ESP LTD EX-360

Sleek and sharp, all kinetic angles with a bulk befitting a scale model of a Star Destroyer, the EX-360 looks like some weaponised guitar from the future.

Yet design-wise it's an antique, a bona fide classic whose genetic lineage stretches back to the 1958 debut of the Gibson Explorer.

"LTD has done a great job in balancing a super-hot active pickup with an expanse of solid tonewood to truly do the pickups justice."

The angles have been sharpened, but that asymmetric body shape is unmistakably Explorer. In 1958 it was ahead of its time for an electric guitar to capture the imagination, and only when James Hetfield of Metallica became synonymous with the Explorer did the guitar become an icon.

In truth, that synonymous-with-Hetfield quality is hardwired to the EX-360's DNA - even the pickup configuration, with the EMG 60 in the neck and 81 on the bridge, is classic Hetfield. Metallica fans will be all over the chance to be able to go some way in recreating Jaymez's tone for less than £700.

Sounds

The EX-360 is all about the heft. Just fire up your amp, add plenty of gain, and play an open E: there's a bestial quality to its tone that'd transpose even the most mundane riff into something sinister and worthy.

The EX-360 is about deep, warm tones. EMG pickups are awesome, an essential piece of kit for dealing with down-tuned guitars and high-gain rough and tumble, yet on some guitars they can lack the warmth that characterises, say, the EX-360's Gibson-crafted design muse.

That's not the case here; LTD has done a great job in balancing a super-hot active pickup with an expanse of solid tonewood to truly do the pickups justice. The sustain, harmonic liveliness and jumbo frets are all there for lead playing, too.

The EX-360's neck is comfortable, with a profile thin enough to help modernise a classic design into an electric that's a superlative all-rounder for contemporary metal. The variety of tone is incredible, especially for Metallica fans - whether playing cleans with the neck pickup and a little modulation, or riffing hard on the bridge pickup and the gain maxed out, the EX-360 is capable of tones eerily similar to its hero's.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Awesome sonic range; Explorer-inspired lines.

Cons

Looks could be less utilitarian.

Verdict

With its extra grunt and tonal versatility, we'd go with function over form, dress down and tool up with the EX-360.

Available Controls

3-way Pickup Selector Tone Volume

Available Finish

Black (shown), Snow White

Bolt-on Neck

No

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Guitar Body Material

Mahogany

Left Handed Model Available

No

Neck Material

Maple

No. of Frets

22

Scale Length (Inches)

24.75

Pickup

EMG 81 (bridge), EMG 60 (neck)

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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