. So I will let it slide, this time around.
The guitar comes with a dual humbucker set up. The two ESP designed LH 150 humbuckers do a great job at being humbuckers. They clean up the string buzz that the nut causes while remaining powerful and nuanced in the detailing of the sound. The humbuckers also have a nice and well known versatility. Sustain or no sustain, they have a good chance of producing the sound you want. The lifetime of the humbuckers is decently long as well.
The controls on the guitar are a little on the simplistic side, with one volume and one tone control, as well as a switch to change up the pickup configurations.
The guitar sound delightful. The design implies that it was made for a rock and roll, glam rock and metal worlds. This carries on into the sound of the guitar. Capable of great sound versatility, the guitar has a slight bias towards lower tones, but still is vibrant and energetic when you want it to be. The instrument truly shines in sustain though, producing a powerful growl that can be enjoyed by any level of player.
Overall this guitar has a lot of lovely qualities that you can rely on. Whether it is design, affordability or great sound, it has them all. Highly recommended, even if I am a little biased towards something fresh.