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The ESP LTD B-204SM features
The LTD B-204SM is yet another NAMM show piece that caught our eye. Even though we call ourselves guitar players, the UpFront guys are still active bass players too, so we've always been curious about just how much their "budget" line has to offer. The B-204SM is top of its class in the LTD series, and besides the high quality materials, the fit and finish is remarkable.
This guitar features a contoured Ash body with a highly figured Spalted Maple top with a natural satin finish. Spalting is a process in which woods attacked by fungi take on unusual grain patterns and colorings; which do wonderful and unpredictable things when finished. The 5-piece Maple/Jatoba neck also lends plenty of structural integrity and eye-catching aesthetic with the matching Jatoba fretboard. Jotoba is a new material to us, and it's nicknamed Brazilian Cherry for its bold color and bright tone natural to tropical hardwoods. All 24 frets are easily accessible with the modern style 16" radius and the Extra Thin U profile makes it easy to work up and down the neck at high speed.
The pickups in this beauty are ESP designed passive soapbars with an Active EQ section that offers a beautiful natural sound with precision tone shaping. They bring plenty of power to the table but they have a nice nuance to them that lets your playing dynamics shine whether you pluck, pick or slap.
Getting to know the ESP LTD brand has been a real eye opener. While most players know them for their hard rock and predominantly heavy metal image, there are many facets to the ESP product lineup that address a wide range of player interests. The B-204SM is one of them; blending incredibly good playing ergonomics with the flexibility to handle anything from weekend cover band rock to de-tuned metal.