ESP LTD FL-4 Review & Prices

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ESP LTD FL-4 Review
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  • From ESP LTD's 2024 Artist series
  • Fred Leclercq Signature
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 4 strings
  • 34"'' scale
  • 15.748" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • 5Pc Maple / Purpleheart neck
  • Macassar Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: EMG 35P (Humbucker/Active)
  • 1 volume and 0 tone Dome knobs
  • Hipshot A Style bridge
  • Bass Extra Thin U Neck-Through neck
  • 24 XL Jumbo Stainless Steel frets
  • Grover Mini tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 82
Sound 77
Build quality 77
Value for money 74
Overall Score 79
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
ESP LTD FL-4
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Expensive Wood
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Active Preamp
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Retainer Bar
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $400, which means that the ESP LTD FL-4 costs around 375% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 4 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally, and there are many important things they won't tell you about the one you're buying. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this bass say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The ESP LTD FL-4 meets 2 out of our 6 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. 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 to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

ESP LTD FL-4
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the ESP LTD FL-4's construction favors people with relatively big hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this bass—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the ESP LTD FL-4's 34" scale length compared to other common sizes:

ESP LTD FL-4 Scale Length Comparison
ESP LTD FL-4's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is considered a long scale bass, and it's the most popular choice for several reasons. Even though it might be more difficult to play than short scale basses due to their increased string tension, their punchier low-end results in a clear and defined bass tone that can cut through in a mix, making them well-suited for genres like rock, metal, and funk.

Neck Profile

ESP LTD FL-4 Neck Profile
ESP LTD FL-4's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a U type neck. This shape usually has more 'shoulders' than a C neck. It's great for guitarists who love the feel of a vintage neck. Most of them are thick, which makes it better for people with big hands. However, some of them can be thin like a C neck but with more mass to the sides for a better grip.

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The ESP LTD FL-4 has a 15.748" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

ESP LTD FL-4 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
ESP LTD FL-4's fretboard radius compared to others

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the ESP LTD FL-4 has the same radius across the board.

Playability compared to main competitors

ESP LTD FL-4
This model
34'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.575'' Nut Width
15.748'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.614'' Nut Width
19.685'' Fretboard Radius
30'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.614'' Nut Width
19.685'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.614'' Nut Width
19.685'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.575'' Nut Width
9.843'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

ESP LTD FL-4 Nut Width
ESP LTD FL-4 Nut Width

The ESP LTD FL-4 has a nut width of 40mm (1.575''). This is considered a wide width for a 4-string bass. A wider nut provides more space between the strings, making it easier for players to execute techniques like slap bass and tapping, which require extra room for precision. However, players with smaller hands might find it challenging to comfortably reach across the wider fretboard, as it requires a wider stretch between the fingers.

Frets

The ESP LTD FL-4 has 24 frets. A lot of people mistakenly believe that having more frets will always be better because it gives you a higher octave. This is certainly an advantage, but there's also a disadvantage to this.

Since the fretboard will be longer, the neck pickup will need to be placed closer to the bridge. And as you may know, the further away the neck pickup is from the bridge, the warmer it sounds. This means you'll have a brighter-sounding neck pickup when using a 24-fret bass, even if you use the same pickup on a 22-fret bass.

Finally, these are stainless steel frets. They're the best fretwire available. This means you won't need to change your frets since they should last as long as your bass. Some people also feel easier bendings after swapping to stainless steel.

Fret Size

ESP LTD FL-4 Fret Size Comparison
ESP LTD FL-4's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The ESP LTD FL-4's frets are XL Jumbo size. These are extra-large frets, which are perfect for people who truly want the least resistance for techniques like vibrato, bending, tapping, and just playing fast in general. You won't be able to feel the fretboard with these frets, so if you press too hard you'll get the notes out of pitch. It might take a while to get used to them because of this.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 90
Playability 82

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder Body
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Alder Body: This is a lightweight type of wood that was popularized by Fender. According to them, it's a wood that offers a balanced tone but that favors the upper midrange slightly.

Ebony Fretboard: This is one of the most expensive woods there is, which is why it's mostly used for fretboards. It is dense, heavy, highly resistant and comes in a really dark color that gives any guitar a classy touch. Tone wise, it helps the high side of the spectrum and provides good sustain.

Pickups

This bass comes with pickups from one of the top brands: EMG. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are active pickups, so you can expect a lot of output with a highly compressed signal that will give your tones more distortion while retaining a clear, defined sound, which is what many Heavy Metal players need. However, they have the disadvantage of sometimes lacking a fully clean sound when playing without distortion.

Preamp

The preamp is an electronic circuit that serves as an intermediary between the bass's pickups and the amplifier. Its primary function is to boost and shape the bass's raw signal before it reaches the amplifier. This allows for greater control over the bass's tone, volume, and other sound characteristics. Preamps often include tone controls, equalization settings, and sometimes even onboard effects, enabling bassists to tailor their sound to their preferences and the musical context.

This bass has a Passive preamp. A bass with a passive preamp lacks an onboard electronic circuit for tone shaping and signal boosting. Instead, it relies solely on passive pickups and basic tone controls, typically consisting of volume and tone knobs. Passive preamps don't require an external power source like batteries, making them low-maintenance and dependable. While they offer a simpler and more straightforward tonal character, passive basses are appreciated for their warm and vintage sound, often favored in genres like classic rock, blues, and funk. They are an excellent choice for musicians who value the simplicity and timeless appeal of their instrument's tone without the need for active electronic components.

The ESP LTD FL-4's configuration is H. A single humbucking pickup will give you all the space you need for picking, and it might give you a bit more sustain since less magnetic fields are messing with the strings' vibrations. However, you won't have the same versatility as with other guitars with more pickups. It's recommended if you want to use it mainly for high-output riffs.

Versatility

Naturally, the ESP LTD FL-4 doesn't come with a pickup selector because it's a single-pickup bass. These instruments have less versatility, but they're good for practicing. Besides being cheaper, limiting yourself to a single-pickup bass can help you improve by learning to control the tone with your technique and playing style. Things like playing further away from the bridge for a warmer tone, or plucking the strings fast for a snappy sound can help you become a better player.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

What music genre is it good for?

As a 4 strings, Solid Body bass with H configuration and Active pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any bass for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 85
Sustain 85
Versatility 63
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 77

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The ESP LTD FL-4 is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

Bridge

Hipshot A Style: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your bass. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the ESP LTD FL-4 has 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.

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the bass meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This bass has a Neck-Through neck joint. Many people believe a neck-through build delivers the best sustain because some of the vibrations from the neck aren't lost like with other neck joints. However, no one has been able to prove this. What we know is that a neck-through build is usually the most comfortable when playing the upper frets because there's nothing on your way at the neck-body joint.

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 71
Features 80
Quality Control 80
Build Quality 77

All Specs

ESP LTD FL-4
General
Brand: ESP LTD
Year: 2024
Configuration: H
Strings: 4
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Artist
Colors: Black
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Alder
Bridge: Hipshot A Style
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through
Tuners: Grover Mini
Fretboard: Macassar Ebony
Neck Material: 5Pc Maple / Purpleheart
Decoration: Red Offset Dots
Scale Size: 34"
Shape: Bass Extra Thin U
Frets: 24 XL Jumbo Stainless Steel
Fretboard Radius: 15.748"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 40mm (1.575'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: EMG 35P (Humbucker / Active)

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