ESP has always been many people’s favorite. Definitely one of my favorite brands. They’ve always had a single goal and have strived for it. That goal was to make the best metal guitars they possibly can. Considering their artist roster, I’m fairly confident in saying they’ve achieved that goal.

Today, I’m checking out the ESP LTD M-1000SE. The M-1000SE is part of ESP/LTD’s famous superstrat M line of guitars, loved by many for their playability and reliability. We also did a review of the M-1000 Koa from this line. Be sure to check that out!

This particular model is a bit different from the usual ESP approach to guitars, let’s check out what’s so awesome about this one!


Features :

-25.5” Scale

-Bolt-on Maple/Walnut Neck

-Mahogany Body

-Flame Maple Top

-Vintage Natural Satin Finish

-Extra Thin “U” Shape Neck

-Maple neck w/Maple Fretboard

– Flame Maple Top Headstock

-Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates/Jazz Pickups

-Floyd Rose Tremolo

-Chrome Hardware

– 1x Vol/1x Tone Knob/ 5-Way Switch

Let’s point out the elephant in the room. Yes, this guitar does look like it came in a kit, okay? But trust me, it plays like anything but a kit guitar. This guitar really stands out from ESP/LTD’s typical lineup of black guitars, dark fretboards, and active pickups. I’m very happy to see higher-end LTD M-Series guitars with a bolt-on neck and passive pickups.

The guitar as a whole seems more versatile due to its aesthetic. It has a much simpler look and is much more conservative, with nothing really standing out on the surface when next to fancy bursts and dyes. However, that’s what makes this guitar special. It just looks so cool! The classic pointy ESP headstock has been replaced with a more tame classic strat style one, and the maple veneer adds so much class to this guitar!


I love the Pearly Gates pickups in this guitar. The PAF-style sound from them is clear, bright, and excellently balanced.  A sweet vintage output at 8.21K makes the cleans from the bridge pleasant and the distortion nice and tight. You can play virtually any genre since these pickups aren’t necessarily metal-oriented. Split the coils and you get an amazing and crystal clear clean tone, as well as an old fashioned crunch with distortion. I absolutely loved these. These pickups don’t sound too warm like they would in a heavy mahogany guitar like a Les Paul, but they’re just right in a lighter mahogany guitar like this one.

I was never really fond of the SD Jazz, to be completely honest. For my own taste I think they’re a bit underpowered and could use more mid range, being a neck pickup. But hey, I’m in the minority here. Tons of people love the Jazz pickup for it’s versatility and clarity. I mean hey, if it’s good enough for Jeff Beck, it must be pretty damn great! In this guitar the Jazz made me happy. Despite having scooped mids it made the notes sing. The Jazz has a lot of treble and that makes it really great for really making your notes ring out. In the end, both the Pearly Gates and the Jazz made it to our Top 5 Seymour Duncan Humbuckers list, so that’s gotta count for something!

Build Quality:

This is a higher end LTD. LTD’s are fantastic guitars. The finish quality on this guitar was absolutely superb. Granted, it may be a bit hard to spot flaws on a clear coat, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve seen butchered clear coat finishes that made me want to cry. I absolutely love the fact this this is a higher end LTD with a bolt on neck. Usually you never see the higher end LTDs with bolt on necks, only set or neck thru builds. The bolt on really helps add a bit of attack on the mahogany body, which is already excellently balanced with the maple-everything-else on this guitar.

For once, chrome hardware doesn’t look cheap. Chrome hardware usually makes me upset, since we see it in so many low budget guitars. In this guitar though the chrome hardware looks really great! More importantly, the chrome hardware doesn’t look cheap.

The trem on this guitar can withstand some serious abuse. I had a bit too much fun with it, but it stayed in tune just the same, not even a cent off! This is how production guitars should be made.

The pots didn’t scratch, but they did feel a little bit loose and had a little play in them. Not a cause for worrying, I just prefer really tight pots.

The only “flaw” I found was shipping damage, there was a tiny dent on the end of the headstock.

Overall, this guitar was built very well, and I would definitely say that is completely useable out of the box.

If you’re interested in snatching one of these, or any ESP or LTD guitar we are authorized ESP dealers, and every guitar gets a spa treatment with our Free Guitar Enhancement Package!


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


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