In this week’s gear rundown, we will be checking out the incredible LTD EC-1000 series of guitars by The ESP Guitar Company; an incredible axe sure to please any guitarist out there who values great playability and great tone.
The EC-1000 guitars once utilized a set-neck design which already provided great tonal projection and resonance as well as sustain. However, recently the design has been upgraded and swapped to neck-through which has improved these areas even further. The guitars boast an active set of EMG pick-ups, the 80 in the bridge position and the 61 in the neck position. These are easily removed and swapped of course if you have a different preference but they truly are the perfect pick-ups for this guitar. All the wood of this guitar is made of resonant mahogany except for the fretboard which is a rich ebony. The most impressive specs of this guitar lie in its neck/fretboard however; a thin-U contour and 13.7 inch radius combined with a 24.75 inch scale length make a super comfortable fit for most hands.
Tonal Capabilities and Playability
Due to its wood and pick-up selections, this guitar can handle many different tones and genre styles. If it’s something more clear and resonant you’re after, the EMG 61 in neck position is your best bet through a clean amplifier channel. Perfect for that soft ambient bridge your new song has. Switch down to the EMG 80 that sits in the bridge position and you’ve got you’re more hard hitting crunch sound will work well for those punchy alt-rock songs you wrote back in the day. Set the toggle to the middle position and you get a tone that sits somewhere between these two extremes. Of course, this all diversified further when playing through an overdriven channel. The 61 becomes a liquid-like solo tone and the 80 becomes a thick and rich sound perfect for face melting riffage and chords. Add in the dynamic control you have with the volume knob and the tone controls which allow you to clean up the signal or really run it hot and you have a truly versatile instrument.
In regard to playability a personal anecdote may be the best way to describe just how incredible this guitar feels to the hands and how easy and yet satisfying it is to play. I purchased my own EC-1000 back in 2012 as it was easily the nicest feeling guitar I had played up to that point (and I’ve been playing since 2006.)
Now here we are in 2017, I’ve played and owned many more guitars and this remains my favourite. Only one guitar has ever matched its playabilities to my hands and that is the Music Man JP13, a guitar which costs almost 3.5k more than the EC-1000. The neck and fretboard specifications remain the foremost reason for this as they are masterfully crafted to suit nearly any style of playing. The only players who will dislike this guitar are the ones that actually prefer a very thick neck to wrap their meaty hands around. The body of the EC-1000 however has no contouring at all and if there is anything I would add to improve it, it would be at least a slight forearm scoop for added comfort for anyone who likes to play with their guitar strapped high up.
Nothing major tends to go wrong with this guitar. It’s tuning remains stable due to its locking tuners and tailpiece and the wiring and soldering job is done well across all guitars in the series, meaning you’re not likely to get any nasty short circuits during a show.
The hardware however tends to wear and tear as happens on most guitars. The strap pins have a tendency to get loose and sometimes you may find your volume and tone knobs feeling a bit loose (one of mine even slid off but was easy to put back on)
Be warned that the pickup toggle switch is fairly weak. In the first week that I had my EC-1000 it suffered a minor fall whilst leaning against a wall and the toggle switch snapped clean off, needing replacing.
All in all, this guitar is a fine piece of work which should be in any guitar players arsenal should they consider themselves serious and find themselves in need of a fresh and highly versatile instrument. It’s a reliable, great sounding and extraordinarily incredible feeling guitar.