ESP LTD KH-202 Review & Prices

ESP LTD KH-202 Review
Add to Compare
FIND IT ON:
Reverb logoSweetwater logoAmazon logo
Set a price alert
  • From ESP LTD's 2009 Signature series
  • Kirk Hammett Signature
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 13.78" Fretboard Radius
  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck
  • Roasted Jatoba fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: ESP Designed LH-301B (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: ESP Designed LH-301N (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Floyd Rose Special bridge
  • Extra Thin U Bolt-On neck
  • 24 XL Jumbo frets
  • LTD tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 77
Sound 73
Build quality 59
Value for money 75
Overall Score 70
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
ESP LTD KH-202
  • Locking Nut
  • Tremolo
  • Retainer Bar
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $1000, which means that the ESP LTD KH-202 is around 40% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Double Locking bridge that are made in Indonesia.

SET PRICE ALERT

These are affiliate links. We may earn a fee if you purchase after clicking. These prices are prone to error. Make sure you're buying the right product after clicking on a link from our site. We are not liable if you buy the wrong product after following these links. As an Amazon Associate site we earn from qualifying purchases.

Videos

ESP LTD Kirk Hammett Signature KH-202 Guitar Review
ESP LTD KH-202
ESP LTD KH-202 Kirk Hammett Signature plays Metallica Selections through HX Stomp
***Esp Ltd kh 202's *Korean* & China* ~(Compared And discussed )~
ESP LTD KH602 - Kirk Hammett signature
More Videos

Your 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

Vote

Tuning stability

Vote

Neck speed (thickness)

Vote

Neck access to high frets

Vote

Neck profile shape

Vote

Fret edges

Vote

Pickups noise

Vote

Pickups power

Vote
View all user feedback

Explore All From ESP LTD >

Is it Easy to Play?

The ESP LTD KH-202 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 KH-202
  • Comfortable shape
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners
  • Easy-to-use bridge

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the ESP LTD KH-202's construction favors people with relatively small 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 KH-202's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

ESP LTD KH-202 Scale Length Comparison
ESP LTD KH-202's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

ESP LTD KH-202 Neck Profile
ESP LTD KH-202'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 KH-202's neck thickness is approximately 0.748'' (19mm) at the first fret, and 0.827'' (21mm) 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 KH-202 has a 13.78" fingerboard radius.

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

ESP LTD KH-202 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
ESP LTD KH-202's fretboard radius compared to others

This makes it more similar to Gibson guitars (12'') than Fender (9.5''). It's slightly flatter than most modern Gibson fretboards though, which makes it more comfortable for single notes, bendings and vibratos, but less comfortable for chords.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the ESP LTD KH-202 has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

ESP LTD KH-202
This model
25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.625'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
Multiscale Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

ESP LTD KH-202 Nut Width
ESP LTD KH-202 Nut Width

The ESP LTD KH-202 has a nut width of 42mm (1.654''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

The ESP LTD KH-202 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 KH-202 Fret Size Comparison
ESP LTD KH-202'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 KH-202'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 80
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 80
Playability 77

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

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

Basswood Body: This is a soft type of wood that is very light and easy to work with. It's cheaper than many other kinds of wood used for guitar building, but it doesn't mean it's low quality. In terms of sound, it accentuates the mid-range, which matches the frequencies that a Humbucker produces.

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 KH-202'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 KH-202
This model
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
ESP Designed LH-301B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-301N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
ESP Designed LH-301B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-301N Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
ESP Designed LH-301B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-301N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Floyd Rose Bridge
ESP Designed LH-301B Bridge Pickup
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.

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

Diagram

ESP LTD KH-202 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
ESP LTD KH-202's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock 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 71
Tuning Stability 85
Sound 73

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 KH-202 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

Floyd Rose Special: With this type of tremolo bridge, you'll be able to perform dive bombs and pinch harmonics without getting out of tune. This type of bridge gives you the best versatility, but it also makes it harder to set up your guitar correctly, especially when changing your strings.

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 KH-202 has a Locking nut. Instead of the typical nut, this nut locks the strings in place and will make them stay in tune even after heavy tremolo use. This type of nut provides the best tune stability, but they also make the guitar more expensive.

It also comes with a retainer bar for the locking nut, which is a helpful addition. Without it, the strings would change pitch once you lock down the nut, so you'd have to make more micro-adjustments at the bridge to tune it correctly.

More with the same nut material:

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 65
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 59

All Specs

ESP LTD KH-202
General
Brand: ESP LTD
Year: 2009
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Signature
Colors: Black
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Basswood
Bridge: Floyd Rose Special
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: LTD
Fretboard: Roasted Jatoba
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Skulls
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Extra Thin U
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.748'' (19mm) - 12th Fret: 0.827'' (21mm)
Frets: 24 XL Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 13.78"
Nut: Locking
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: ESP Designed LH-301B (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: ESP Designed LH-301N (Humbucker / Passive)

More Popular Comparisons With This Guitar

User Reviews

Help others by sharing your opinion about this guitar. Note: to avoid spam, your review will be submitted for approval before appearing here.

You're reviewing as anonymous. to comment with your account.
Your Rating: