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ESP's B1005 LTD is a seriously hidden gem.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by songwriter21, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Hey Guys,

    So I was scavenging online for a solid and great-sounding bass around $1000, and with as picky as I am, I kept finding conflicts of features. I also had some discount/gift cards lying around, from Musician's Friend, so I went through everything they have. Nothing really caught my eye, until I totally forgot about ESP's LTD Deluxe series. I passed them up a while back, due to my preference of bolt-on vs. neck-thru. I re-thought my preference, and figured since I had a 20% discount, and a $25 gift card (used on a case), that with their 45-day guarantee, I pulled the trigger. I never thought I'd be this delighted by an affordable bass like this, especially from a mass producer like ESP, and not to mention a distributor like MF (they DO have a very easy return procedure, though).

    Anyway, I received the bass and case (Wolfpak polyfoam, pretty darn decent, btw) at work last week, let the box warm up for a little while, and opened her up after lunch. I couldn't believe how well this thing has been constructed. With the exception of one little sanding smudge and tiny ink or veneer dot on the lower bout cutout, both totally unnoticeable from maybe a foot away, the build rivals anything out there, really. I've had and/or tried two Moduluses, five Carvins, three Warwicks, a G&L, US Fenders, Mike Lull, Warrior, US Masters, an Ibby Prestige BTB, and a slew of others, having attended Winter NAMM in '09....you get the idea. My ESP is built like a tank, and as of now, I would totally put Korea (yes, no China or Indonesia!) right up there with the builders of Japan and here.

    Not only was the neck straight as an arrow at first glance, but after I set her up, too. This is how every bass neck should be, as it only took not even a 1/8 turn on the trussrod to get the neck dead-on flat. I prefer no relilef, so I can get even response across the fretboard, which is basically an optimal feel for every bass/guitar, I would think. The "extra thin U" profile, as the company describes it, is unquestionably one of the most comfortable necks I've ever played, alongside Carvin's older assym neck, my previous Ibanez BTB, an MTD (USA), Warrior, and US Masters (VERY underrated). The access to the highest frets is completely unobstructed, too. The ebony board is beautiful and clean as a whistle, with a classy MOP "B1005" inlay at the 12th fret, and the frets are polished to a shine. There's a slightly high fret at the 14th, along with half of another one at the 15th, maybe, but the buzz is not really present, even with my setup. There's some buzz on the G and D strings in the first 5-7 frets, when I happen to pluck harder acoustically, but it's not there much amplified...gives just enough buzz for character. I was able to get a really nice, low action on this thing...set up like a beast. It took a little time to get the intonation right, but no problem. I will have to switch the low B to a tapered end string, as a regular one doesn't allow enough room for correct intonation (close, though). The stock Cleartones actually are nice and LOUD, and don't feel that rough, either. They seem a lot better than when they first came out. Good to know that these now fit string-thru builds, as this one is. It's not 35", but a 34", which is another reason I took the plunge. I'm tired of the extrra stretch of 35" with 19mm spacing. The ESP's spacing seems like 18mm...best of both worlds. The sustain on this sucker is insane.

    I only took the bass to my luthier, because I had them put on Straploks and some foam under the bridge pickup, as I like to have both pickups as close to the strings as possible, and it got a little wobbly and clacky when I raised it up. The Hipshot bridge is top-rate, same as what my Quantums had, and the tuners have the "vintage" large posts, with modern tuner keys, and are super-smooth. They have that nice solid "heft" for a reassurance of the real thing. I prefer the larger posts over the mini ones, since you don't need the perfect number of wraps around them to get max string break over the nut. All I have to do with these, is push the string down to the bottom, and voila.

    The sound of this bass really surprised me, too. It could benefit from 18-volts, though, as opposed to the stock 9, because the bass and mid are REALLY powerful and could use more headroom, but unlike most full EMG systems, the treble is a lot warmer and "tamer" than shrill or brittle and just overly-bright preamps that I've had previously from them. The neck pickup is the P5, and the bridge is the TW. The latter has a push-pull function on the master volume, so you can switch it to single-coil operation, which didn't have any noise (inherent with singles), but I preferred the added girth of the dual-coil sound. The volume drops with single-coil, but it still sounds good if that's your thing. I actually let most of the treble come from my amp, with me turning up to 3:00, then turning up the treble on this thing a bit, but not much. All of the knobs, including the master volume and blend, are very sensitive, which if you ask me, is another good sign. I was even more impressed with the battery cavity, even though it's screw-off, having brass screw inserts. At this price, you don't see that much, at least from my experience.

    So, if you're curious about this line of basses at all, they are a PHENOMENAL bang for the buck. I'd get another one over the Ibanez "Premiums" in a heartbeat.
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    You know, I've TRIED to love the high end Ibby's but somehow I just never could. I LOVE my SR 6ers, cheap and powerful, but every time I try a BTB or something I'm kind of Meh.

    And then one day I wander into Sam Ash. What do I see but a Spalted Maple B-206SM. I try it! I MUST leave the store with it! Half the price of yours and yes, not neck-thru, nor EMG pickups but by FAR the best neck I ever played on a production bass! I had to get it because it looks almost identical to my Bass Mods 7 string bass. They make an amazing pair even though they are two different brands! Anyway I've never been a fan of EMG with my opinion of "shrill and brittle" being the same as yours.

    These ESP basses are an AMAZING bargain with REAL decent tonewood (no foofy basswood here) and the most amazing neck you ever played. Mine is Ash body (which I love) and yours Mahogany (like my Alembic which I love even more). I completely agree that they really deserve a good look for anyone thinking about a new bass!
  3. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    The neck is mucho comfy. and probably the nicest satin finish and profile ever...US Masters is the closest, if not better. I lowered the action even more last night, and it basically plays itself now. I actually might have to lighten my attack because of the responsiveness. One thing I love about this bass? NOT having to stretch unnecessarily to fret notes on an extra-long scale with a wideass fretboard! I'm forgetting that I don't have to make too much of an effort to do that anymore. Joy!
  4. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah - similarly the ESP LTD B1006 is an awesome bass. I've got two ESP LTD's (B206-SM and B336-SR) and I've played both the B416 and B1006 are incredible. I have no doubt that the 5-string siblings are equally as stupid good. :)


  5. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Funny, I happened to be reading on here today about you getting the 336!
  6. I've been saying it on here for months - the ESP LTD basses are insanely good for the money. I have a B204-BM and it's incredible. Best neck I've ever felt. I may upgrade the electronics, new preamp, but other than that - awesome!!!

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