ESP LTD VB-200B Review WiredGuitarist November 15, 2016 Articles, ESP Guitar Reviews, Reviews, Uncategorized We see all sorts of neat, modern interpretations of classic guitars, such as the Schecter PT-7 (Based on the Tele) and the Ibanez ARZ6UC (Based on the Les Paul). Both of these shapes are recreated by many different companies, but one classic style that you don’t see modernized too often is the Gibson SG. ESP actually does have a model that mimics this classic, and it’s called the Viper! Today, we’ll be looking at the affordable Viper 200B! Features: – Basswood Body – Black Finish – 3-pc Maple Bolt-On Neck – 27″ Scale –Rosewood Fretboard – 13.77” Radius – 24 X-Jumbo Frets – ESP LH-150 Pickups – LTD Fixed Bridge w/ String Thru Body – Thin ‘U’ Neck – 1xVol/1xTone/Toggle Switch This guitar literally resembles a warped Gibson SG in an all black finish. I’ve actually never been super fond of the Gibson SG shape. I just never got along with the way it felt. The more extreme upper contour of the Viper definitely added a more ergonomic feel to it. The Thin ‘U’ neck shape offers a similar feel to the higher-end LTD models. It’s nice and chunky, and it so happens to be one of my favorite necks for rhythm playing. The Hipshot-style LTD bridge isn’t too bad actually. It’s not amazing, but surprisingly comfortable for the cost of this guitar. Definitely beats out most things in this price range. Obviously the most standout feature is the baritone neck. There aren’t many options out there for a 27″ 6-string in the >$400 range. Tone: The Viper is a solid Basswood guitar with a Maple neck. Basswood is a fairly mid-heavy, soft tonewood. It gets a pretty bad rep for the low quality cuts found on many guitars. This guitar costs $350, so don’t expect PRS Wood Library quality wood here, it’s most definitely a low-quality piece of wood. (You can read all about Basswood in our article, “Does Basswood Suck?“) The pickups are LTD stock LH-150’s. These are essentially your run-of-the-mill stock production pickups for metal guitarists. They are quite mid/low-heavy and have a very subtle high-end. By subtle I mean that the pickups just really don’t have much of a treble response. They are pretty high output and breakup pretty quickly. Thrashy metal tones seemed to be the strong suit for these. For clean sounds, I couldn’t really achieve anything usable without heavy EQing plus other effects. Overall, I’d definitely say that these really just aren’t the greatest pickups. I know it’s not really fair because this is a $350 guitar. If you’re looking at this then you’re obviously either a beginner, or just looking for a beater/cheap baritone to play around with. If you are the latter and are used to higher quality instruments, I’d definitely suggest a pickups swap for this one. Check out our guide on pickups swapping if you don’t know what you’re doing! Build Quality: Okay, so this is actually the cheapest guitar that I’ve reviewed on Wiredguitarist.com, so we have to look at it in that context. You can’t go into this expecting Ibanez Prestige or USA PRS quality. It’s not realistic, but I do have some nice things to say! The hardware was really solid on this guitar. The bridge was actually comfy, the tuners felt solid, and the bolt-on neck pocket was even super smooth! Color me impressed. It did have a scratchy tone knob though, nothing that can’t be fixed! The Viper-200B is in fact a baritone guitar, so naturally I tuned this bad boy straight down to test how it holds up in lower tunings. After a few minutes of tuning and re-tuning till the next adjusted, I was able to get it to hold tuning very well in Drop A. The intonation wasn’t setup very great, but at least it wasn’t dropping out of tune while I was playing. Check out our guide on “How to Intonate Your Guitar” to get more out of it! Final Verdict: The LTD Viper-200b is a really affordable, baritone 6-string that sits right at $349. It plays comfortably and is built surprisingly well. The only complaint I have is regarding the low-quality pickups. As I outlined earlier, you know what you’re buying when you get this guitar. If you want a better sound, you’ll probably want to swap out the pups. (I’m giving the tone a 3/5, because the guitar costs $349 and I didn’t really expect much more). Other than that, I have to say that I was impressed with the look and feel of this entry level guitar. If you’re looking for a beater, trying out your first baritone before getting a more expensive one, or even if you are a total beginner, the LTD Viper-200B definitely offers up a good mix of functionality and features for the price We upload new articles daily so if you liked this one, make sure to check out some more! Don’t forget, we are authorized ESP dealers and can get you any current ESP you’d like at the best price possible! This article was written by Zac Buras, our editor located in Louisiana.