Well I picked up my Esp LTD ST-203FR today. I am very pleased with this I figured it would be in dire need of a setup but to my surprise out of the box it was setup very very well. I lowered the action a bit but the floyd was spot on and the neck had just enough relief in it. Apparently these get checked out by someone @ ESP in California before they get shipped out.
The neck is to die for. It is a bit similar to a Wizard II but it doesn't have the flat spot that the wizard has. The neck looks like it is about a gazillion years old (reliced....) The fretwork was great - no uneven frets and the ends were all dressed neatly and uniformly.
After seeing it in person the relicing looks pretty natural - Im still going to strip and refinish it at some point tho...
Tuners are decent - much better than low end Ibby ones actually. The floyd is great. The guitar has really good sustain. It is fairly heavy as well.
Electronics are ok - they stock pups dont sound horrible at all really. The humbucker is medium output and has decent mids and good clarity. The bass is pretty decent on it as well. The single coils are ok - a bit neutral really but they have really good sustain and clarity. Output isnt bad at all on them really.
I like the carved down neck plate - it gives surprisingly good upper fret access.
My Negatives: I don't like the volume pot placement (it is where the middle tone pot usually is) and the 5 way switch is ridiculously high. Neither of those are deal breakers tho The pots feel a bit cheap but those can be easily swapped out so its no big deal....
for $340 it totally kicks the shit out of the MIM strats and I actually prefer it to the American Standards. (flat neck + big fretwire = WIN)
I played the SSS version and he said I could have it for $280 SO it looks like there will be another NGD for me soon It played fantastic and sounded really good amped up,
Well without further ado some fast pics. I will take some better ones outside ASAP.
I got the Cliplock strap for free to boot (BONUS!)
shaving a chunk off of the heel did wonders for upper fret access
I am exceedingly jealous of you right now.