ESP LTD EC-401 vs EC-1000

ESP LTD EC-401ESP LTD EC-401
ESP LTD EC-1000ESP LTD EC-1000

ESP's EC range of guitars has become very popular among players looking for a modernised, metal-friendly Les Paul style spec.

With a price difference of just under $200, the EC-401 and EC-1000 (Deluxe) are not aimed at guitarists on vastly different budgets. But there are differences that make the EC-1000 the deluxe option.

Hopefully, by comparing the two below, you'll know whether or not to keep that extra $200 in your pocket...

EC-401 & EC-1000 - side by side

Model EC-401 EC-1000
Rating 91
($500-$700)
92
($700-$1k)
User Reviews
Ultimate Guitar
Harmony Central
Zzounds
Musicians Friend
Amazon
Ultimate Guitar
Harmony Central
Zzounds
Musicians Friend
Amazon
Model EC-401 EC-1000
Website espguitars.com espguitars.com
Weight 7.5lbs
Tuners Grover LTD Locking
Neck 3pc Set Mahogany
Thin "U" profile
Scale Length 24.75"
Nut Width 42mm
Fingerboard Rosewood
Radius 350mm
Frets 24 Extra Jumbo
Inlays Pearloid Flags Abalone Flags
Body Mahogany
Pickups EMG 60 (Neck)
EMG 81 (Bridge)
Bridge Tune-o-Matic Tonepros Locking Tune-o-Matic
Hardware Black Nickel, Chrome, Gold Black Nickel, Chrome, Gold
EC-401 EC-1000
Comparison
EC-401 EC-1000
Amazon
Musicians Friend
Zzounds
Amazon
Musicians Friend
Zzounds

Key Differences between The EC-401 & EC-1000

Not easy to spot, so let's have a run down...

Cosmetics

Both the EC-401 and 1000 are available in a number of different finishes and with the choice of black nickel, chrome and gold hardware.

The only exclusive standout for the EC-1000 is the abalone inlay flags vs the standard pearloid inlays and plain binding on the 401.

Hardware

The more expensive EC-1000 is equipped with locking tuners which locks the string on to the tuning post, preventing it from going out of tune due to slippage. It also saves time when re-stringing, as there are no winds to worry about.

Also contributing to the EC-1000's price tag is the use of a branded Tonepros locking Tune-o-matic bridge which supports the tuning the stability further and (in theory) maximises sustain. The 401 has a more modest, generic Tune-o-matic variant that you tend to find on lower priced guitars.

Just how much these components really affect tone is debatable, but they are more specialist, expensive parts nevertheless.

Playability

With both EC's equipped with a thin, U profile neck and 24 extra jumbo frets, there's no difference here.

Sound

A major strength of both the EC-401 and 1000 is in the active EMG pickups. Hot as hell, crisp clarity and a broad tonal range with which to experiment.

With such beefy pickups, any tonal differences between the two axes created by the hardware will be even less noticeable.

▲ Compare Sound

Bottom Line

While the price difference does fairly reflect the cost of upgraded parts on the EC-1000, the actual result is at most subtle and this is reflected in the mere single point difference in rating.

That's not to say the locking tuners and bridge aren't worth the extra money. But as the 401 is so generously equipped and well constructed to begin with, you're looking at a very small gain for the extra $200.

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