Submitted September 3, 2014 by Jim L
"Disappointed, but in ESP, not Zzounds."
zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I had hoped this guitar would be like the E-II I had gotten from zZounds. On paper, it sounded good, all the right parts. And zZounds got me a great price and was outstanding in their support. But the finish, under the final clear coat, was terrible; I counted 15 cup-like holes in the black finish on a portion of the back alone (and just stopped looking any closer) and a deep scratch across the binding on the face. It was a new guitar, and zZounds promptly offered a return/replacement, but then it turned out they didn't have any more. It would have been a return only. I rationalized the finish problems away, only to discover that the nut was cut way too high. This makes the guitar only comfortably playable from like the third fret and higher. So I waited too long to return it and am faced with a remove/replace job on the nut, or a re-slotting job, and reslotting takes more skill and tools than a remove/replace. It is just sitting there now. When I did play it some, it sounded great, neck above fret 3 played nice, so the potential is there. Just pretty disappointed in the quality from ESP.after two other outstanding quality ESP guitars of recent purchase. I should have bought the F-350.
The EMG 81/85 combo is deservedly worthwhile. Great neck except as noted. Actually the overall guitar is nice and light, fits well. Sounds good, different from my usual passive pickups, but still good. I haven't played it for more than a few hours as yet due to previously mentioned nut problems.
I like the string through body, although I wish the strings didn't touch the back of the bridge. They don't touch on my other guitars with a similar string though body feature. I might have to look at that later, but for now it doesn't seem to affect the sound. I thought the binding might be gaudy, but it looks good up close. I think this guitar could use the Graphtech ResoMax NV2 tune-o-matic bridge, rather than the bridge it has, as this would likely eliminate the strings-touching-back of bridge issue, and I like the string saver style.
Ease of Use
The neck and action above the 3rd fret are great. The guitar sounds good. It is my first active pickup ESP, the other two being passive.
Overall mechanical quality (excepting nut) is excellent. I think it should last quite a while.The strings touch the back edge of the bridge, so this might need attention later. The neck is nicely blended with the body, even though it is a set-through neck, not a neck-through. Finish was sub-standard, far below my other two ESP's.
If the finish and nut deficiencies were not present, and assuming the bridge isn't a long term issue, this would be a great guitar. I can fix the nut; the finish I will just live with. The bridge I can replace at dead worst, but right now it is set up with near perfect neck action so I am loath to mess with it much.
I have not (yet) dealt or communicated with ESP. I plan on it though.
The Wow Factor
It LOOKS great, has the right components, pickups are what I wanted, locking tuners, just needs some unexpected care. If I had to do it again, I would just buy the ESP F-350 though. But this is what I have, now and will work through the issues. Like I said, Zzounds got me a great price.
I have been playing on and off since 1961.
rock mainly, whatever makes me happy
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