ESP LTD EC-1000 (Deluxe) Review 2021 – Before You Buy

ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 – Best Metal Single-Cut Under $1000

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money
Versatility

Summary

Pros:
-Great metal tones
-Stunning looks
-Spot on the action and smooth neck make this comfortable to play
-Works well with small hands too
-Versatile
-High quality
-A tons of different color options available
-You can get LTD EC-1000’s with tons of different extra features from piezo pickups to floyd rose

Cons:
-Upper fret access is not great
-Use of plastic nut feels a bit cheap for this price

With this axe, you get excellent value for money. It’s built for metal but can handle different music too. I’ve been lovin’ this guitar since I first tried it out a couple of years ago.

For people who mostly play metal, but want to explore other genres too, this guitar is definitely worth the money.

4.7

How ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 sounds:

YouTube video

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One of my favorite guitars. Handles everything, but it’s made for heavy riffing. Now I will reveal why I think that this is a great choice. 

Guitarist next door playing ESP LTD EC-1000

ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 specs:

Body type: Solidbody

Body wood: Mahogany

Neck wood: Mahogany

Neck shape: Thin U

Scale length: 24.75”

Truss rod: Yes

Fretboard material: Ebony(vintage black), Rosewood fretboard in different color options

Fretboard radius: 13.7”

Number of frets: 24, Extra Jumbo

Nut width: 1.65” (42mm)

Nut material: Molded plastic

Pickups: EMG 60 Humbucker (neck), EMG 81 Humbucker (bridge). Both are active pickups. Seymor Duncan JB/59 pickups are available with different color options.

Pickup switch: 3-way

Bridge: TonePros locking Tune-o-Matic bridge


Different Versions of ESP LTD EC-1000 – There are tons of them!

Here are all the different versions of ESP LTD EC-1000 available in 2021(I used ESP’s Site as source)

  • ESP LTD EC-1000: Classic model with 2 EMG pickups.
  • ESP LTD EC-1000T: Full Thickness Mahogany body with Flamed Maple top (no waist cut). Has 2x Fishman Fluence Open Core Classic pickups.
  • ESP LTD EC-1000 Duncan: Has a Seymour Duncan ’59 (neck) and Seymour Duncan JB (bridge). Both passive pickups.
  • ESP LTD EC-1000S Fluence: Has more veratile pickups. Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker Alnico (neck) and Fishman Fluence Modern Humbucker Ceramic (bridge).
  • ESP LTD EC-1000FR: Has a original Floyd Rose 1000SE -bridge.
  • ESP LTD EC-1000 Evertune: Has an Evertune bridge that increases tuning stability and intoation. Has Seymour Duncan Jazz (neck) and Seymour Duncan JB (bridge)
  • ESP LTD EC-1000 Evertune BB: Has 7 strings and Evertune F model bridge that increases tuning stability and intoation. ”BB stands for the extra-thick metallic silver bold binding.” Has a EMG 60TW-R Brushed Chrome *(Pull Tone for Split) at neck and EMG 81 Brushed Chrome at bridge. Both active pickups.
  • ESP LTD EC-1007 Evertune: Has 7 strings and Evertune F model bridge that increases tuning stability and intoation. Uses 25.5”scale instead of 24.75”. Has EMG 60-7H (neck) and EMG 81-7H (brige) pickups.
  • ESP LTD EC-1000T CTM: Full Thickness Mahogany body with Flamed Maple top (no waist cut). Has 22 frets. ”Powered by a set of Fishman Fluence Open Core Classic Humbucker pickups with push-pull controls to select between three different voicings, offering the tone and response of both active and passive pickup varieties (voice 1 & 2) as well as single-coil varieties (Voice 3).”-ESP’s site.
  • ESP LTD EC-1001T CTM: Full Thickness Mahogany body with Flamed Maple top (no waist cut). 22 frets. Has EMG 66TW *(Pull Volume to split) neck and EMG 57TW *(Pull Volume to split) at bridge. Both active pickups.
  • ESP LTD EC-1000 PIEZO: As the name suggest, this version has an piezo pickups too. These are Fishman Powerbridge and Tailpiece-Piezo pickups. Also has a regular Seymour Duncan ’59 (neck) and Seymour Duncan JB (bridge). Has 2 output jacks.

Who crafted this Review:

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Author & Reviewer: Teemu Suomala

Playing guitar since 2009. Mainly focused on electric guitars, although plays acoustics too. Started this blog in January 2020.

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ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 Review

Sound

Another nice sound demo for you:

YouTube video

This classic model that I have played comes with 2 Active EMG 81/60 pickups. And yes, you can be sure that these handle high gain really well. This guitar produces aggressive, warm, and dark tones. I find these tones to be great especially for heavy riffs.

Mahogany neck and body, plus ebony fingerboard give the tone even more warmness and richness. But the tones are not too dark or dull, so lead sections still sound killer too in my opinion.

This guitar is also really gentle with clean tones. These tones come out clear, open, and detailed, so clean intros will go just fine with this one. 

Both dirty and clean riffs from bands like Metallica, Slipknot and even Pantera sound really good with this axe.

Here you can check which artists use these 81 & 60 and other EMG pickups.

And this is not just a metal guitar, it can handle all sorts of music thanks to its high-quality and well-balanced pickups. This is one of the best things about this guitar. It’s made for metal for sure, but you are not going to be stuck inside one genre with axe.

But of course, if you are not into metal, you can find better options.

As I mentioned in the Specs-section, there are 2 different pickup options for this guitar.

  • EMG’s active pickups churn out a really high output and mean tones. Really mean, but sound too compressed to some.
  • Seymor Duncan’s passive pickups give you mean tones, but sound more natural and a little bit more gentle in my opinion.

Here you can hear these 2 different versions compared:

YouTube video

Playability

The fretboard radius is 13.78 inches, so it has less curve than electric guitars in general.  This almost non-existing curve makes moving your hand around the fretboard easy.

Macassar ebony fretboard paired with 24 extra-jumbo stainless steel (durable) frets is effortless to play with a right setup. You don’t need to put much pressure to strings to hit a note with this guitar.

Fast sweep picking runs and aggressive bends are really comfortable with this guitar.

Another thing that makes playing comfortable and frets easily to hit is the scale length of 24.75”. Strings of this axe have less tension than most Tele or Stratocasters-inspired guitars. This especially makes bends really comfortable for you.

The thin-U neck shape is one of the best aspects of this guitar. This makes correct thumb placement easy,it automatically sits at the right place facing your middle finger.

This increases both overall playability and your reach over the fretboard. 

About the reach…

But as usual with Les-Pauls and other Singl-Cut guitars in general, some low strings below the 15th frets are a bit hard to reach, aka. ”limited upper fret access”. The carving at the back of the neck makes things a little bit easier for you tho, but still upper fret access is not amazing.

Nut width is 1.65” (42mm), which’s slightly narrower than in single-cut guitars in general. This is good news especially for the small-handed player(me), and this is one reason why I enjoyed playing this guitar.

I especially enjoyed riffind near the nut without need to focus on reaching the frets because of the narrow nut. I can focus on playing only with this guitar.

Out of the box action is spot on. It’s pretty low, so it’s fitting for me perfectly. Of course, you can adjust the action according to your preference with the truss rod and bridge setup.

Overall, this guitar is really easy and comfortable to play. The only real con is a slightly limited upper-frett access.

Quality/Build

Quality is really high for the price. The finish is excellent and this guitar looks stunning. No rough edges. All the details are high quality too, for example flags on the fretboard.

ESP’s locking tuners are good-looking and also work well. In my testing, this guitar has always stayed in tune like a charm. 

It is really hard for me to find complaints about quality. It’s excellent for the price, and I didn’t found any flaws, except…

The nut. It’s plastic. This to me is like using the tires of my Toyota(1999) in a Tesla.

Real bone or Tusq saddle, for example, would increase sustain and make this axe sound better overall. Replacing the nut is the only thing that I really want to change with this guitar.

Otherwise everything in this guitar is spot on in my opinion. Stainless steel frets scratch quite easily, but this fret-material is standard at this price range, so I’m not going to complain about this.

The neck is constructed from 3 pieces, and the centerpiece is glued to the body. This centerpiece usually goes a long way inside of the guitar’s body. This is referred to as ”Set-Thru neck”.

What this does: the neck has a better connection to the body and that way the vibration of the strings transfers better through the guitars body. This increases sustain & resonation, the overall tone and make guitar play better & louder unplugged too.

I really like this connection method between the neck and body of the guitar. The only real downside of it is that the neck is practically impossible to replace.

Some also argue that the resonance cans sometimes suffer because of set through and neck through necks, especially if the connection/gluing is done poorly.

Looks

This guitar looks stunning. Every detail is well finished, and the paint job is flawless. My favorite color options are vintage black and koa.

And the amazing thin is that there are a tons of different color options available.

Summary

Pros:

  • Great metal tones
  • Stunning looks
  • Spot on the action and smooth neck make this comfortable to play
  • Works well with small hands too
  • A tons of different color options available
  • Versatile
  • High quality
  • You can get LTD EC-1000’s with tons of different extra features from piezo pickups to floyd rose

Cons:

  • Upper fret access is not great
  • Use of plastic nut feels a bit cheap for this price

With this axe, you get excellent value for money. It’s built for metal but can handle different music too. I’v been lovin’ this guitar since I first tried it out couple of years ago.

For people who mostly play metal, but want to explore other genres too, this guitar is definitely worth the money.

Check Price of EMG pups version on:


Check Price of Seymor Duncan pups version on:


FAQ

ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 Toggle and Volume Controls (Classic version)

This ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 and most ESP guitars are wired in a way that the upper volume knob controls the bridge pickup and the lower volume knob controls the neck pickup.

For some folks, this seems odd, but the reason for this kind of wiring is simple. With ESP and many other guitars, the players use the bridge pickup more often, when playing riffs, rhythm, or leads. This placement makes accessing the volume control of the more used bridge pickup(bridge) easier.

Are ESP LTD guitars good?

Based on my experience, I have owned ESP LTD MH-400 for 7 years and I have played tens of different ESP LTD guitars.

Yes, most ESP LTD models are great guitars in my opinion. The built quality is excellent for the price, the guitars provide great metal tones, and with most, you can explore different music genres too.

Of course, original ESP models offer you more quality and better sounds and playability, but the difference is not that big. For most players, ESP LTD models will be excellent choices.

Alternatives

Versatile Competitor – PRS Se Custom 24-08

Pros

  • High-quality pickups and tonewood deliver superb sound
  • Separate coil-split for both humbuckers adds versatility
  • Wide thin neck shape is comfortable
  • The scale length of 25′ over 24 frets for extra-wide fret spacing(hitting wrong strings is made hard)

Cons

  • High price, out of budget for many
  • Quality control sometimes lets lemons slip through

Separate split coil switches for both humbuckers ensure 8 different pickup configurations. This ensures you with versatility that is really hard to beat.

You can check the full review of this guitar in this article: 5 Best Wide Neck Electric Guitars for Fat Fingers in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

Check Price on


More Shreddable – Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24M

Pros

  • Great ergonomic qualities, compounding radius makes both riffing and soloing smooth
  • Amazing upper fret access (you can 5 string sweep from 19th fret)
  • Active pickups with a great ad unique tone(heavy but detailed for soloing)
  • The price is fairly reasonable for the qualities that you get
  • Amazing looks

Cons

  • Nothing at this price level

Not just a shred-machine…can handle everything, but we all know what fits the best with this axe…

PS. Rhoads is one of my favorite guitarists of all time.

Check Price on:


Great All-Rounder – Fender Player Telecaster HH

This one is an excellent all-rounder with one of the best split-coil tones I have heard. This guitar is even more versatile than Plus-top Pro and offers you beautiful Telecaster looks. Modern C neck shape ensures easy playability. I definitely recommend that you check this guitar out. 

You can read my full review of this guitar here: Fender Player Telecaster HH Review 2020 – Before You Buy.

Check Price on:


Conclusion

ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 is an excellent option if you want to play different kinds of music but really want to dial in some heavy tones more than often. If metal is no your thing at all, this might not be the best option tonally, although it looks stunning and can handle everything.

I hope that this review helped you out! If you have any questions, leave a comment down below. Feel free to share this post too.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala