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Rating and Reviews: ESP ST203M Maple Guitar

An alder body, one-piece maple neck, and single-coil pickups give the ESP LTD ST203M guitar a bright, vintage tone that complements its distressed finish.

User Ratings
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"It is what it is." submitted September 23, 2012

By mike smith in bridgeville, DE
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: I have been playing guitar for almost 25 years. Either alone or with my buddies in the garage.
Music Style: Mostly classic rock and blues. And some metal when I want to relive my youth.
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Sound: I was looking for an inexpensive Strat style guitar with the intentions of modifying it. That is still my plan, but this guitar sounded better than I expected. With the alder body and one piece maple neck, it has a vintage Fender sound. The pickups aren't horrible, but I know I can get a lot more out of this guitar with quality pickups. The bridge was also a little better than I expected, it stays in tune pretty well. Although, sometimes when releasing the bar, you can hear the strings binding on the either the string tree or the nut, knocking it out a bit. A little graphite takes care of that. Feature: All the same features you'd find on a Strat. For me, the big plus is the one piece maple neck. My biggest complaint is that, like most Fender Strats, there is no tone control for the bridge pick up. And I'm not too fond of the extra jumbo frets, but it seems everybody else likes them. Quality: I was very disappointed with the 'distressed' finish. It doesn't look distressed, it looks like a movie prop. It looks good in pictures and from a distance, but once you have it in your hands, you know it's a brand new guitar with a lame finish... other than that, the build quality is excellent. Value: I'm fine with paying $350 for this guitar. I could see it fitting in with some $400-500 guitars, but I wouldn't pay more. Manufacturer Support: Have not had to deal with them. The Wow Factor: I just happened to be looking for an inexpensive Strat style guitar and found this one. Otherwise, this is the type of guitar I would walk right past in a guitar store without a second look. Overall: Not a bad guitar, not a great guitar.
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"Affordable Quality" submitted November 23, 2012

By Paul M in Houston, TX
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Musical Background: 5 years , go to jam sessions and play with friends
Music Style: Blues and blues rock
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Overall: Just got this guitar today and I am truly suprised with the quality of the instrument for such a low price. Neck is fantastic, harware is good, body is well made, tone an volume knobs feel a little cheap but do the job and can be easily replaced. The finish is good but I would prefer a non-distressed finish. ESP did a good job making a new guitar look old. Replaced the strings as soon as I got it (Strings that came with it are very light, I prefer heavier gauge strings) minimal fret buzz and the action is good. I would definitely recommend this instrument especially for the price tag!!!!
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"Worth the price!!" submitted April 16, 2013

By Chad L in Layton, UT
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Musical Background: Played guitar for several years. Mostly at home and with friends.
Music Style: Rock, blues, some country.
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Overall: I've always hoped to find an old, beat up Strat at a garage sale or something for an amazing price, but it hasn't happened yet. This guitar is the next best thing if you're on a budget, like I am. This guitar looks and sounds great. It did need some tweaking, but that was expected. The whammy bar wasn't the right one for the guitar, but ESP customer service took care of the problem quickly by sending a new one. Zzounds and ESP have both been great to work with. Can't wait to order more toys from them!
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"It's ok" submitted March 5, 2013

By William C in Burns, TN
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Musical Background: Blues, Rock, jam anywhere I can player for 25 years
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Overall: I picked up this guitar because I wanted a Old looking guitar and from afar they dida good job. The one I received was a mess.The frets were sharp it was very noisy and in my opinion a very bad guitar . I spoke to ZZ Sounds and to their credit they were happy to replace it ( that's a big deal I think KUDOS for that)I opted to keep and make it work. I regret that now.
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