The LTD deluxe series are great instruments, you are not going to gain a lot in playability, however the overall craftsmanship of the ESP is worth the extra cost,you get better wood, better wiring,better electronics and a better assembly. This results in an instrument that sounds a lot better. If you havent played a viper standard in person, I recomend that you do before you buy one, the geometry and balance is a lot different than an eclipse. They are little different if you a sitting down and a lot different if you are standing up, so try it both ways if you can. Also the viper standard is neck thru which is nice.
Holy thread rivival BATMAN!
The LTD EC1000's I've played are really nice guitars. Of the 3 only 1 was not quite that great, but it was used and had old strings and in need of a proper setup. The other 2, one was new and one used but in great shape. Playability is great on the those LTD's, smoother and easier compared to most Gibson imo. The finshing on them is great, much better than what you'll find on an Epiphone, and even better than over half of the new Gibson LP's I've tried. Gibson has very hit and miss quality for the high prices. The LTD line really amazes me given the consistency of quality for their price.
I just bought an LTD Elite Eclipse 1. I went to Sweetwater in Ft. Wayne, IN and played and compared it to 2 ESP Eclipse II Standards. The LTD Elite is on par with the ESP Standards. I preferred the Elite over the Standards. It just played better, and with it's passive Duncan pup's it even sounded better. Remember the non Japanese built LTD EC's to the Elite and Standards, yes, there is a difference. The Elite and Standards sound richer, as I'm sure better wood is selected for those. But really, the LTD's are great guitars and use nearly the same hardware and electronics.
The real question is not whether there is a difference, because there is. The question is whether a $1950 Eclipse II Standard is worth that cost over an $850 EC1000 series LTD? That's 2 LTD's and change left for new pups vs 1 Standard. Hard sell there. Luckily, ESP has now lowered their pricing on the ESP E-II line, which is formerly the Standard line. So now, for the Eclipse/EC, it's $850 for an LTD or $1500 for an ESP passive pup E-II Eclipse-1 or $1700 for an EMG Eclipse-2.
The E-II's are lower cost, but that's still 2 EC's for 1 EMG E-II Eclipse 2.
Short answer to this superold thread:
My standars are flawless builds. The LTD deluxes I've owned and played are not flawless builds, close but no cigar.
Is it worth the price? Thats up to every guitarist to decide for themselves.
When you play an actual ESP you will see. Everything about them feels smooth as hell! it's worth it!
ESP- hand made
LTD - manufactured
ESP can use better hardware, more accurate attention to detail, and in some instances I heard ESPs uses better wood vs the LTD. Obviously your paying for high quality hand made stuff vs a manufactured thing. I mean they both are great too but it's a matter of preference/ budget.
From what I've seen ESP hardware isn't better in all cases.
EC1000's get tonepros locking tail and bridge, ESP Eclipse Standard and new E-II's with EMG's get the same hardware. The tuners are different. LTD's get LTD locking tuners, E-II's get Gotoh locking. Passive E-II's don't get locking tail and bridge, and they get the crappy auto locking Gotoh's not the thumbwheel version, and that's a let down. There isn't any good reason for why the passive E-II Eclipse's should get lower quality hardware over an LTD, but they do.
So, ESP hardware is NOT always better.
Another difference is the LTD EC1000's, and other LTD's, get a 350mm radius fretboard. The ESP Standards and new E-II's get the ESP Standard 305mm. LTD fretboards are flatter, ESP's are rounder. Which is better is personal preference, but for me I prefer the flatter fretboard as it feels faster to me.
I had a 2013 LTD Elite, made in Japan, and it had the LTD 350mm radius. I swapped that for a 2014 ESP E-II passive. Same guitar, same parts on everything except the neck radius is now 305mm, and I don't like it as much. I swapped because I wanted the vintage honey burst finish. The LTD Elite was FLAWLESS. The E-II not so much. I returned the first one cause it had issues with wiggly pots, so much so I could hear it coming through my amp when I'd reach for the volume or tone a "tink tink" noise came through. It was the wiggly pots. The low E string nut groove was cut too low, so much so it was a good bit lower than the A and made for an odd feel that I did not like. And there was a circular flaw in the finish on the surface of the cutaway. The replacement E-II also has wiggly pots just not as bad, but still not good. The low E nut groove is also cut too low, just not as bad as the first. And, there is a flaw, noticeable dimple, in the binding on the head next to the nut. Unfortunately, what could be said of previous years ESP's is true, but that's not the case with 2014.
Oh, and the Gotoh auto locking tuners SUCK. They aren't smooth and not accurate. When tuning if I need to undertune to come up to pitch, the amount of turn I give on the tuner to bring it back up to pitch is like 3 times more rotation than when I detuned. It feels very awkward an inaccurate. I'm sure it's got something to do with these stupidly designed "auto locking" mechanisms. I'm changing to Planet Waves thumb wheel lockers on the next string change. The PW's are vastly superior to the auto locknig tuners. PW's are much smoother, tighter, and more accurate. ESP needs to STOP putting those Gotoh auto lockers on their guitars. They SUCK.
Honestly, i think ESPs are about 20-25% better than LTD 1000 series etc, lot of extra cash but worth it! you can only play one guitar at a time!
I really like my 1000. If I had the funds for the eclipse II ... Who knows. Or maybe... I would just get a second guitar. ... An an amp... And...