ESP LTD EC-1000VB review

Twin EMG-loaded LP-style axe from ESP's Deluxe Series

  • £899
  • $1142

MusicRadar Verdict

At £899, the EC-1000VB is fantastic value. The vintage-styling is stylish and subtle, while the EMGs perform very well, never overdoing things unless required to do so. The matt finish makes this a real player.


  • +

    The price. Stylish finish. Huge rock and metal tone.


  • -

    Nothing of note.

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Part of ESP's Deluxe Series, the LTD EC-1000 line consists of eight models with varying finishes, materials and electrics. The twin EMG-loaded EC-1000VB on review here boasts a vintage black matt finish and a vintage-style binding…


As with the majority of the entire EC range, the 1000VB's control panel lacks separate tone pots, leaving the remaining three slightly indented controls sited in an ergonomically satisfying semi-circle.

Although the option that boasts a flamed-maple top and a duo of Duncan humbuckers betrays far more adequately the Kalamazoo vibe, the darker feel of the VB option is cemented by EMG pickups and perfectly off-set by gold hardware, all the way from the TonePros bridge array to the locking Schaller M6 tuners.

The neck feels contemporary - it's wide and thin, in other words - and the big frets, Earvana nut and low action ensure it's a dream to get to grips with.


In comparison to Eclipse models, the EC-1000VB is, to our ears, very slightly less toppy. We're obviously not talking Telecaster twang here but the bridge pickup and central position on the three-way toggle was more akin to what we'd perceive to be a fuller-throated Les Paul roar.

Of course, at ultra-high amp gains the noiseless signal hike that is the EMG trademark allows the guitar to open out and give a huge rock and metal tone. What's more, the playing experience and tuning stability gives you total confidence to try - and for the most parts pull off - difficult chord passages and phrases.

Clean the guitar is just like a Les Paul: there's nothing wrong with the tone but proceedings are so much better with some gain and that's certainly the case here. The tone is full enough for most applications, with a useable jazz warmth to be found via the neck EMG-60.

Simon Bradley is a guitar and especially rock guitar expert who worked for Guitarist magazine and has in the past contributed to world-leading music and guitar titles like MusicRadar (obviously), Guitarist, Guitar World and Louder. What he doesn't know about Brian May's playing and, especially, the Red Special, isn't worth knowing.