Some information and impressions requested on a couple of ESP & LTD basses..

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by alienstarguest, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. alienstarguest


    May 30, 2009
    ESP and it's Korean range (LTD) have only recently come under my radar. I wish I had come across these sooner as I would likely have one or two by now. But I've still not yet taken my first plunge, but may do so soon.

    My first experience with these was in a nondescript and rather randomly jumbled music shop in Eastern Appalachia. Not way out in the boonies but still country-ish about 90 miles from DC.

    Having been in a bit of shock at the tag hanging off the guitar with its $1600 price tag, I had not yet picked it up. Once I did, I realized that I was holding a very very high quality instrument with super tight tolerances, impeccable feel & fit, and a comfortable relicing job the likes of which I was more than impressed by. It was made in Japan.

    Even though I have never experienced a Sadowsky or Suhr, I had a feeling this might be something close in the league of similar quality. I mention those makers because this was a Fender inspired design like those. Yet the quality was beyond many American made Fenders I had played.

    Being this is a bass site and I am a bass player, I have my eyes now on a Tommy Stinson ESP LTD TS-4. This is P-style inspired 4 string, with EMG P/J style active PUs. After holding and playing it, I could tell that the ESP quality I came upon in the other store was still present here. Even though it is a Korean model and an LTD. They want $534 for it, and I could likely take it out of that shop for maybe around $400. I had a TV and some memorabilia that he would have credited me with but wanted those plus $370. I was more like in the $260 range plus the stuff. He inadvertently gave away that it had been there awhile, and I could tell he sort of made a mistake in saying that as its not really a pawn guy kind of move, especially with a clearly interested buyer. So, I'm going to let it sit for another 6-8 weeks. If it is gone, no biggie, wasn't meant to be.

    The Specs between the ESP Stinson Signature (I think $2.5 - $3k when new) and this LTD TS-4 ($959 when new) are almost exact on the surface and possibly beyond the surface. I think these came out in 2006. Same woods, color, same pickups, similar relic job (at least from what I can see in photo). The tuners were different, not sure of the bridge. It is pretty clear that the two basses are linked, a custom shop and an 'economy' of the same bass without a doubt.

    My question is: Will the build and feel be all that much different between the two. I think the Stinson Sig was done in their Tokyo Custom Shop, and Japanese luthiers have great reputations. What do you all think and what can you tell me.... about the Stinsons, about ESP, LTD, anything you want to add.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  2. alienstarguest


    May 30, 2009
    Dang, maybe it was the time of the day I wrote it. Perhaps I pick topics that are extremely boring. There is a chance that only a few people actually have knowledge of the topic, but that is hard to believe given the jet setting high grade crew here at TB.
    Perhaps my grammar and writing are difficult to ingest. All's I know is you put up a topic debating the merits of Short Scales, and hundreds of people respond even though we have had that topic every week for the past 5.

    Anyway, a mid-day bump for a topic that isn't getting any play at all. It is sort of like me, perhaps my works will be found in Nick Drake like fashion some 40 years after my suicide. Levity folks, don't take that last bit too seriously.
  3. alienstarguest


    May 30, 2009
    Okay one last bump for this 'dead in the water' post. I'm starting to a complex lol.
  4. Possibly

    You are asking about a brand that consumes MAYBE .5% of the collective thought about basses here, and with an opening post that reads like a blog entry. Automatic turn off for me.

    We live in a world of short snippets of info and the attention span is shrinking at a mind-boggling rate. I can't explain any further because then my post would be subject to the same negle
  5. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid

    Jun 7, 2013
    Not a lot of folks here are knowledgeable about ESP basses, and I'm one of them.

    I have owned and played LTD basses and they were always ok, servicable instruments. I have an Japanese E-II that in every way is perfect. The bass arrived with a flawless finish and setup job, wonderful feeling and playing neck, it is light weight despite it's big size. The electronics package is moderately high end and the level of attention to detail in the electronics cavity is just plain impressive.

    E-II is a notch below ESP apparently. Now they only use the ESP logo on custom shop and signature basses.

    The LTD Stinson will be good but the ESP will, untangibly, be better. That's my experience with ESP. They flat kick ass.
  6. TreVice


    Jan 13, 2012
    I have an ESP LTD 255 5 string neck through, I like it. I have another LTD Tom Arraya something Bass which plays and feels better, and finally (for ESP) I have an E-2 which is leaps and bounds better and feels absolutely amazing.

    I actually like all my ESP's better than my Fender Aerodyne P/J bass.
  7. njones89


    Mar 27, 2015
    Sioux Falls
    I have never played an ESP, but I did own a LTD guitar from 2005-2011. I felt that it was a cheap guitar. The nut was not properly cut as shipped from the manufacturer. The finish, which looked like powdercoating, chipped off readily upon the slightest impact. All in all, once it was set up properly, it played OKAY, but I eventually sold it because I didn't like it. And it had almost no resale value.

    That said, I have a couple friends who also play higher end LTDs with no complaints. One of them has the Les Paul style guitar and it's his go-to. Another friend has a low end (no pun) 5 string model, and it is poorly set up. The neck is bowing too much.
  8. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    Just to add that most LTD's are now made in China or Vietnam. If there are any still made in Korea now those are going to be the better instruments in the line.

    I've got a fretless LTD-214 which is the basic Vietnamese version of the Tommy Stinson. It's a very nice instrument and every bit as good (and better in some ways) than a MIM Standard Fender P. I put a set of geezers in it and it absolutely kills. If it was 35" I wouldn't be selling it.
  9. alienstarguest


    May 30, 2009
    Very true, and I am trying to be more cognizant of this. The problem is that if I do not put in the details, I get back a lot of lesser relevant replies or it generates a rash of additional questions from folks who seriously want to add to the topic. Those are the types of respondents than I am looking for. And in truth, they can not answer with any good detail without receiving it first. I really hope forums do not become similar to brief phone texts. I would rather have 3 folks responding with detailed lengthy material than 20 with abbreviated 'captain obvious' types of replies. In the end, it would all likely be about the same amount of reading. What is really said that it actually comes to the level of a "turn-off" for some folks including yourself as you mentioned. I suppose I would suggest moving on to posts where the content lends itself to brief snippets and short replies. I'm mostly here on the this site to learn, and I find that it takes a little more detail and reading to get that type of benefit from sites like this. Others may want some light reading or quick entertainment grade content which is perfectly fine and just as relevant as those who are trying to learn something. I do both myself, but mostly of the learning form with more detail.

    There is a lot of material in these forums that is much more current and has better content than many books. I hope it does not get dumbed down for the sake of brevity.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016