The “M-Series” is at the forefront of the the LTD line. These minimalistic guitars have been around for years with no plans to leave any time soon. A few weeks back, we did a review on the LTD EC-1000 Koa and found it to be a great guitar for it’s price. We figured that we’d go ahead and do a review of the M-1000 Koa, because who doesn’t love Koa?

Let’s get started!


  Mahogany Body Wings

  Hawaiin Koa Top

  Black Binding

  5-piece Maple/Bubinga Neck

  Ebony Fingerboard

  Neck-Thru Build

  13.77″ Radius

  25.5” Scale Length

  24 Jumbo Frets

  Floyd Rose Bridge

  Grover Tuners

  Black Hardware

  DiMarzio ST2 Custom Pickups


  5-Way Pickup Switch

  Natural Gloss Finish

The standout features of the M-1000 Koa to me are the wood choices and cosmetic appointments.

At $1249, you wouldn’t expect a guitar to have this many “exotic” wood choices. Koa top, Maple/Bubinga neck, and an Ebony board are some awesome woods to see on a guitar from LTD!

The dark ebony board, black binding, and black hardware makes for a great contrast on top of the natural Koa top. I’m definitely impressed with the looks of the guitar.

The double cut contoured body is super comfortable to play with while sitting down.

One little complaint, feature-wise, is that the guitar features a floyd rose, but no locking tuners. It does have a locking nut, but I just prefer locking tuners 10000% of the time.

(We have an article with some of our favorite locking tuners as well if you are interested.)


The wood combination of Mahogany, Koa, Ebony, Bubinga, and Maple is fairly complex and provides a fairly unique sound.

Mahogany is the most abundant wood on this guitar, so it’s warm and deep tonal characteristics dominate for the most part. The Maple/Bubinga neck and Koa provide some additional clarity and definition that you don’t usually see with a mahogany body.

One thing this guitar pretty much guarantees with it’s specs is a long sustain. The wood combinations (primarily the mahogany body and the maple neck) offer a bunch of resonance. Not to mention the neck-thru build adds a ton of sustain as well.

The pickups are DiMarzio ST-2 Customs. These are custom built by DiMarzio for ESP/LTD guitars. They have a high output and are voiced quite aggressively. The EQ curve is a bit generous in the upper-mids and offers tons of clarity.

The guitar performs quite well for clean tones and for high gain tones. I really enjoyed the sounds that could be achieved for playing leads and shredding. Leads in the upper register have the ability to cut through the mix exceedingly well. This is definitely where it excels. 

The only thing that I may suggest a pickup swap for is low tuned riffy styles of playing. While the pickups maintain clarity in low tuning, the low end is a bit thin for this style.

If you want some suggestions for pickups, we have some reviews, such as the Seymour Duncan Pegasus. This particular pickup would probably fair quite well in this guitar. The Pegasus’ characteristics would help add some thickness and punch to the low-end.

Build Quality :

All of the mid-high level LTD guitars that I’ve played stay fairly consistent. The build quality is pretty solid and ESP does not cut any corners.

The  finish and binding work were executed well. I couldn’t find any inconsistencies here. I have a 7 year old MH series LTD that has some seriously good fretwork for what that guitar costs. The M-1000 Koa managed to stay consistent with my personal LTD experience as well.

This might not be quality related, more of a preference. The only complaint I have about this guitar is the lack of locking tuners. Especially with a tremolo bridge, locking tuners would be the first thing I would do to this guitar if I bought it.

We have a beginner’s guide on how to change your tuning machines if you want to learn how!

Final Verdict :

If you’re looking for a solid guitar with some exotic wood appointments at a fairly reasonable price, then you’ve found it. $1249 is a seriously reasonable asking price for this guitar.

Like i said before, the only things I would change would be locking tuners and maybe a pickup swap, depending on what I want out of the guitar. Even after changing these things, you’d probably still end up cheaper than most guitars with these specs.

You can’t go wrong with this one. Bravo ESP/LTD.


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This article was written by Zac Buras, our editor located in Louisiana.

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