|Body And Neck:|
ESP’s roots go way back to a time when building guitars was something only bigbrands could do. This company managed to push through the fierce competition and come on top right as metal music was starting to enter the mainstream. They quickly caught wind of this and cashed in on the opportunity. These days, they make a variety of models and MH-50 caught our eye. Right off the bat, it’s one of the best guitars to get if your budget is around $500. However, it’s actually much more complex to be simply categorized by its price.
Let’s start by saying that there are some great things about this guitar and some which are not. For example, ESP’s use of basswood might be seen as a flaw, even though it was not chosen to cut on cost but rather for its tonal properties. The shape they went with is their own arched and modified Strat design which you can see on a variety of ESP/LTD guitars. The neck comes in form of a maple piece with a rather slim profile and a nice rosewood fretboard on top.
Since this thing is predominantly designed for metal, the addition of a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge comes as no surprise. Just like many standard Floyd Rose units do, this one comes with a locking nut. This eliminates the need for locking tuners and also does a pretty decent job at retaining the intonation as well as tuning. Tuning machines are pretty average, but also very accurate. You won’t have to deal with them for too long when changing the key of the guitar.
ESP is known for their active rigs, which pretty much describe what modern metal guitars are all about. MH-50 doesn’t belong to that group. Instead, it represents the best of lower mid-range passive configurations. They’ve installed a set of two LH-150 humbuckers which have a whole lot of range considering their price. These are wired to that basic control setup. One volume knob, one tone knob, and a pickup select switch is all you have, and honestly all you need to get this guitar in line with your requirements.
In terms of tone, you can expect to hear a lot of power which is pretty well balanced across the range. When you plug in a high-gain distortion, the signal doesn’t muddy up to a point where it’s more or less useless. No, it retains its definition and delivers that distortion where it needs to be. For what is essentially still an affordable guitar, that’s a pretty decent performance.
Whether you’re looking for a great metal axe with a bit of extra punch, or just a well-rounded guitar for all kinds of applications, MH-50 from ESP has a strong argument going in its favor. They have implemented a number of great solutions at a price where you rarely find anything similar. That alone is a good enough reason to check these out.