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A no-nonsense guitar with a dark, sexy look and sound.
The ESP LTD Viper-401FM Electric Guitar features a gorgeous flamed maple top on a mahogany body. The sleek, contoured double-cutaway Viper body style gives you comfortable access to the entire 24-fret fingerboard, and the thin neck profile lets you rip through your toughest licks with the speed and control you need. The Viper-401FM has EMG-81/85 active humbucker pickups to give you the sustain and focused tone required for modern rock music. Controls include a master volume, tone, and a 3-way toggle. Black nickel hardware delivers the finishing touch on this dark and sultry ESP guitar.
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Reviewed by 2 customers
Displaying reviews 1-2
Let me just say, I am a big fan of LTD guitars. For the most part they do a great job of producing very nice guitars at an affordable price. This makes two LTD?s that I own now (I also own the F-400fm) and, although I was a little worried about the quality of the mid-priced LTD?s being somewhat diminished due to the newer 401 models being made in Indonesia rather than in Korea like the popular 400 models, my mind was put at ease as soon as I took this Viper out of the box and strummed the first chord. Fortunately, I didn't experience any problems with fret buzz like the previous reviewer mentioned. The guitar was set up, well intonated, and nearly perfectly in tune out of the box. Cosmetically - The bad news: There were a couple of very slight nicks in the finish, barely noticeable, and on the back side of the guitar, but I still felt I had to knock a couple points off for quality due to that. The good news: The picture they have of this guitar, both on the MF site and on the ESP web site, truly does it no justice. The rosewood fret board is much darker than it appears on the various web sites. The white pearloid flag inlays really shine against the dark grain. In my opinion the Viper 401fm is a very nice looking axe. The binding is solid and well set on the neck and headstock. Frets are very well done (no sharp edges) although the tall, "XJ" size frets may take some getting used to for some. They do seem to help with sustain but they require a lighter touch than shorter frets. The flamed maple top on this guitar is, cosmetically, slightly different than it is on my other LTD but I actually like it a little better than the F's finish. The "stripes" are wider and it has a grayish tint rather than the weird purple-greenish tint of the F. The headstock has the flamed maple as well and the LTD logo has a nice mother of pearl tint to it. This guitar, in my opinion, has just the right amount of "modern flare" without going overboard with garish abalone inlay plastered all over the place like some of the higher priced LTD?s. It also looks very "metal" like the other viper models but it?s not quite as "gothed-out" as the some of the other models; which makes it a good all-around axe. The thick mahogany body is heavy, but in a good way. It has a very deep, resonant sustain that you can feel throughout the body when played. The active EMG?s in this guitar, in my opinion, are matched very well with the Viper body style. The 81 in the bridge provides plenty of crunch and easily produces pinch harmonics. The 85 in the neck sounds nice played on my amp's clean channel with just a touch of compression and chorus and it's smooth as butter when soloing on the upper frets. The 24 3/4 scale on this guitar makes string bending a breeze even when using heavy strings but if you like to tune way down, lower than C# standard, better get some bailing wire for strings. Drop B is as low as I've gone on this guitar with a 56 bottom and it was playable but just barely. Now, I've heard people complain about the Viper-model guitars being neck heavy and awkward to play. It's really not that bad compared to some other guitars I've owned in the past but, after installing Dunlop strap-locks, it did begin to bother me enough for me to move the upper strap peg to the tip of the upper horn and now it balances perfectly. Overall this guitar is a great value. It would be nice to have things like better looking hardware (don't care for the "black nickel" hardware), locking tuners and a locking bridge (hence the 4.0 for features) but those are things that can be upgraded later and the Grover tuners work fine for the time being. My final two cents is that this guitar, though not perfect, is hard to beat for the price.
The guitar came needing quite a bit of adjustment. I emailed ESP about a "fret buzz" and got ZERO response. I emailed their customer service (included the serial number) and NOTHING. Decent guitar but my experience with the customer service was dismal. In this price range it should be playable out of the box.