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LTD EC-414... anyone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gothic, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    So, I've been gassing for this one (LTD EC-414) for a long time, and really dig the looks, plus the features are quite good on it, and I'm just a hair away from pulling the trigger on it! Unfortunately, same as most basses I'm interested in, those are nowhere to be found (and tested) around here, so this is gonna be another one of those blind buys, ergo, I need some opinions on it. I've searched thoroughly through the net and talkbass, and could only find very few things about it, and a single review for its older brother, the EC-404 - I guess LP style basses get little love, eh? :D

    Since a deal I had to get a Ric fell apart, I've been eyeing some Mexican Fenders (60's/70's Jazz, 50's P, Aerodyne, 2009 std's etc.), but the hummy/noisy single coils on'em threw me off (along with some other stuff, craftsmanship issues, etc.), so this was a natural contender (previously suppressed GAS helped too :D). Obviously, I'm on a limited budget here... I know my other basses can cover me on this, but as far as low tunings go, I prefer a four banger (easier on my problematic wrists for some stretchy parts). If it's any help, I prefer chunky necks and vintage radiused boards to the modern skinny necks and flattened boards.

    FWIW, I play in a prog/atmospheric metal band (not overly technical stuff), tuned to D (or Drop C in some songs) and my sound varies from totally moody clean, to swamped with FX, to Geddy OD, and I use both my fingers and a pick, so I need something that can support all those stuff. My basslines aren't only "in the pocket all night" either, so I need good, clear notes and not hissing highs! I know that ain't such a great feat to accomplish, since I use FX, but some basses had some issues pulling it off (an Aerodyne and a Mexican P for example - to my disappointment, since I love both...).

    So, has anyone tried this one? I've found nothing to throw me off so far, except my undying fear of cracked tops (I've had a nasty case of that with a jackson kelly guitar), which is probably just a mild case of personal paranoia, and perhaps the LP cutaway as well, since I need a good reach even beyond the 12th fret. :ninja:
    Any opinions/testimonies :))) would help me greatly.

    Here's a photo of it and some info:


    # Set-Neck
    # 34” Scale
    # Mahogany Body
    # Flamed Maple Top
    # 5-Pc. Maple-Walnut Neck
    # Rosewood Fingerboard
    # 40mm Standard Nut
    # Thin U Neck Contour
    # 22 XJ Frets
    # Black Nickel Hardware
    # Grover Tuners
    # TOM Bridge & Tail
    # EMG 35DC (B) / 35CS (N) Active p.u.

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. Your41Plague12


    Oct 30, 2007
    That one would probably have a deep yet clear tone, if I were to guess. Mahogany tends to have a deeper tone to it, but the maple and walnut in the neck would help to give it some clarity. The EMG's will also tremendously add to the clarity. Judging by every other ESP/LTD bass I've ever played, with little to no effort the action can be practically laying on the fretboard with zero buzz, if that's your thing. Plus, it looks damn good. I say go for it.
  3. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Thanks for the quick response man!

    Indeed, tonally, it seems to be a solid choice, but there are some things that I'm kinda skeptical about; how well can the TOM bridge do with fine (and low :D) tunings, that thin U neck profile (I dislike thin necks), the radius isn't mentioned anywhere (flat is a dealbreaker for me), how much the cutaway allows for upper fret access... It's all those things I can't figure out myself, hence the help seeking here! :)

    By the way, if there are any other choices within my budget (new only, not used) feel free to suggest! :)
  4. skipp


    Mar 30, 2009
    I have also been hovering over this one, but hesitant to buy without trying it. The closest I have come is playing a viper 404 at samash, which left me kind of unsure about this. The vipers (I tried three of them) might have sounded good save for they all had terrible fret buzz the techs couldn’t really work out and that just killed my hopes. The neck shape felt like a Ric 4001; that I really dug. ESP suck at replying to email inquiries so I know the neck is the same as the viper 404, but nothing else. From what I can gather this is the same bass as the EC-404. There has to be some kind of change, but I have turned up zero details (again, ESP are no help). The viper 404 has a string through body bridge and an active three band EQ, so even though it has the same EMG pickups as the EC, I don't feel safe using it as a substitute example. Ritterbass's post about it makes it tempting though. http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=528401 I have not tried to many ESP basses, and I was really unhappy about the viper 404's as samash is liquidating them for 399 right now; I was hoping to nab one and put the EC back on the "when I have more money" list. I was, and still am, very tempted to get the next rung down, the EC-154dx, but again, no one stocks them and no one has played one so there is no way to tell if it is any good without laying down some cash. I did call a few ESP dealers and they said the 414 would be the same price as the 404, so roughly 650 USD. They also said they were expecting them to be available sometime around the end of May. You can see some alternate views of a 404 at this German site http://www.musik-schmidt.de/product...aesse/Esp-LTD-EC-404-STBK-See-Thru-Black.html
    I gotta say, those pics make the transparent black look more like a grey purple….

    They also has some alternate views of the next rung down from the EC-154DX, the EC-104 http://www.musik-schmidt.de/products/de/Baesse/4-Saiter-Baesse/Esp-LTD-EC-104-BK-Black.html
  5. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Well, I pulled the trigger, couldn't resist! The bass should be here tomorrow morning! :hyper:
    I'll post some pics and a mini-review once it's here.
  6. skipp


    Mar 30, 2009
    Sweet! Did you get a 404 or a 414 and where from? I can't wait to hear what you have to say about it; still trying to make up my own mind about tracking down a 404 or waiting for the 414 even though I still have yet to see the difference.
  7. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    I got the 414, the newest model from Musicstore, in Germany. As for the differences, I really haven't seen the bass yet, but spec-wise they seem to be exactly the same. I guess it's just a model name thingy, done to follow along the rest of their "new" models (Viper 404 -> Viper 414 etc.).
  8. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Well, I got the bass today, and I must say it is an amazing looking and sounding piece of wood!

    I found no flaws on the bass, except one or two spots where the binding is a tiny bit sloppy, but that's just me being paranoid, nothing really. Apart from that, the fit and finish is excellent.

    Now the sound. It's by far its best feature! It can get from really growly to clear tones from those EMGs, and even in drop C it's quite clear and articulate. It certainly can cut through even a busy mix - I tested it on one of my songs, but I can't post that clip.

    The bass was not properly set up, but I did a quick fix until I get it professionally set up with a set of 50-110 black beauties! :bassist:
    It seems quite easy to set it up the way you want it, but I ca't really be sure about it yet.

    So far I've found only one con, and that's the spot where you rest your right arm. It has no slab, thus it takes a little getting used to.

    Also, the bass has absolutely no neckdive - for people who worry about that on LP basses.

    Overall it's a great bass, worth every single penny!

    Here are the pics:








  9. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    Wow! Congrats! That is a beautiful bass.
  10. nice buy ! not much for the older ltd cause of the EMG'HZ pups but I would love to hear one with the real thing . I have played that body style when I did a sound check once for the bass player of Mushroomhead in cleavland and it played great Im kindof a big guy (6'3" 225lbs) and it fit me like a glove
    gotta love a les paul
  11. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Thanks guys!

    So, a little update, after playing it all day long!

    It seems I was mistaken in some of my initial finds. The sound remains its most excellent feature, but there are other factors that make it less... "attractive" to my tastes.

    First off, there actually is SOME neckdive when the bass hangs lower - mid waist and lower. It's quite tiresome, I must admit, since I play with a pick 70% of my music, and I like the bass hung low. I guess it can be fixed by moving the strap button, but there is another thing...

    The neck seems to be a longer reach than any other bass I've ever played; and it's only 34"!!! I've been trying to figure out why that is, but haven't found any explanation yet. This is VERY tiresome, and my left shoulder's already a little sore from this. Didn't like that so much...

    Apart from that, the lack of a slab to rest your forearm on is a pain in the @ss... After playing a lot with it, the spot where I normally rest my forearm hurt like a *^&%@ and the body is thick enough that you cannot avoid that. Definitely a big con there!

    Furthermore, the bass has no preamp, thus the output isn't THAT hot, despite the EMGs in there. It's surely less than my G&L tribute in passive mode, but those MFD's are probably the hottest p'ups out there so it isn't really a fair comparison.

    All in all, despite the bass' great sound and looks, its ergonomics leave a lot to be desired. In terms of ergonomics even a squier jazz beat it hands down!

    I also had a thing with the neck, but that's probably just me being used to a bulky five string, and it's really a matter of personal reference, so no minus points there. The neck is rounded enough and I would imagine quite comfortable to people used to jazz basses - it's somewhat between a P and a J in terms of thickness, and closer to a J in string spacing at the nut.

    As a final note, what I got out of it is that, firstly, I MUCH prefer five strings (tighter string spacing, earned comfort), and I can't really cope with less that baseball-bat necks! :help:
    In any way, I'm still gonna keep it, if only for the imminent recordings (I'm kinda stuck with it anyway - the problems of living here and ordering from abroad), and maybe with some more TLC and devotion it'll grow on me (hopefully).

    Still, if anyone's interesting in this bass, I'd say it's MANDATORY you try it first! It's not for everyone!
  12. skipp


    Mar 30, 2009
    the problems you mentioned with ergonomics; would they be helped by the beveled edges of the cut out on the sides and back of the EC-154DX? I was torn between the two models, though if I got the 154 I would replace the pickups which would give me both the active picks and the 154 has an active 3 band EQ. View attachment 2327A.JPG

    View attachment 2327C.JPG
  13. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Well, I don't really know man. I suppose it would be less rough in that spot, but if I don't try that I can't say for sure. As for the pre, I really actually prefer it without a preamp. I quite like the EMGs as they are, and if I need to shape the tone any further I can do it with the amp or pedals, so I wouldn't change that.
  14. skipp


    Mar 30, 2009
    Good points, besides the mahogany is going to give a better tone then the basswood. how bad is the bridge as a palm rest? when i play my jazz bass i rest my palm heal on the bridge. any sharp corners or string saddles? speaking of mahogany, how much does the 414 weigh? my jazz clocks in at about 12.5 pounds, but i've gotten used to it after 15 years of playing it. no, that is a lie, it is a totally back breaker after an hour or two standing...
  15. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Just to make things clear, those cons do not, in any way drive me away from the bass. It seems I get more and more accustomed to its "traits" each time I pick it up, and I just want to play it more and more every time. It's just that those are some points that could easily annoy someone. Plus, I'm being WAAAYYY too critical of every new bass I get, and I'm usually just exaggerating, so take my critique with a grain of salt. :)

    Now, on to the questions. The bridge is surprisingly good as a palm rest! It's A LOT more comfortable with a pick in that area than any other bass I ever tried; it seems the TOM bridge is a winner here! No sharp spots, no rugged edges, everything's smoooooth! Plus, this bass + pick = tone heaven (IMO)!

    I can't weigh the bass, and I'm not really good at guessing weights either... I never had a problem with any bass, and I've played featherweights and warwicks, and nothing really annoyed me, but I'm a bit used to exercising with weights in the past, so I guess I can't feel it for now. Still, I can guess it's more on the mid weight area, neither too heavy nor too light. If hang a little higher though it's VERY comfortable, balances great with zero neckdive - and I'm not talking bowtie high either.

    As an extra note, what I noticed is, the tone knob isn't really all that useful. It acts as a switch actually, either all the way up or down. Even then, it doesn't really make that much of a difference. All the way down just darkens the tone a bit, and I don't find that really useful.

    Also, it does get a little weaker output when the panning knob is dead middle, but no big deal.

    As for a preamp, if anyone would like to add a pre a pair of stacked knobs and a standard one would probably do the job nicely, plus the cavity is huuuuuge and would surely fit a pre in there. There's already a seperate battery compartment, too.

    Overall, I'd DEFINITELY suggest this model over the lower ones. BIG difference, beats'em all hands down. The only thing its lower end brother has is a string-through option that I would love on this bass (warwick-style).
  16. skipp


    Mar 30, 2009
    Sold; seeing when i can get one from a local shop. Even musician's friend is telling me they don't have an ETA which is ridicules as you have one in your hands...:mad:!

    anyhow, can you post a few pics of the neck and the side profile? i loved the neck on the viper 404 and i am hoping it is basically the same shape and radius on the ec-414.

    thanks again for all the back and forth info!

    PS-what rig are you currently blasting this through? already getting giddy at the thought of playing this through my fender bxr400 and peavey black widows.
  17. RonChase


    Aug 15, 2008
    I have a EC254 nice but heavy color red love it also have a jazz and 2 Hofs
  18. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    So, back after some time! Final conclusions: This bass is not for me, despite the fact that I've come to love it. Kinda conflicting, but here's the deal. I can't play with a four string. I've spent so much time playing with five and six strings and now I can't adapt, I find myself wanting more "room" around the board. Plus, I prefer the tighter string spacing. Thus, I put the bass up for sale, hope someone snatches it up soon, so I can finally get a new one! :bassist:

    (I haven't put it up here, so don't take this as advertising)

    @ skipp

    I have no amp right now, I only use a GT6 for direct recording. I'm moving (hopefully soon) to another country and I sold pretty much everything... I've played it through a crappy ol' peavey in a studio a couple of times, and even then it just shines through. It's an amazing bass, if you can get it then go for it.

    Here are the pics you requested, they're cell pics (I got no camera) but they'll give you an idea, hopefully.





  19. espMAN


    Sep 3, 2009
    Okay I've been looking at many basses for a while including this one. I have a few cheaper models of esp but i have the money to buy this and but what i'm wodering is that dnarock said he was 6'3 and 225 pounds and it fit him well, well i'm 5'3 and 120 pounds and 13 years old should i still buy the bass. thoungh i know its about opinion but i'm asking for yours lol
  20. RonChase


    Aug 15, 2008
    only problem very heavy but my daughter gave it to me for my 50th B'day

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