Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.9 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.9 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.9 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:4.9 out of 5 stars

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  • Great Sound
  • Affordable


  • Slight String Buzz

Les Paul was a visionary. He was a man who knew what the world needed and he was righteous enough to create it. Ever since he did, the world has had hundreds of imitation attempts, only singular once being successful. One of the rare imitations that make it onto the list of at least relatively successful is the ESP LTD EC256FM – one of the best electric guitars under 500. Let us take a closer look at this fascinating instrument and figure out what makes it so special as to be a successful imitation.  

Body Quality

The shape of the body comes first, as is tradition. Les Paul is known for being very comfortable to play with, easy to hold, and most all, beautiful to look at. So when somebody says they have a problem with Les Paul imitators like this specific ESP, I ask them why they can’t let people be happy. After all, not everybody can afford a true Les Paul, and not everybody wants the limitations of the traditional Les Paul. This guitar is wild in coloring and beautiful in design. Be happy with it, that’s the best you got for this price.

The body of the guitar is made of mahogany. This hardwood is traditionally known to be great for most guitars. It is a sturdy tonewood, capable of withstanding most abuse without ever suffering as much as a scratch. It is moderately weighed, neither on the heavy nor on the light side. This allows the guitar to be easy to hold for long periods of time, and tangible and comfortable to use. Yet probably the most important quality of mahogany is the effect on tone that it has. The lower tones become much more nuanced, with the rest of the tones gaining the leftover warmth.

The neck of the guitar is also made of mahogany. Consistency is appreciated and with this guitar a mahogany neck is well-fitting. Being very sturdy, it means your guitar will have a hard time being damaged. Being moderately weighed means the guitar stays comfortable. What else could you want? The neck is of set-neck construction, which is one of my favorite ways to make a guitar. This keeps the neck sturdy and the tone consistent throughout the instrument. The fretboard is made of rosewood, which is a dark and smooth surface that is pleasant to play on.


The bridge of the guitar is Tune-o-Matic style, as is becoming of a Les Paul style guitar. It comes with a tailpiece, so the guitar is rather easy to restring. The bridge is raised high enough for the action to feel strong and great. Great bridge, as expected of Tune-o-Matic.

The nut of the guitar is made of a synthetic material which is of better quality than the usual plastic that the more affordable guitars are made of. It does a decent job of negating string buzz, as well as keeping the harmony acceptable.

The tuning machine on the guitar is rather decent, which comes as a result of a couple hundred extra dollars paid. The tuning can keep for a while and the guitar won’t go out of tune even if you bend the strings a lot.


The guitar comes with a Bridge and a Neck pickup. The ESP LH-150 pickups are very good at their humbucking job. The sound they pick up and produce is highly nuanced and pleasant to listen to. The sound is very versatile, with smooth and clean sound being as easily available as the sustain heavy, dirty metal sound. What I am saying is, whatever you want, these pickups can provide.

The controls are standard, with two knobs available, each controlling the volume of one pickup. Also comes with a lever to define which pickups are prioritized.

LTD EC 256 Sound

The guitar is very flexible in sound. Whatever you want is mostly available. Smooth, thick, warm, energetic, or sustain heavy, you got it. The pickups are good enough for that. The mahogany body and neck allow for a more detailed low tone, as well as add the extra warmth you can appreciate over the rest of the tonal range. Great sound, especially for a beginner and even good enough for a professional.


This affordable guitar has all the qualities of a professional one. While some aspects might be lacking, slight upgrades to the pickups, nuts and etc. can provide a great, professional sound. Definitely recommended!

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