ESP introduces the LTD AC-10E electric-acoustic
(John Gorbe | Posted 2011-03-20)
ESP isnít known too well for their acoustic guitars: the company caters to the metal pool of players and the like with their popular solid body electric designs that at times border on radical.
So, why am I writing a review on an ESP in the acoustic guitar category? Because they DO make acoustic guitars! In this review Iím having a look at the ESP LTD AC-10E, which is their entry-level model electric-acoustic.
At first glance the AC-10E will have your eyes locked on its striking features. The main reason for this is the highly decorative abalone inlay that gives a hint of luxury to an otherwise utilitarian instrument.
The ESP LTD AC-10E boasts mahogany back and sides, spruce top with abalone binding, abalone rosette, mahogany set neck mated to a rosewood fingerboard with binding, 20 extra jumbo frets, abalone fingerboard inlays, chrome hardware, ESP tuners, rosewood bridge, ESP piezo pickup, and an ESP 2-band preamp with onboard tuner. Available finishes are Black, Tobacco Sunburst and my tester, Pearl White.
The neck is what ESP calls a ďThin U ContourĒ, which does make for a nice fit in the hand. I found after playing on this guitar for a few hours that I didnít fatigue at all and I wasnít exerting any more energy to play it. This is not to say that I didnít have to work a bit at making the guitar sound musical. The action was a bit high for me, which isnít so unusual for pulling it off the shelf. I decided to adjust the truss rod a bit; however, I soon realized that the nut was cut a little on the high side and this was the cause for the higher action. Attempting to do any type of contemporary acoustic techniques that require a more sensitive touch wasnít going to happen, but if I wanted to dig in and do a lot of strumming that wasnít a problem at all.
The pearl white finish on this guitar is easy on the eyes but it isnít so kind to the thumb that rests on the neck. Yes, this is a big gripe with me. The neck contour feels very comfortable in my hand so it would make sense if my thumb could glide easily across the neck. A satin finish would be perfect here and would go a long way in boosting the playability of this guitar.
The onboard preamp and piezo pickup do a fairly adequate job of reproducing the tones of this guitar. The 2-band EQ is musical and functional, and the knobs push in so they canít accidentally be turned. The tuner is a nice touch that features a blue screen with a needle display and mutes the output when engaged. I really liked that ESP placed the battery compartment next to the output jack on the bottom of the body. It also felt solid as I slid the battery out and locked it back in. Sometimes these battery compartments can feel sloppy but this was tight and had a decisive snap when it locked in.
The sound of this guitar is decent for its price point. Itís a little thin, but plugging this guitar into an amp or PA will be the main reason to own one. The 2-Band EQ can make the sound fuller if need be. This type of guitar is made to look great on stage and be durable, and it certainly gets high marks in both these areas.
Sitting or standing with this guitar was comfortable thanks to an auditorium sized body and access to the higher frets was easily achieved due to the cutaway. The headstock on this guitar may lead you to believe that itís slightly top heavy, however the guitar remained balanced while standing, which contributed to itís comfortable feel.
The Bottom Line
The LTD AC-10E is for the beginner to intermediate player who is looking for an electric-acoustic that will provide good looks and the ability to plug in to jam with friends. Itís also a big help with staying in tune thanks to an onboard tuner. With a good setup and possibly upgraded tuning machines this guitar could also serve a seasoned player as a backup on gigs. Certainly at $249 USD it will compete well and your wallet canít really complain.
Learn more about ESP at: http://www.espguitars.com.