ESP LTD JR-208 Overview and Best Prices

ESP LTD JR-208 Review
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  • 3 Prices - New from $699 >
  • From ESP LTD's 2020 Signature series
  • Javier Reyes Signature
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 8 strings
  • 27"'' scale
  • 15.75" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Maple neck
  • Roasted Jatoba fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: ESP Designed LH-308B (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: ESP Designed LH-308N (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • LTD Fixed Bridge w/ string thru bridge
  • Thin U Bolt-On neck
  • 24 XL Jumbo frets
  • LTD tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 75
Sound 67
Build quality 55
Value for money 71
Overall Score 66
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
ESP LTD JR-208
  • Expensive Wood
  • Coil Split Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $1400, which means that the ESP LTD JR-208 is around 50% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 8 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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User Feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Neck speed (thickness)

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Pickups noise

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Pickups power

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Videos

ESP Guitars: LTD Signature Series JR-208 Demo by Javier Reyes (Animals As Leaders)
Austin Blau - Titan - Instrumental Playthrough
Animals as Leaders | WOVEN WEB FULL GUITAR COVER (with Thumping and Solo)
Chill Post Rock from my Bedroom
Javier Reyes: The Art of The 8 String Guitar
More Videos

Often Compared With

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Playability

The ESP LTD JR-208 meets 4 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not bad for beginners, but it could be better. 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 JR-208
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the ESP LTD JR-208's construction favors people with relatively big hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—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 JR-208's 27" scale length compared to other common sizes:

ESP LTD JR-208 Scale Length Comparison
ESP LTD JR-208's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is a scale used for baritones and guitars with more than 6 strings. Since the scale is so long, the tension of the strings will be high. This means that bending will require a lot more strength than with a shorter scale. However, it also allows you to use really low tunings without causing fret buzz and without needing to increase your string gauge too much.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

ESP LTD JR-208 Neck Profile
ESP LTD JR-208'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.

The ESP LTD JR-208's neck thickness is approximately 0.787'' (20mm) at the first fret, and 0.866'' (22mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official ESP LTD website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

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.

More for different hand sizes

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 JR-208 has a 15.75" fingerboard radius.

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

ESP LTD JR-208 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
ESP LTD JR-208's fretboard radius compared to others

It's a radius that makes playing single notes (and bending, vibrato, sliding, etc) easier than on a classic Les Paul guitar. However, it's still more curved than some baritone and 7+ strings guitars.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the ESP LTD JR-208 has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

ESP LTD JR-208
This model
27'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
2.126'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
27'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
2.126'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
U Neck Profile
2.126'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
C Neck Profile
2.126'' Nut Width
20'' Fretboard Radius
27'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
2.126'' Nut Width
15.75'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

ESP LTD JR-208 Nut Width
ESP LTD JR-208 Nut Width

The ESP LTD JR-208 has a nut width of 54mm (2.126''). This is considered a wide width for a 8-string guitar. It gives your fingers the extra space you need to play without muting accidentally, but this also makes bar chords harder to perform, especially if you have small hands.

Frets

The ESP LTD JR-208 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 guitar, even if you use the same pickup on a 22-fret guitar.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

ESP LTD JR-208 Fret Size Comparison
ESP LTD JR-208'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 JR-208'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.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 60
Solo Playability 80
Playability 75

Tone

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

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Jatoba wood pattern used for guitar building
Jatoba Fretboard

Mahogany Body: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Maple Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Jatoba Fretboard: It's an exceptionally hard and dense wood that emphasizes the mid-lows, giving a fuller, more round sound than, for example, Mahogany. However, it also has a lot of clarity in the top end.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The ESP LTD JR-208's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

More with the same pickups

ESP LTD JR-208
This model
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
ESP Designed LH-308B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-308N Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
ESP Designed LH-308B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-308N Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

It has a Coil Split option. It allows you to 'split' or turn off pickup coils to get even more tones in combination with the pickup selector. When used with humbucker pickups, it'll reduce the output and increase their clarity, turning them essentially into single-coil pickups.

Diagram

ESP LTD JR-208 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
ESP LTD JR-208's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 8 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Heavy Metal or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 55
Sustain 80
Versatility 69
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 67

Build Quality

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 JR-208 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

LTD Fixed Bridge w/ string thru: 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.

More with the same type of bridge:

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 guitar. 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 JR-208 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 guitar 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 guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 41
Features 55
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 55

All Specs

ESP LTD JR-208
General
Brand: ESP LTD
Year: 2020
Configuration: HH
Strings: 8
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Signature
Colors: Blue
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: LTD Fixed Bridge w/ string thru
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: LTD
Fretboard: Roasted Jatoba
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Offset Blocks
Scale Size: 27"
Shape: Thin U
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.787'' (20mm) - 12th Fret: 0.866'' (22mm)
Frets: 24 XL Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 15.75"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 54mm (2.126'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Bell
Pickup Mods: Coil Split
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: ESP Designed LH-308B (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: ESP Designed LH-308N (Humbucker / Passive)