Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ESP Vintage Plus Guitar

Hi there!

Today I want to tell you about a solid guitar: the ESP Vintage Plus. This Stratocaster clone is a quality guitar that is made by craftsmen in Japan, not by little kids in some third world country like the LTD models. But…

I do not care much for factory-reliced guitars, and this ESP is no exception. The whole process of wearing out a guitar on purpose seems contrived to me. But, then again, people buy them, so what do I know?

While I am ranting about things I do not like, if this is supposed to be a “vintage”-looking guitar, there are a ton of inappropriate features on it. Want to hear my list? Of course you do:

1. Gotoh tuners. These are fabulous tuners that hold well and work smoothly. But their shiny-assed modern look is completely out of place on a reliced strat copy.

2. Wilkinson bridge. Ditto all of the nice things (and bad things) I said about the Gotoh tuners and add in some brownie points for adjustability. But it looks wrong – we need bent steel saddles, dang it.

3. The cut-away neck joint and plate. No no no no no no no. Cut that goofy stuff out right now, ESP designers.

I am complaining a lot, but I started out saying what a great guitar this is. Well, it is a great guitar despite these gripes. When you play it you can forget about all of that poo I just wrote about. This is one of the smoothest and easiest playing 6-strings I have run into.

The build quality is tremendous, with a perfectly fitted neck. The nut and fretwork are spot-on and the frets are leveled to a degree that Gibson can only dream of.

The neck is as comfortable as they get, right out of the box. It is pretty thin from front to back, and the frets are huge.

The electronics have no hum, and the Seymour Duncan SSL-1 pickups are very good. ESP lost none of the classic Stratocaster sound when they designed these guitars.

These guitars ship in a black ESP deluxe tolex hardshell case, which is to be expected at this price.

I picked the one you see here from a local shop a few years back. It was pretty light, coming in a little under 8 pounds, and when I owned it I had it set up with .010 Ernie Ball Slinkies. I only used the tremolo a few times, but it held tune well and I did not have any problems with string breakage. I only ended up selling it because I really did not care for the overdone relic look.

Should you go looking for one of these, brace yourself as it has been a while since the dollar has been strong compared to the yen. The list price for the ESP Vintage Plus is a mind-blowing $1869, and I did not see new ones for any less than $1399 online. There is really stiff competition at this price point, and you can probably find a better value for something else if you want to buy something new.

On the bright side, the used market for these is horrible, so if you can find one of these used on eBay (For around $700 to $750), you can get a great guitar for small money.


1 comment:

  1. ESP do make great guitars,
    I also don't like distressed guitars, I think it's pretty stupid to buy a worn out guitar, when my guitars are worn out , I sell them, I don't buy them, I think I will wait untill they start to make NEW ESP strats, then I promise to buy one, maybe I'll go with the non distressed ESP LTD strat untill then. Cheers