ESP LTD EC-1000 Review: Versatile Shred Machine

The ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 is a versatile hard rock guitar capable of many different sounds and tones! With the Les Paul body, fantastic hardware, and electronics, this guitar is stylish. It’s a contender among the masses!

Focused more on hard rock and metal music, this guitar can still obtain lower gain sounds. It’s all thanks to the split coil option that it’s designed with. ESP has an amazing guitar offering here for many different play styles.

I have spent some time with the guitar and, as a long time guitarist, must say that I really enjoy it. I’ve taken it through the paces and can say with certainty that the EC-1000 is a great buy! In this Killer Rig review, I will show you why it is jam packed with value!

Features

  • Solid mahogany body.
  • Eclipse body shape.
  • Thin U neck shape.
  • Macassar ebony finger board.
  • 25″ scale and 24 jumbo frets.
  • EMG humbucker pickups.
  • Solid hardware.
ESP LTD EC-1000 on a guitar stand in my studio.

Who is This Guitar For?

This stylish, well-made Les Paul rock machine is aimed at players who like heavier music. Metal and hard rock are easy with this guitar. It’s why players like Kirk Hammett of Metallica have used them for so many years.

Their set neck design and high-output pickups are the perfect combinations. It will provide massive sustain and a throaty, aggressive tone.

I was able to get notes to sustain for over a minute. And I could have probably kept it going. All with the right amplifier and feedback, of course!

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner who is looking for a more expensive guitar. Or, if you have been playing for a long time and want a good upgrade. This is the perfect way to get into a great-looking electric guitar with a unique voice.

My First Impression

Once I had the guitar out of the box, I was impressed by how it looked. The black finish and pearloid binding around the body really adds some eye-catching definition!

My demo model, which you can see below, did not have the Evertune bridge. When the guitar arrived, it was out of tune.

After getting it all tuned up, I proceeded to try out the guitar, like I do most of my demos. And that is to play the Master of Puppets guitar solo by Metallica! My first impression of the playability was a good one!

The action was great and didn’t result in any buzzing at the higher frets. The strings were easy to press, and the cutaway made it simple to play higher up the neck. The body is thin and so it’s easy to hold in your lap and feels good!

The sound was on point. The thick, aggressive tone in some of my power chords was exactly what I wanted. The neck pickup is big sounding, almost too much. It can sound a bit boomy depending on your tuning. But otherwise I really liked the sounds I was getting from the guitar!

Sound Performance

The pickups in the guitar are aggressive, raw, and brutal. Paired with the right amplifier, the sound you can get is quite phenomenal. Plugging it into a Mesa Boogie Badlander was the perfect blend of thickness and presence.

The pickups are well-balanced. In conjunction with the mahogany body and set neck, you can feel the tone in your hands. I cranked up the amp a bit and had a very tight bass response. But the highs were still very present and were enough to add that bite I desired.

The cleans were quite the same. A well-balanced sound with a brightness that was still pristine. I had set the amp’s controls to noon, but added a slight bit of treble to get where I wanted in the end.

But I was very happy with the sounds. Watch the video below to hear it for yourself:


PROS

  • Nice materials and solid design.
  • Many great rock and metal sounds.
  • Very fun and easy to play.
  • The hardware is of good quality.
  • Choose from many colors.

CONS

  • Some players have mentioned that a set-up was required.
  • Frets ends could have been smoother.

Construction

ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 Guitar.

The ESP LTD Deluxe mahogany body resembles the Les Paul. But it’s called an Eclipse body shape by ESP. There are a few different colors to choose from and so you can get the one that best suits you and your style. This includes:

  • Vintage gold satin.
  • Metallic satin.
  • Black.
  • See through purple.
  • Amber sunburst.

Each of the different colors looks excellent and is sure to turn a few heads. The solid mahogany provides a warm tone and wicked sustain when you really want it!

And even though it’s made of mahogany, it only weighs 9.5 pounds, which is quite comfortable. This partly due to the thin body.

Like all LP body shapes, the cutaway is vital to the performance of the guitar type. It would not be as versatile without it, so we are happy to report that ESP has you covered.

Another nice feature is the contours along the edge of the body, this makes it very comfortable. It’s then decorated beautifully by a binding around the outer edges of the guitar body.

I also took off the covers and had a look at the wiring. Everything was neatly assembled and the connections all seemed intact. All the soldering was done well and there were no poor joints. The body cavities were not shielded, however, but I didn’t experience any odd noises.

LTD EC-1000 Hardware.

Neck

The EC-1000 has a mahogany set neck design. This means that the neck is glued and fastened into the body and cannot be removed like a bolt-on.

The benefit to this is a sustain monster and great sound! It also means there is no bulky joint on the rear of the guitar where the neck and body meet.

This also provides incredible resonance and a very solid feeling guitar. The fretboard material is Macassar Ebony, which has a 24.75″ scale and 24 jumbo frets. The frets were not overly sharp or uncomfortable, but the edges could be polished a bit better.

The neck width is 1.65″ making it incredibly easy to play very fast! The U shape profile just adds to the playability and comfort. Finger Board inlays are eye catching and shaped as standard LTD flags.

Hardware

The LTD Deluxe EC-1000 electric guitar offers a powerful punch with its EMG humbucker pickups!

If you are not a fan of active pickups, there are some versions of the EC-1000 that offer passive options. Which are also made by Seymour Duncan. They are equally good sounding and just as aggressive.

The guitar boasts a versatile control setup! With a master tone, 2 volume knobs, and a pickup selector switch. They help the guitar deliver impressive clarity and aggression. A more complex control setup is not required with this guitar! The picture below displays how the guitar is wired.

LTD EC-1000 Pickup Wiring.

Additionally, the ESP locking tuners and Tonepro’s Tune-o-Matic bridge provide reliable stability. And for those who prefer an Evertune bridge, there are models available as well.

However, some players have reported a tight output jack, but this was not an issue on our review model. I read another review of a player who had tuning issues. Apparently, their guitar would not hold tune. But again, mine did not do this and didn’t slip out of tune at all.

My only complaint is that the nut was made of plastic. On a guitar made for metal music, I would expect at least Tusq to help the level of sustain.

Playability

If you’re digging in and looking for some thick rhythms with good attack, you are covered! Need some seriously fast leads? That is here too!

The sustain and resonance from this guitar is so much fun. It has the right drive and growl to actually feel it coming alive in your hands. The frets are nice and tall, making it easy to bend and really feel the music.

The action on the guitar was also set just right, which made it easy to get around the neck quickly and was fun to play. Playing power chords and arpeggios have never felt so easy. And as a result, the fun factor is super high.

I played the guitar for a few practice sessions with my band. The test was to see how comfortable it was hanging from a guitar strap on my shoulder.

And for the two-hour practice session, I didn’t feel any discomfort at all. The weight of the guitar is not bad and won’t tire you out.

So I found that both standing or sitting, this guitar had a good comfort level. It makes the playability much better than one that might be neck heavy, for instance. The EC-1000 was well-balanced with a good weight distribution throughout.

Durability

After playing this guitar for a few weeks, I have come to a conclusion. My opinion on what I think about the reliability of this guitar.

The set neck design and solid mahogany body are very durable and feel rigid. Even bumping it and dropping it didn’t disrupt the integrity of the guitar.

The hardware all functioned as it should and there were no funny noises when using the controls. It stayed in tune and didn’t present any issues with intonation. I also found the neck to be straight with good action, which made it easy to play.

I believe the EC-1000 will be reliable for both the gigging musician and the weekend warrior. It held up well and felt great.

Cost and Value

After spending some time with this guitar and doing a bit of research, I can say with confidence that this is a good value. Most players, who own the EC-1000, love it for what it offers.

While it’s considered a more budget option, ESP knows how to make great instruments. It will hold its value for many years, and so if you ever upgrade, you can reclaim your investment.

The EC-1000 has gone up in price over the last couple of year. There are a few different models available and so depending on which you select, the cost will be between $1099.00 and $1499.00. Still a smart purchase and one that will serve you well for a long time!

Great guitar for the money and a ton of fun!

EC-1000 at Sweetwater.

Similar Guitars to Consider

If the EC-1000 isn’t quite your thing, there are a few guitars. They are different enough to possibly be a better fit.

Jackson Pro Series DK2

Jackson dk2 electric guitar.

If metal and hard rock are your thing, then the Dinky DK2 by Jackson might be your guitar. Loaded with Seymour Duncan pickups that are versatile and articulate.

This guitar is a metal machine. The neck is easy to play and perfect for shredding, but wide enough for comfortable chord work.

You also have a Floyd Rose bridge and locking nut to keep tuning accuracy. Compared to the EC-1000, the big difference is the body shape and looks. From a sound perspective, the EC-1000 is a bit thicker sounding, while the DK2 is tight and articulate.

It’s just as aggressive, but might be better for leads and shredding. Otherwise, it’s a coin toss between these two. They are both great guitars and can tackle much of the same styles and techniques.


ESP LTD MH-203QM

ESP LTD MH-203QM electric guitar.

Another product by ESP, it’s more affordable and has a different configuration. The ESP LTD MH-203QM comes with a Floyd rose bridge and locking nut, it also has a different body shape.

It, too, is a guitar that does metal extremely well and is truly designed for rhythm and lead playing.

The ESP LTD MH-203QM is made for beginner or intermediate players who want to give this music style a try. It sounds good, plays well, and is a nice guitar to try your hand at some shredding or more aggressive tones.

This guitar would be good for players who have a smaller budget. Otherwise, I would suggest the EC-1000.

Conclusion

The ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 is a beautiful-looking guitar that is loaded with amazing parts!

The EMG pickups and mahogany body just sound amazing together. The versatility of this guitar is right on par with other popular brands. It offers a strong performance in any genre, from rock to metal. Cleans are a breeze here as well and sound great, full, and brilliant.

The fretboard is smooth and comfortable and was perfect for fast playing thanks to the low action. The guitar held tune with no problem.

This was important to me as I play gigs. The guitar must stay in tune! And after 20 years of playing the guitar, this is one area I do not compromise on.

ESP makes some amazing guitars and has done so for many years. Their expertise really shows in this guitar. The quality components they include always seem to raise the bar. They strive for excellence even at a lower price point.

I mean you’re still going to drop a few hundred bucks, but for what you are getting here, it’s well worth it!

FAQs

Is the ESP LTD EC-1000 good for beginners?

The ESP LTD EC-1000 is a higher-end model within the ESP LTD lineup, known for its quality build and premium features.

While it’s an excellent guitar that many professionals and intermediate players love, its price point might be a bit steep for some beginners.

However, if a beginner is willing to invest in a guitar that they won’t outgrow quickly and can last them through their intermediate and even advanced stages, the EC-1000 is a fantastic choice. Its playability, tonal variety, and build quality make it suitable for players of all levels.

Where are LTD EC-1000 guitars made?

The EC-1000 electric guitar is made in either Korea or Indonesia. Most guitar brands that release more affordable lines have them made overseas. But the factories in Korea and Indonesia are very skilled. This is why the quality is above average.

Is the EC-1000 heavy like a Les Paul?

No, the EC-1000 is lighter than a Les Paul. Even though it was made to resemble it, the EC-1000 is thinner and lighter. This makes it a more comfortable guitar to play while standing.