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ESP LTD SN-1000 Black Blast

The ESP LTD SN-1000 has all the features that hard rock and metal players could want in an S-type guitar, but SN-1000 is much more than that. Featuring a lightweight Swamp Ash body and Seymour Duncan pickups, the SN-1000 can rock with the best of them, but seamlessly dial back for blues and classic rock.

The ESP LTD Deluxe SN-1000 features:


  • Swamp Ash body with satin black finish
  • Roasted Maple thin U profile 24-fret neck
  • Stainless steel frets
  • 12" radius fretboard, scalloped from fret 17-24
  • 25.5" scale, 1.65" nut width
  • Seymour Duncan Hot Strat neck and middle pickups
  • Seymour Duncan Pegasus bridge pickup
  • 5 position pickup switch
  • vol x tone controls with pull tone for bridge pickup split
  • Floyd Rose 1000SE floating bridge with locking nut
  • Made in South Korea
From it's overall look, one might assume that the ESP LTD SN-1000 is purely an instrument of shredders and metal players. But looking beyond the Floyd Rose floating bridge and ominous sandblasted satin black finish, you should not pigeon-hole this guitar by its appearance.

The SN-1000's HSS configuration has long been popular with players that want the single note clarity for blues licks and chords, while having the options to also dish out muscular rock crunch. The Seymour Duncan Hot Strat neck and middle pickups have a healthy dose of chime and clarity, while gaining much needed punch and midrange content. For a Strat pickup they have a scary 15K DC resistance, but they don't really sound like hot pickups, which just goes to show there is more to a pickup than purely the specs. To our ears they have plenty of "Strat" character while gaining enough kick to make them hold up better in live situations, and also sound less anemic in the in-between positions.

The Alnico 5 Pegasus bridge pickup is targeted towards metal and progressive players, but it's moderate output makes it very capable of producing articulate clean tones. If you like a pickup that has a responsive attack, rich overtones, and great balance the Pegasus is a good choice. We liked the way this pickup excelled at chugging out percussive rock riffs while also cleaning up nicely. With the gain potential of today's amps and pedals you don't need an insanely hot pickup to pound the front end of your amp. The Pegasus is equally adept at many styles of music regardless of its target market. And kudos to the Swamp Ash body wood, which moderates any midrange heaviness and provides more high end detail.

The SN-1000's 24 fret neck features stainless steel frets, which is pretty rare in this price range. The fretboard is also scalloped from the 17th fret on up, which is something many players -- including us -- are not that familiar with. A scalloped fretboard increases the perceived height of the frets such that the string is not really making contact with the fretboard when fretted. This increases the clarity and articulation of the the note, but heavy-handed players are more likely to push a note out of tune. If you are a shredder with a light touch you may very much like benefits of scalloped frets. While if you are a blues player you may spend very little time above the 17th fret to begin with (But if you like to really get under the string when bending, they work wonders). Scalloped frets take a little getting used to, and they won't actually help you play faster. But for certain styles and techniques they work wonders.

The ESP LTD SN-1000 is a very versatile guitar. In many ways it sounds like a beefy Strat with a fast-playing two octave neck. At the same time it's pickups are very much suited to high gain and progressive styles of music. And then there is the Floyd Rose vibrato; which while a bit of a chore to initially set up, is a rock-solid and reliable system. Looks can be deceiving, and the SN-1000 can be equally at home in a cover band, wedding band, or a prog-metal group. Sometimes it just comes down to whether you bond with the visual aesthetic of the guitar or not. But if you keep an open mind, the SN-1000 can do just about anything.