Review: ESP LTD V-407B Baritone Seven-String Guitar — Video


There is a surprisingly large and growing variety of baritone solidbody electric guitars to choose from these days.

Baritones have become especially popular with metal guitarists who want the extended low-end range that today’s heaviest music requires and don’t want to hassle with intonation problems and floppy strings when tuning down a standard guitar.

ESP offers an impressive selection of baritone electrics, including seven-string versions that are quickly becoming the new norm. For metal players, particularly those with somewhat limited budgets, the LTD V-407B is an ideal weapon of choice as it offers the features, playability, and, perhaps most importantly, wicked appearance that can inspire heavy riffs and aggressive solos.

FEATURES: With its 27-inch scale length, the LTD V-407B is bona fide genuine baritone. It should be noted that this is a big guitar that is even larger than many basses and comes in the biggest case that I have ever seen. It’s also heavier than the average six-string, but not so heavy as to be uncomfortable to play for extended periods of time.

The guitar is built using ESP’s set-thru-neck construction, which is sort of a hybrid of set-in and neck-thru-body construction. The maple neck has a longer than normal tenon that stretches below the bridge pickup, but it is glued into a channel carved into the mahogany body. This provides the smooth, heel-free design of a neck-thru guitar along with the tonal characteristics of set-neck body. A maple cap covers the body as well, but the guitar looks like one continuous piece thanks to its deep gloss black finish.

Electronics and hardware consist of an EMG 707 neck pickup, EMG 81-7 bridge pickup, separate volume controls for each pickup, a master tone knob, three-position pickup selector switch, Tune-o-matic bridge with thru-body string anchoring, and Grover mini tuners.

The fingerboard is rosewood and features 24 extra jumbo frets, white binding, extremely cool arrowhead-shaped inlays, and a block inlay with the model’s name at the 12th fret. The output jack is placed inside the V cutaway on the bass bout and points upwards to keep the guitar cable completely out of the way, and the bass bout also has a belly contour.

PERFORMANCE: As you might expect from a seven-string baritone with a 27-inch scale, the LTD V-407B sounds as huge as it looks. The string tension gives the lowest strings especially satisfying piano-like metallic twang, while the middle range has a beastly, animal-like growl.

If you want to shred, go ahead—the upper treble range feels sexy and slinky like a regular guitar, although with an extra inch and a half to two plus inches in scale length it’s much easier to finger intricate patterns and chords up above the 20th fret. The smooth, heel-free transition between the neck and body and the body’s V shape also facilitate unobstructed playing in the upper registers.

The active EMG pickups are the perfect match for this type of instrument, delivering shimmering, percussive clean tones and maintaining crisp attack and refined note definition when plugged into a high-gain distorted amp.

With its 48mm nut width, the fretboard is generously wide enough for playing clean, precise chords on any or all of the seven strings while being narrow enough not to require extreme finger stretches. The neck profile is a relatively flat and thin U shape with a consistent feel from the lowest to the highest frets.

Controls are laid out in a logical, ergonomic configuration, with the bridge volume easily accessible for performing swells or making quick volume adjustments. It’s obvious that as much thought went into the V-407B’s playability as went into making it look as cool as possible.

LIST PRICE: $1,141.43

CHEAT SHEET: Set-thru-neck construction combines the smooth, heel-free playability of a neck-thru guitar with the tonal characteristics of a set-neck design.

Active EMG 707 (neck) and 81-7 (bridge) pickups deliver rich, percussive clean tones and crisp, detailed distortion tones.

THE BOTTOM LINE:The LTD V-407B seven-string baritone is a big instrument with an even bigger sound that is perfect for guitarists who want the heaviest low-end riffs without sacrificing the ability to play shredding solos.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.