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ESP LTD EC-258 Review – Les Paul Style on a Stealthy 8-String Guitar

4.7 out of 5 stars

Unlike the 6-string guitar market, the 8-string market is very limited in choice. Trying to find a great 8-string guitar on a budget narrows your options even further. Thankfully, the EC-258 from ESP LTD comes in at a price most of us can afford, while showing off some features that all of us can appreciate. Let’s check it out!

Body & Neck

Whatever the price range, ESP LTD always manages to deliver something that most guitarists would enjoy both looking at and playing. The EC-258 is no exception. It features a Les Paul-style single-cutaway mahogany body with an arched top that adds a little extra sophistication to the guitar. The Les Paul shape is a nice change from the superstrat bodies that tend to feature on the majority of 8-string guitars.

As for colors, black is certainly the theme of the day, with an all-black, all-satin finish, along with elegant black and white binding around the top. It’s hard to fault the quality Chinese build, fit or finish here.

Set into the body is a strong three-piece mahogany neck with a 26.5” baritone scale. This neck features a roasted jatoba fretboard with 22 extra jumbo frets and wavy block inlays. This too is enrobed in the satin black finish, which enhances the playability and speed. For a neck with 8 strings, the thin U shape helps it feel comfortable and not too overwhelming, despite the hefty 2.12” nut width.

Hardware

So, it looks great and plays smoothly – what else is on offer? To start, you’ll find two ESP-Designed LH-308 humbuckers at the bridge and neck position. Both are covered, passive and simple, but quite effective when paired with the electronics and controls, which includes a three-way toggle switch, a master tone control, and two volume knobs (one for each pickup).

Keeping the strings in place is an LTD-designed fixed bridge with a string-through-body design for enhanced sustain. At the headstock, with a 4+4 configuration, sits a set of black sealed tuners, along with a molded nut just below. So, nothing too extraordinary here, but it all combines to produce a reliable instrument.

Sound

Tonally, the EC-258 is quite impressive. For stock pickups, the pair of LH-308s are powerful and responsive, whether you are aggressively palm muting in the lower registers or tapping away during a high-paced solo. With some considerable gain, its aggressive and articulate, which makes it a solid choice for modern metal and djent, while the clean tones are clear and well-balanced, and not too clinical.

Conclusion

As the guys are ESP LTD themselves state, ‘Extended range guitars don’t have to cost an arm and a leg to be great’, and they have backed up their words here with the quality on the EC-258. Of course, coming in at a low midrange price, there is a little room for improvement, but this is a perfect entry into the world of 8-string guitars – especially if you want to break the mold and go for a Les Paul shape over a superstrat.

For more info about the ESP LTD EC-258, click here.
For more 8-string electric guitars, click here.


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