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Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
ESP LTD SN-1 HT
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Playability
77
Sound
69
Build
64
Value
70
Score
70
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Playability
75
Sound
74
Build
72
Value
74
Score
74
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Side to side spec comparison >

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs LTD SN-1 HT

Reasons to Get
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I over LTD SN-1 HT

Release Year
2024 vs 2021
From a more recent year
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo vs XL Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Profile
1963 Firebird vs Thin U
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Plastic
Resistant, good tuning stability and rich tone
Neck Joint
Neck-Through vs Bolt-On
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Tone Knobs
1 vs 0
More tone control
Nut Width
1.693'' (43mm) vs 1.654'' (42mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Scale Length
24.75'' (628.7mm) vs 25.5'' (647.7mm)
Easier bending, shorter fret separation and warmer natural tone
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm) vs 13.78'' (350mm)
Easier to play chords without muting strings
Pickups Power
Passive vs Active
Cleaner sound and no battery needed

Reasons to Get
ESP LTD SN-1 HT over Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

Country of Manufacturing
Indonesia vs China
Built with higher quality standards
Fret Material
Stainless Steel vs Nickel Silver
Best fret material that will last forever
Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Type of Frets
XL Jumbo vs Medium Jumbo
You won't feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Neck Profile
Thin U vs 1963 Firebird
Comfortable neck with more grip
Pickup Mods
Multi-Voicing vs None
Changes the voice (tones or gain) of the pickups
Locking Tuners
Yes vs None
Easier to change strings
Nut Width
1.654'' (42mm) vs 1.693'' (43mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm) vs 24.75'' (628.7mm)
Lower action and brighter natural tone
Fretboard Radius
13.78'' (350mm) vs 12'' (304.8mm)
Flatter fretboard makes it easier to play single notes and bend
Pickups Power
Active vs Passive
More output
Value Score
74 vs 70
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs LTD SN-1 HT

Bridge Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets vs Fishman Fluence Open Core Classic
Different Bridge Pickup
Body Wood
Other vs Ash
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Mahogany vs Roasted Maple
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Laurel vs Ebony
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs R6
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Plastic
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs LTD SN-1 HT

Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Switch Positions
0
Same pickups versatility
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Pickups
H
Hum-free with more right hand freedom and sustain
Number of Frets
22
Same maximum octave
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Bridge
Fixed
Good sustain and needs no set-up

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Frets
  • Top Pickup Brand
  • Expensive Wood

Common Weaknesses

  • Weight Relief
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Price History Comparison

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SET PRICE ALERT

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Which One is Better for Beginners?

The ESP LTD SN-1 HT meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, while the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I meets only 4. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players.

New Player Friendliness

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

New Player Friendliness

ESP LTD SN-1 HT
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing an instrument, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Sound Quality Comparison

The wood used in an electric guitar or bass is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

Woods Used in the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany
Laurel wood pattern used for guitar building
Laurel

Mahogany is a fairly rare wood nowadays. It's used mostly for bodies due to its relatively lightweight. Gibson popularized it with their Les Paul guitars during their golden years, so this wood has a lot of good reputation behind it. The most expensive type comes from South America and it's still used by Gibson even today. Find out more about Mahogany.

There are many types of Laurel, but East Indian is the most common for guitar building. Its color can vary from dark to light brown with black lines. Many people find its tonality similar to Rosewood, which favors the warmer frequencies. Find out more about Laurel.

Woods Used in the ESP LTD SN-1 HT

Roasted Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Roasted Maple
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony
Ash wood pattern used for guitar building
Ash

Roasted Maple is just maple without a finish. It's technically cheaper than regular maple, but it doesn't have any extra disadvantages because of this. The color is darker, and it's lighter weight and very stable even when there's a lot of humidity.

Ebony is a high-end wood, so it is not cheap. It's only used for fretboards because it's also very heavy. It does an excellent job as a durable material while looking elegant. Find out more about Ebony.

Ash is a type of wood that Fender used almost exclusively in the 50s, and it's still used by many brands. It's a dense wood with a light color that works well for a transparent, natural finish because of its beautiful patterns. In terms of sound, it's known for emphasizing the mid and high frequencies, but with strong low end. Find out more about Ash.

Winner: ESP LTD SN-1 HT.

Pickup Configuration

Both pickup configurations are H. A single H pickup gives you the advantage of having a little longer sustain (all other things being equal) because there will be less magnetic fields from other pickups affecting the strings' vibration. However, they also give you the least versatility because you won't have other pickups at different distances from the bridge to create different tones. A single humbucking pickup is used for noiseless high output, which is used mainly for Hard Rock genres.

Pickups Quality

Both come with very good pickups from at least one of the specialized brands in the market. With pickups like these, you probably won't need an upgrade anytime soon.

We found the same or similar pickups to the ESP LTD SN-1 HT's online:

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's pickups are Passive while the ESP LTD SN-1 HT's are Active.

Passive pickups are what most guitars use. These have a normal output that works well for most genres. However, Active pickups are the preferred choice of heavy metal players because they offer extra output thanks to their 9v battery, which results in a heavier, more distorted sound. Bear in mind that achieving a completely clean tone with them won't be easy. So if you want to also use clean tones, you might want to avoid Active pickups.

Winner: Tie.

Versatility Comparison

Some instruments offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

Both are equal when it comes to the pickup switching option.

Only the ESP LTD SN-1 HT comes with some kind of pickup modification: Multi-Voicing.

Multi-Voicing means the pickups come with multiple ''voices'', which means they can change the tone and gain by a simple switch or knob. Piezo, Fishman and similar are considered multi-voicing pickups.

In this case, both of them lack pickup selector.

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: ESP LTD SN-1 HT.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 39
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 69
ESP LTD SN-1 HT
Pickups 90
Sustain 85
Versatility 47
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 74

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the instrument. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I compares to the ESP LTD SN-1 HT.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I is built in China while the ESP LTD SN-1 HT is made in Indonesia.

China has a bad reputation when it comes to building quality. However, times have changed and now respectable brands use China's cheap labor to build good instruments for a lower price. Don't discount a guitar only because it was built in China, but also expect more quality from countries like Korea.

Indonesia is becoming the most popular country for guitar building because they can make good instruments for a low price. Some people think that they're 'the new China' when it comes to build quality. But the truth is that Indonesian guitars are more consistent, although Chinese quality has improved a lot in the last few years.

Winner: ESP LTD SN-1 HT

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has a Ivory Tusq nut. Ivory used to be considered the best material for guitar nuts due to its beauty, durability, and the rich harmonics and sustain you could get from a guitar with it. However, the way to obtain it is simply unethical. Enter TUSQ ivory nuts, which are made synthetically to imitate ivory. Technically, it's better than ivory because it is consistent piece-to-piece, while natural materials can vary a lot, even if they're made from the same.

On the other hand, the ESP LTD SN-1 HT comes with a Plastic nut. This is a low-quality nut that you might want to consider upgrading soon. Bone and TUSQ nuts are the best for guitars with a fixed or simple tremolo bridge.

Winner: Epiphone 1963 Firebird I.

Fret Material

Most fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most instruments end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive models come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

In this comparison, the ESP LTD SN-1 HT is the only one that has stainless steel frets. These frets will basically last for the entire life of the guitar. They will never need polishing nor replacement. And not only that, but some people also notice that bending and vibratos are much easier to perform when they upgrade to stainless steel.

Winner: ESP LTD SN-1 HT.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

Both come with a similar bridge: Fixed. It's a simple bridge that is very beginner-friendly since it doesn't require any set-up. You can swap strings easily. It might also give more sustain since it doesn't have complex moving parts that make the strings lose vibration. However, it doesn't have the same versatility as a tremolo bridge.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

The ESP LTD SN-1 HT has the best tuners of the two because they are locking tuners. They'll help to keep your guitar in tune because they allow you to tune it without wrapping the strings around the posts. This avoids variations in the tuning due to the strings changing position at the post after a bend. They come at the disadvantage of being slightly heavier than regular tuners. Also, it makes it a lot easier to restring.

Winner: ESP LTD SN-1 HT.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to a guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has a Neck-Through neck joint. This neck is a lot more resistant and lets builders give the neck joint a more comfortable shape for soloing at the upper frets. The disadvantage is that they're more expensive and that if you damage your neck, you can't simply replace it like with bolt-on necks.

On the other hand, the ESP LTD SN-1 HT comes with Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

Winner: Epiphone 1963 Firebird I.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock
Strengths & Weaknesses
ESP LTD SN-1 HT
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Multi-Voicing Pickups
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Quality of materials 66
Features 60
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 64
ESP LTD SN-1 HT
Quality of materials 76
Features 65
Quality Control 75
Build Quality 72

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare their playability. Bear in mind that the instrument will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test before buying. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the instrument for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar might be to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when it comes to feeling of the instrument in your hands. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Nut Width
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Nut Width
ESP LTD SN-1 HT Nut Width
ESP LTD SN-1 HT Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has the wider nut with 43mm (1.693'') vs 42mm (1.654''). This is a 1mm (0.039'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Scale Length
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Scale Length
ESP LTD SN-1 HT's Scale Length
ESP LTD SN-1 HT's Scale Length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

The ESP LTD SN-1 HT has the longest scale: 25.5". The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I is only 24.75" long. This is a 0.75'' (19.1mm) scale length difference.

This longer scale means that the strings need more tension to get in tune. This is good if you want to avoid fret buzz, which can happen when the strings are too loose and touch the frets while vibrating. This is especially important when playing in lower tunings. This will also let you reduce the gap between fretboard and strings (low action) to make them easier to press down. However, this higher tension will also make it harder to perform bends and vibratos as the strings will feel stiffer.

This also means that the frets have a longer separation between each other, so this will make it harder for people with smaller hands when playing some chord positions.

Another characteristic of a longer scale is that it makes the guitar sound 'snappier' or brighter. This is due to the extra separation between harmonics and overtones produced by the tension. This influences tone more than any other factor (except the pickups).

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Neck Profile
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's neck profile
ESP LTD SN-1 HT Neck Profile
ESP LTD SN-1 HT's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

In this case, both have different neck shapes:

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has a C type of neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

The ESP LTD SN-1 HT, on the other hand, has a U neck. This is also referred to as ''baseball neck'' because of its shape. It's usually thick, which is why some people with big hands like it. However, they can also be thin, similar to a C shape, but with more shoulders for a better grip.

Fretboard Radius

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Fingerboard Radius
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Fingerboard radius
ESP LTD SN-1 HT Fingerboard Radius
ESP LTD SN-1 HT's Fingerboard radius

Most guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

In this case, the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's fingerboard radius is smaller, which means it's more curved than the ESP LTD SN-1 HT's. This extra arc will make playing chords easier in this model. You won't be as likely to mute the strings, especially if you have big hands. However, playing single notes and bending will be easier on the ESP LTD SN-1 HT.

Still, both tend to favor soloing over chords, so if you're looking for a guitar for playing rhythm, you might want something else with a radius closer to a Stratocaster's 9.5''.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

After taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that both in this comparison favor small hands .

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I:
Big Hands
Small Hands
ESP LTD SN-1 HT:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Frets Size
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Frets Size
ESP LTD SN-1 HT Frets Size
ESP LTD SN-1 HT's Frets Size

The ESP LTD SN-1 HT has XL Jumbo frets, which should be taller than the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's Medium Jumbo frets.

Some people prefer taller frets because they result in more sustain since the strings get pressed cleanly without interference from the fretboard. However, if they're too tall—like Jumbo frets—, you might change the pitch of the strings accidentally if you press too hard because you won't be touching the fretboard with your fingers. This is also why some guitarists with a heavy grip prefer smaller frets. They like to feel the fingerboard to avoid pressing down too hard and getting out of pitch.

Final Playability Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 80
Playability 77
ESP LTD SN-1 HT
Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 75

Specs Side-by-Side

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs LTD SN-1 HT
General Epiphone 1963 Firebird I LTD SN-1 HT
Brand: Epiphone ESP LTD
Year: 2024 2021
Configuration: H H
Strings: 6 6
Made in: China Indonesia
Series: 1963 Firebird I SN
Colors: Green, Pink, Silver Black
Left-Handed Version: No Yes
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: 9-ply Mahogany/Walnut Neck-Through Swamp Ash
Bridge: Wraparound Lightning Bar Hipshot w/ String Thru
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through Bolt-On
Tuners: Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary LTD Locking
Fretboard: Indian Laurel Macassar Ebony
Neck Material: Mahogany Roasted Maple
Decoration: Mother of Pearl dot Dots
Scale Size: 24.75" 25.5"
Shape: 1963 Firebird Thin U
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 XL Jumbo Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius: 12" 13.78"
Nut: Ivory Tusq Plastic
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'') 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets (Humbucker / Passive) Fishman Fluence Open Core Classic (Humbucker / Active)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup:
Switch: 0 Way 0 Way
Knobs: Bell Dome
Pickup Mods: None Multi-Voicing
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 1 0