Grrrrreat news everyone! We’re authorized ESP/LTD dealers now! Woohoo! ESP is one of the leading brands for metal players today. Their roster includes legendary musicians like James Hetfield (Metallica), George Lynch (Lynch Mob), Stephen Carpenter (Deftones), Nergal (Behemoth), the late Jeff Hanneman (Slayer), and more!

Today we’re gonna be checking out one of the guitars we’ve been sent from ESP, the LTD EC-1000 Koa. This guitar is a great alternative for those that don’t want to shell out money for a Gibson Les Paul, prefer having 24 frets, and want a more modern tone. This model is new for 2016 and it’s slightly different than ESP’s usual style. Let’s find out what makes it different below!


  • Mahogany body
  • Set-thru 5 piece mahogany-bubinga neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • 24 XJ frets
  • 24.75” scale
  • Thin U neck profile
  • LTD locking tuners
  • Tonepros locking TOM and Tailpiece
  • Seymour Duncan Custom 5 bridge, Jazz neck pickups
  • Black hardware
  • Koa top
  • 2xVolume, 1xTone, 3-way toggle switch


ESP doesn’t shy away from letting the world know that their guitars are supposed to melt faces with shredy widdly diddly. For many of their iconic popular models, you can have any color you want as long as it’s black. Active pickups are also something that people widely associate with ESP’s axes, since you can have active pickups in almost all of their models.

(A lot of people like to hate on active pickups, especially the EMG 81/85 combo. Check out our article about them to find out if EMG’s are actually terrible.)

Over the last few years, ESP has teamed up with popular modern metal guitarists like Javier Reyes, Zach Householder, and Ben Savage. They’ve realized that including nice wood tops and throwing in passive pickups would not insult ESP purists. This realization trickled down into into their production LTD line as well. In 2016 you can get a bunch of LTD M models in awesome 80s neon colors, or H series guitars in super nice natural wood finishes. The LTD EC-1000 is refreshed too, you can finally get a top of the line LTD EC with passive pickups, a Koa top, and all for under $1000!


The Custom 5 and Jazz pickups are on our super picky list of Top 5 Seymour Duncan Humbuckers. The Custom 5 utilizes Alnico 5 magnets, and it behaves like a souped up PAF pickup. This gives it a somewhat scooped and thick tone. There is no other bridge pickup I can imagine in an LP shaped guitar.

The Jazz is ideal for those that really like single coils but love the power of humbuckers. The response of the Jazz is full of treble and brightness. The Jazz is super versatile and plays well with pretty much any pickup combo!

Combine these pickups with the nice warm mahogany of the EC-1000, and you have a guitar that easily achieves the classic Les Paul sound so many people love. I had absolutely no issues getting a nice crunchy blues tone and then dialing in that classic 80’s lead tone through my amp with this thing.

Build Quality:

I’ve never had a problem with LTD’s. They’re very consistent and very well made, like a lot of PRS SE models I’ve encountered. Overall the build quality on this particular one was very solid and did not feel like too many corners were cut, mostly thanks to the well made hardware that LTD puts on their guitars.

The clear coat on this particular one could have been sprayed a bit better. There were a few scratches on the back, but the front of the guitar was clean. The koa top looked really good and definitely made the guitar stand out!

The pots were installed correctly. There was no wobbling or scratching in them. There was a tiny issue with the nut being ever so slightly off the treble side of the neck. This isn’t a huge deal, but it may be something you’d want to fix in the long run. Despite this, the guitar was still intonated correctly and kept its tuning. The locking tuners are pretty great!

The TonePros bridge was beautifully installed, it felt solid and the quality was 100% there.

Final Verdict:

If you’re a fan of Les Paul style guitars, nice woods, and affordability, look no further. The EC-1000 Koa is a fantastic guitar that will fulfill the needs of the bedroom and stage performer with ease. The pickups are great, the bridge is made by a USA company, and it stands out from other LP shapes with it’s sharper looks and koa top.

If you liked this article, be sure to check out more reviews! We are also now authorized ESP/LTD dealers!


This article was written by Mike Azernov, our editor located in New York

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