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Cheap guitar of the week #16 - ESP LTD EC-50

ESP LTD EC-50

Being I mentioned hardtail guitars recently, this is one many players would enjoy because it gets several things right, but it also gets something wrong.

This ESP LTD EC-50 is cheap to buy, and it even comes in other cool colors like Silverburst, which you'll see on that link.

I'll get the bad stuff out of the way first. There is only one problem with this guitar. It's a 24.75-inch scale length with 24 frets on it. Why is that a problem? Because compared to a 25.5-inch scale with 24 frets, you start running out of space real fast for your fingers to go after the 20th fret. If you rarely play solos after the 20th fret, this won't be a problem. But if you do, you have to be fairly precise with your fingers. If you ever wondered what a Les Paul would be like if it did have 24 frets on it with a thin "U" shape neck, this guitar is worth buying just to find out. The EC-50 may be that "fast" Les Paul you've been looking for at a very nice price.

Okay, now on to the good stuff.

LTD has hits and misses with its cheaper guitars. This one is a hit because it does several things very well.

Electronics

One volume knob for each pickup, one master tone. For many Les Paul players, this is exactly what they prefer instead of volume + tone for both pickups. There's no fussing about with the way the knobs are set up and it's really easy to know where you are at any given time.

Also, given there are two volume controls, you can do that pseudo-killswitch thing where you turn the front (neck) pickup all the way down, rear (bridge) pickup all the way up, then rapid-toggle back and forth the selector switch for a stutter type sound.

Looks expensive

The EC-50 definitely looks far more expensive than it is. The 12th fret inlay has some class to it, along with the smaller dot inlays usually only seen on far more expensive models. The body shape has nice contours to it, giving it an exotic appearance. The minimalist headstock design also gives the guitar a classy look. The lack of "poker chip" plastic on the 3-way selector also has a nice minimalist look to it as well.

In other words, unless someone were very familiar with LTD's line up, the EC-50 could easily pass as an expensive guitar, even though it's priced low.

Woods

Basswood body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. What this tells you is that the guitar will have a correct weight to it and not be a backbreaker weight some Les Pauls are known for. The maple neck in particular means the neck will have less flex compared to mahogany, which in this case is a good thing because with little setup, this guitar could be gig-ready fairly easily.

Shape

Very easy on the player, particularly because of the beveled cut at the top of the body. You can rest your strumming forearm there right where the bevel is. If the traditional Les Paul body shape bothers you where you wish there was a cut that didn't make your forearm feel uncomfortable, the EC-50 is definitely for you.

Sound

Pickups are ESP Designed LH-150 rear and LH-150 front and get the job done. For most players there should be no need to change the pickups. But if you want to, it's easy enough to do since the passive electronics are simple to work with.

Conclusion

Great hardtail for the money, both for beginners and experts alike that want a nice, simple hardtail Les Paul where you just plug in and go. The only thing you have to get used to is the thin neck with the 24 frets, but for some, that's exactly what they're looking for. Get one now.

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