The first thing that comes to your mind when you see it is, “Hey, this guitar has a nice and sleek shape”. The design of the body is very unusual because its edges are smoothly rounded off, contrasting with the usual sharp-edged electric guitar design. As a result of this, it looks quite beautiful and can really catch your attention at first sight. Then you will notice the metal parts of the body… They look shiny silver white! The color makes it look like some kind of super expensive guitar, perhaps? Even if this is not really true I think that it still has an impact on your first impression about the guitar. And then you will take into account that this guitar isn’t just silver paint but real metal parts – yes, they are real chrome hardware! By any means do not mistake them for knobs though… Only one knob can be mistaken as such so far because it also has no marking, but the other knobs are clearly recognizable. They also have an interesting design with their sides rised up in a nice zig-zag shape pointing slightly towards the strings. The pickups are Kent Armstrong humbuckers that deliver rich sound with enough fatness to it which makes the guitar suitable for both – rhythm and solo parts. I am not saying that they do not lack anything… But if you want to get better results than this you should look for some Seymour Duncan or DiMarzio pickups so far as I know, although these brands still don’t make guitars themselves except Gibson who makes guitars for them too.
Actually, there is one more thing that bothers me when it comes to hardware. It would be great if ESP would use Gotoh machine heads like they do on their other guitar models. Please do something about this soon ESP, I want to see these machine heads on other guitars too! As for the rest of them; strap buttons are very reliable and tightly attached to the guitar, even though one screw is missing (which should be somewhere in the box). The neck plate shows “ESP Japan” which makes it look like an original ESP/LTD model that way instead of just another copy. And there is also a string-thru body design that provides great sustain effect. Overall quality seems pretty strong so far as you can expect from ESP LTD guitars mostly… That may come out as no surprise at all because there are some rumors around that say these guitars are made for ESP by ESP! Well, that statement is not completely right because they are still manufactured in South Korea by a different company. The only parts that are really made in Japan are the pickups and tuners apparently, but nevertheless you can find original design, good materials and high workmanship on these guitars every time!
Speaking of which – the guitar features 24 jumbo frets over an ebony fingerboard with sharkfin inlays plus a headstock overlay finished with rosewood. These features make it look somehow familiar to me… Of course I have seen this design before on other well known models like Jackson DK2M Dinky or B.C Rich Warbeast series among many others including Epiphone’s EMG equipped models. But this guitar definitely doesn’t look like some kind of another copy even if it does have the same features as others on first sight. It still has its own original design which makes it different from any other model out there that way! The body is made of basswood which is very common for both ESP and LTD guitars, but who knows – perhaps they are using cheaper materials on some of these guitars… Anyway, let us not rush things so much here… Lets just take a closer look inside somewhere else before we start judging?
Even though I don’t think that this guitar will disappoint anyone looking for an affordable instrument with good quality, playability and great looks, there is no need to hurry up with buying this one either due to its high demand on the market right now.
Tuning stability seems to be more than fine and I have no problems with going out of tune even though I am frequently changing tunings all the time while playing. For example, I can easily use a low tuning of about C-standard or less for some heavy stuff, then change it into a regular E-standard tuning within seconds without detuning my guitar! And this works exactly like that – not only in one direction but both ways so far as your strings don’t break in the meantime… Of course there is always a chance they could break if you pull them out very hard when trying to change tunings, so please do it gently instead… But despite where I would play or how I would play, my guitar seems to stay in tune almost perfectly even after several hours of playing which is definitely a huge deal for me!
ESP E-II ST1QM comes with decent ESP/LTD tuners that keep the guitar tuned just fine no matter how much you crank up your gain without any problems! And if something like this happens – will be easy to fix it by changing strings or tuning heads rather than taking it to a luthier or something similar. Of course there are always exceptions… But so far as I know these tunings should not be an issue at all… Also, sometimes you can find guitars on eBay for very low prices, but their sellers don’t whether they use Gotoh or ESP tuners on their guitars, so be careful!
As you already know – this one features an original Floyd Rose bridge unit combined with ESP designed pickup configuration. The guitar is loaded with an EMG 81 at the bridge and 60 at the neck. And it just works perfectly fine for something like that! There are no problems with tuning stability or anything else even if you use a locking nut mechanism which some people may find not necessary… But I am pretty sure there won’t be any complaints about it either so far as long as you know how to handle your tremolo system properly!
ESP E-II ST1QM pickups serve me well both in terms of sound and performance so far as they have a nice modern metal tone which is very responsive, clear and strong enough for me at least. I can easily play anything from punk rock or metal to blues with this guitar, the pickups work nicely with my amps even though they were designed especially for ESP designed units like LTD EC-1000 etc… But fortunately most of the modern amps will make them sound good anyways no matter who manufactured them! You can listen to my video review above or use any other way of getting familiar with this guitar if you want to hear what it sounds like in action before making a final decision about buying one yourself!
The only thing that could be improved here is perhaps active EMG 81 pickup which would probably sound more powerful than passive one used on this guitar. This way every player will have more control over his tone and won’t need to use any additional EQs so far as he knows what he is doing… But I guess this way it is much easier to keep the price down which definitely makes sense at some point!
Also, it happens really rare, but sometimes you can find guitars that don’t play well. They could be out of tune or need a proper setup for example. However ESP E-II ST1QM seemed to be fine right out of the box without any issues whatsoever! Of course there are always small things here and there everything has pros and cons after all… And I didn’t mind them too much either since they were not big issues at all!
To conclude with ESP E-II ST1QM review – this guitar is definitely worth checking out if you feel like having a versatile and good sounding metal axe for low price. It features great playability, decent hardware and nice pickups that serve their purpose just fine as long as you know what you are doing!