World Music Supply | ESP Ltd VIPER 256

Hey guys its Brian with World Music Supply here to bring you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews. In today’s blog I got to check out some cool goodies from our friends over at ESP.  We here at WMS have a special place in our cumulative heart for ESP, they’re cool looking, they don’t cost an arm and a leg, and they sound great no matter what you throw at them, and when it comes to guitars you just cant do better than that. So lets get down to business with the center piece of today’s review, the Viper256.

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar See Thru Black Cherry

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar See Thru Black Cherry

The Viper256 comes in two rather attractive finishes, the see thru black cherry, and my personal favorite, black with gold hardware; you just can’t get classier than that. This guitar is a work horse, a solid chunk of Mahogany, 24 big easy playing frets on a fast Thin U shaped Mahogany neck, topped with a nice looking Ebony fretboard. The Tonepros TOM bridge is nice, straightforward, easy to intonate and get working. The part that I really loved about the 256 is the ESP designed LH-150 humbuckers, they have a bold sound with lots of midrange and lows, with just enough high end cut to get you through the mix, but not treble-y enough to cut your head off. The LH-150’s are also coil-tappable by pulling up on the tone-knob, which means you get rich, full sounding humbuckers, and with a flick of your wrist, you have sparkly, shimmering single coils, amazing.

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar Black

ESP Ltd Viper 256 Electric Guitar Black

Clean, this guitar sounded very big, it really has a ton of low end body to it, which I love in a guitar, the mids were thick, and really filled out the area you would expect a guitar to, and the highs were just cutting enough to really sculpt the sound out, not too bright, it left enough room for a band, but more than filled out all of the area a guitar should. With the single coils engaged, you of course notice a tiny drop in volume which I compensated for with a little help from my Electro Harmonix LPB-1. The tone was slinky, it had a lot of Tele style tones to it, but without the high end twang you typically get from a Fender scale length, bolt neck guitar. This meant it had a lot of jangly, almost acoustic sounding vibe, and I really dug the funky kind of bite I could get out of it.

Distorted, this guitar was down right animalistic! The distorted growl of the bridge pickup was very rich, and had a great lead and rhythm tone to it, without having to fiddle with the tone or volume knobs, and I didn’t even have to mess around with any pedals, the bridge pickup was so balanced sounding that it just did everything. The middle position was a tad bit more tame sounding, with a warmer low end, and a little less high end cut, and the neck position had very warm, very bluesy tones hidden in it. Shred work was easy, the shorter 24.75 scale length and the big frets on an ebony board made this guy super fast. The single coil tone had quite a bit of vibe to it; it had that clarity of a single coil with a lot less hum, and not as much treble response. I personally loved this guitar, it looks cool, it feels nice, it plays great, and the sounds it made were pure rock star. I would have to be crazy to not award the Viper 250 a solid 10 out of 10.

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World Music Supply | Winter NAMM Day 1 and 2

Hey guys, its Brian here again with World Music Supply. Today I get to talk about some really cool stuff from Winter NAMM 2013, sadly I can’t really discuss how it sounds or feels, as I didnt get to go due to school. Instead our resident Web Designer, and my Supervisor Mr. Danny Dunn got to go out to California to enjoy everything from hanging out with Rock Stars, checking out new gear, being wined and dined by our sales reps, and the best part (in my eyes) not having to deal with this sudden cold snap here in Indiana. Sure hanging out with rock stars is cool and all, but 70 degrees sounds pretty good when your shoveling snow just to get out of your driveway, but I digress. So here it is folks, some of the cool new stuff you can expect over the course of the next year!

and so it begins

and so it begins

So where to start? Who has come out with the coolest new stuff so far this year? Well while I highly doubt these will production models, that award easily goes to the folks over at ESP. ESP has a habit of coming out with some jaw dropping pieces of gear, usually covered in clever graphics, or in outlandish shapes. I’ve seen everything from a guitar carved like the grim reaper, to guitars sporting graphics that are more at home in a comic book or a tattoo parlor than on the face of a Strat.

The Angel Guitar from ESP, you really can't get much more elaborate than that

The Angel Guitar from ESP, you really can’t get much more elaborate than that

Their graphic work is just amazing.

Their graphic work is just amazing.

Next up are some cool pieces from our buddies over at Charvel, who (much to my excitement) have come out with some new San Dimas, and Pro Mod style guitars, and of course they have gorgeous looking single cuts coming out too, with some very out there looking colors, and bindings, not to mention the cool multi colored humbuckers. 

I want all of them!

I want all of them!

looking fancy

Takamine was there too, and they brought along some of the finest pieces of Japanese luthiery I have ever seen, which is saying something. Granted a few of their finer pieces were kept in glass cases, but from what I was told, these things sounded absolutely amazing, even over the noise of a packed convention hall, these guitars just sounded fantastic.

Just Stunning

Just Stunning

The attention to detail was just amazing

Just amazing Luthiery

Just amazing Luthiery

Ovation brought out a few new things, and a handful of their finer pieces to the show. The carbon fiber topped mandolin was cool, and the new front soundhole design on the guitar right next to it was neat, although the top wood of that guitar caught my eye a little more than the new soundhole design. They also brought out the new versions of the Yngwie Malmsteen Viper, which is a fantastic design, although I wish they would bring back the original Viper myself, this new one looks like it would be a little more comfortable on stage if you play at the speed of sound like Yngwie, less guitar to get in the way of your picking hand.

no one does Carbon Fiber quite like Ovation

no one does Carbon Fiber quite like Ovation

The new soundhole design is almost as eye catching as that Koa top

The new soundhole design is almost as eye catching as that Koa top

Say what you will, but I want that Kaki King model

Say what you will, but I want that Kaki King model

So handsome

So handsome

There was plenty more to see from the show floor, but alas, that will have to wait for Monday, when I can bring you everything from tonight, and Saturday. I’m as excited as you all no doubt are to see what else is being released, and I can’t wait to see what twists and turns are headed our way from California. But for the time being, I hope you guys enjoyed this little glimpse into the weird world that is Winter NAMM, and I cant wait to share the rest with you next week.

one last thing, I really want the Vincent Price guitar from ESP, it’s just perfect.
   

That Gargoyle guitar stand is pretty wicked too

That Gargoyle guitar stand is pretty wicked too

World Music Supply | ESP Guitars

Hi guys, its Brian from World Music Supply here again, to bring you another healthy dose of guitar and gear reviews, and today I have a few guitars from our friends at ESP. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, ESP, which means Electric Sound Products, was founded by one Hisatake Shibuya in Tokyo in the mid 70’s making replacement parts for guitar. They eventually relocated to the US in the early 80’s and quickly made a name for themselves by making custom guitars for the likes of Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and George Lynch. Since the early days ESP has prided itself on making beautifully crafted instruments at reasonable prices, and they keep this mind set in all of their products. Today I’m going to cover a few models from their LTD line, mainly their more aggressive and out there models, specifically the AX50, and the F100FM.

The ESP AX50 in Black

The ESP AX50 in Black

These guitars are designed, and built from the ground up to play hardcore, low down, metal. This aspect is reflected not only in their tones, but also in their modern styling. First up on the chopping block today is the AX50-BK, which is their most oddly shaped guitar to date, and looking at it, with its X shape, with plenty of rounded curves and macho vibe, it’s clear that this guitar was designed with the modern shredder in mind. The guitars circular back cut out strangely reminds me of a sci-fi flick, or a battle axe from a horror movie, and its tones match that description pretty well. Plugging into a Randall RT503H, this guitar was rather impressive, its clean tones were smooth and soulful, which I wasn’t expecting out of a guitar that looks like you could slay demons with it. The bridge pickup is gritty and biting, but it isn’t so trebly that it stings when you slam into it on a clean setting, the middle position was warm and airy, with an almost acoustic flavor, and the neck pickup was round, and rather jazzy…another happy yet unexpected sound.

But, lets be honest, this guitar will probably never run through a clean amp on purpose, guitars that are shapes like this are meant to do two things, play metal, and look awesome, and this guitar does those two things well. Playing on a slightly overdriven setting this guitar had a nice classic rock vibe, with plenty of warmth, and some old school punk style bite. Cranking the gain stage some more, this guitar started to really get into its element, and after dropping the tuning a whole step, and really letting this guitar take off, it becomes readily apparent that this guitar is capable of some serious grind. The two octave range of the thin neck, with its flatter fingerboard radius, and jumbo frets meant that I could really climb up the neck, and pull out some serious shred tones, but still have all of the girth and chunk available at the other end of the board, where the real ferocity of this beast lives. This guitar has a pure, aggressive tone, with some shimmer and sparkle on tap, if the need for it ever arises, and its that kind of jack of all trades ability that I love when it comes to guitars, however, this guitar does look like a giant battle axe, and that mark alone will keep it out of the hands of many guitarists who would need that kind of versatility. So at the end of the day, the AX50-BK earns itself an 8 out of 10 for many guitarists, but if metal is your forte, the AX50-BK easily snags a 10 out of 10.

The ESP F100FM in See Through Black

The ESP F100FM in See Through Black

Next up to bat, is the F100FM-STBK, which is a part of the now infamous ESP F series of guitars, which are like Stratocasters, if the Strat had been designed by a Transylvanian warlock rather than a radio repairman from southern California. The heavily beveled body, and roaring tones of the F series have been a trademark of everyone from big touring metal acts, to local shredders who are just starting to cut their teeth in the music biz. It’s that kind of universal reliance that has made the F series so well known, and after plugging this bad boy in, it’s clear the rumors are true.

Clean tones are sparkly and spanky, just like you would expect from an instrument that bares even a passing resemblance to a Strat. However, this is a double humbucking guitar, meaning it has a much beefier foot print than its three single coil equipped cousin, which means that its snappy tones are fatter, and its round tones are rounder still. However, like the AX50, this is a guitar that thrives on distorted settings, and after a few minutes playing this guitar clean, I decided I had waited long enough, and switched to the Overdrive one stage of the RT503H, and turned the gain up to what I would consider an obnoxious setting, and just let this guitar loose. The shear power that this guitar exhibits is astonishing, there is some real muscle behind this thing, with plenty of punch, but a nice round low end, even with all of the blistering distortion that was caking up around it. This guitar just has tone for days, and the comfortable shape of the neck, with the 24 jumbo frets, all made for one amazingly playable, amazing sounding guitar. The F100FM has a far more mainstream shape than the AX50, however it still falls squarely in metal guitar territory, meaning even though it sounds so good, with tons of tone on tap, the F100FM-STBK can only score a 9 out of 10, because even though it sounds almost perfect, it doesn’t seem like something you would see on stage with say, a country act. However, as with the AX50, if you are a shredder, or metal is your area of expertise, than the F100Fm-STBK than this guitar easily gets itself a 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | ESP & LTD Electrics

Hey guys it’s Brian here with World Music Supply again and today I’m going to talk a little bit about ESP guitars. ESP, which means Electric Sound Products, was founded by one Hisatake Shibuya in Tokyo in the mid 70’s making replacement parts for guitar. They eventually relocated to the US in the early 80’s and quickly made a name for themselves by making custom guitars for the likes of Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and George Lynch. Since the early days ESP has prided itself on making beautifully crafted instruments at reasonable prices, and they keep this mind set in all of their products. Today I’m going to cover a few models from their LTD line, the VIPER 300, the EC1000, and the MH327.

The ESP Ltd Viper 300FM See-Thru Black Cherry

The ESP Ltd Viper 300FM See-Thru Black Cherry

The VIPER is a classic ESP shape, a modified, and heavily sculpted variation on an already classic double cutaway design, the VIPER 300 fits you like a dream. Its odd asymmetrical shape gives it a cool stylistic edge, and its powerful EMG Pickups provide it with a heavy sonic edge like no other active pickup can provide. The heavily flamed top gives it a nice classy look, and the flag inlays help to give it a very high class look.

Sitting down with the VIPER 300 and running it through its paces was revealing. The first thing I always notice about guitars with EMG pickups is how big and dark their clean sounds are, and this guitar is no exception. With big dark tones, which are almost jazzy in tonality, I was able to run through some slick changes with a very musical tone, and with its 24 frets, I was able to travel a lot further through these jazz runs than usual.

Cranking the gain on my amp up a little bit resulted in deep, full saturation. The EMG 81 and 85 Pickups provide big tone at any range, pulling up far more frequencies than their passive counterparts. This ability to pull up frequencies means that your tone has all of that sparkle that you get from compressors, but without the lack of dynamic control. The VIPER played smooth across its whole length, and with its thin U profile neck and its XJ Frets meant that it was also super fast across its whole length, and super easy to play lightning fast shred lines for hours without ever having to slow down.

The VIPER 300 is a fantastic guitar, with more than enough power to play even the darkest, heaviest metal, or even the most mellow of jazz licks. The VIPER 300 is a great guitar for literally any collection, and it gets a 10 out of 10, as its classic looks, powerfully versatile sounds, and handsome flamed top all add up to one monster of a guitar. 

The ESP LTD EC1000 Flamed Maple Antique Sunburst

The ESP LTD EC1000 Flamed Maple Antique Sunburst

Next up on the chopping block is the EC1000FM specifically the Aged Vintage Sunburst which features Seymour Duncan pickups, Tonepros locking TOM style bridge, and Sperzel  locking tuners. This guitar features a very handsome take on the classic LP style body shape, with a sharp looking florentine cutaway and stunning abalone inlays and binding all over the guitar.

Plugging the guitar in, I was confronted with some very powerful tones. This guitar practically cried out to play classic rock riffs, with its classic pairing of a mahogany body and a flamed maple top, and its powerful Seymour Duncan pickups, this guitar screamed. On clean settings it dazzled me with some of the most pristine cleans possible, able to be both bright and chimey and yet mellow and full all at once, and on a dirty setting it was able to bark and shout with the best of them. Like the last guitar, the EC1000 also features a Thin U neck contour and 24 XJ frets, which means that it still is a lighting quick shred machine. Now while this fit great with the more metal stylings of the  VIPER 300, it seems a tad out of place with the classic rock stylings of the EC1000, but it does give the EC1000 a very modern, shred friendly feel.

I personally love the EC1000, with its stunning good looks, and tones that just don’t stop, it’s no wonder that the EC series is one of ESP’s most popular models. For its ability to play almost any style of music and still look good doing it, the EC1000 gets a solid 9 out of 10, as while it is amazingly handsome, its flamed maple top might keep it from fitting in with some of the heavier genres of music, who tend to shy away from guitars that aren’t flat black shred machines.

The ESP LTD MH327 in See Thru Red

The ESP LTD MH327 in See Thru Red

Last up is the MH327, which has some rather unique qualities to this list of guitars, first off because it is the only one in this list which has a Floyd Rose tremolo, but more importantly, because this guitar has 27 frets. That means you can climb all the way up to a high G on the high E string without ever having to bend up to a note, when will you ever need this ability? I don’t know, but I want to find out. This guitar features the familiar Mahogany body with a flamed maple top that all of the other guitars, and it also features Seymour Duncan pickups like EC1000, however these pickups do differ from those on the EC1000, in that they are Custom 5 in the bridge and a Hot Rail in the neck.

The guitar sounded fantastic when plugged in too, with bright spanky mids, and a big full bottome end. I quickly found this guitar also had one final trick up its metaphorical sleeves in that, it also features a coil tap. This means that this guitar has more features than a swiss army knife, a floating double locking tremolo, a 27 fret neck, and the ability to sound like a big bold humbucker equipped guitar, or a bright, chimey single coil equipped guitar. The clean tones on the humbucker setting were full and fat, with enough body to be useful in any situation, and in single coil mode, it had a very convincing strat style tone.

Dirtying up the tone a bit, this guitar yielded some amazing shred worthy tones, with quick attack, and big powerful sustain. Playing within the key of G the extra frets proved worthy by allowing me to glide all the way up to that 27th fret without having to bend my way into that high G. The 27 frets however proved more useful when I dropped the tuning a full step and realized that I hadn’t lost any of the standard range of a 24 fret guitar in the process, and thanks to its Fender style 25.5’ scale length, I could drop my tuning without the strings feeling loose, or uncomfortable. In this dropped tuning, the MH327 loosed powerful metal tones left and right, and its Floyd Rose let me dive bomb and scream to my hearts contents.

The MH327 is one amazing machine, with more frets than almost any production guitar on the market today, and the fact that it comes stock with Seymour Duncan pickups which can be coil split, as well as a Floyd Rose, means this really is the swiss army knife of guitars. For its astonishing versatility and bold powerful tones, the MH327 snags a well deserved 10 out of 10.

so as you can tell, ESP produces some amazing guitars, all with their own particular style, voice and purpose. With the razor sharp looks of the VIPER, the vintage styling of the EC1000 or the futuristic design of the MH327, its clear that with so many styles, there is bound to be one that fits your specific need, and fits your personal budget, and their all available right now at Worldmusicsupply.com!