ESP LTD Royal Shiva Review & Prices

ESP LTD Royal Shiva Review
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  • From ESP LTD's 2024 Artist series
  • Bill Kelliher Signature
  • Made in South Korea
  • 6 strings
  • 25"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany w/ Maple Cap body
  • 3Pc Mahogany neck
  • Macassar Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: MojoTone Hell Bender Neck w/ Nickel Cover *(Pull Volume for Split) (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: MojoTone Hell Bender Neck w/ Nickel Cover *(Pull Tone for Split) (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Tonepros Locking TOM & Tailpiece bridge
  • U Set neck
  • 22 XL Jumbo frets
  • LTD Locking tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 75
Sound 80
Build quality 69
Value for money 70
Overall Score 75
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
ESP LTD Royal Shiva
  • Locking Tuners
  • Expensive Wood
  • Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Coil Split, Coil Tap Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in South Korea
  • 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 $1300, which means that the ESP LTD Royal Shiva costs around 54% 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 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in South Korea.

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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

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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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Is it Easy to Play?

The ESP LTD Royal Shiva meets 5 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. 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 Royal Shiva
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • 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 Royal Shiva's construction is balanced for most hand sizes.

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 Royal Shiva's 25" scale length compared to other common sizes:

ESP LTD Royal Shiva Scale Length Comparison
ESP LTD Royal Shiva's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale found in most PRS guitars, and it's right between the length of most Stratocasters and Les Pauls.

The scale length will affect the separation of the frets, the string tension, and even the tone of the guitar. The longer the scale, the more separated the frets are, which makes it a bit harder to move fast on the fretboard. Also, the higher tension of the strings will make them feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength. However, a longer scale also allows you to lower the action of the strings and make them closer to the fretboard, which makes them easier to press. Finally, the tone will also sound brighter with a longer scale.

A 25'' scale makes all of this feel right between a Stratocaster (longer scale) and a Les Paul (shorter scale).

Don't forget that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

ESP LTD Royal Shiva Neck Profile
ESP LTD Royal Shiva'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.

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 Royal Shiva has a 12" fingerboard radius.

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

ESP LTD Royal Shiva Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
ESP LTD Royal Shiva's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the ESP LTD Royal Shiva has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
27'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
14'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

ESP LTD Royal Shiva Nut Width
ESP LTD Royal Shiva Nut Width

The ESP LTD Royal Shiva has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The ESP LTD Royal Shiva has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

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 Royal Shiva Fret Size Comparison
ESP LTD Royal Shiva'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 Royal Shiva'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 90
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 70
Playability 75

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

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body, Neck
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony Fretboard

Mahogany Body and Neck: 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.

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

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

The ESP LTD Royal Shiva'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.

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 Multiple switch option. The first one is Coil Split. 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.

It also has a Coil Tap option. This will allow you to get a single-coil sound out of your humbucker once you activate the power tap. The way it works is that it cuts part of the power coming from one of the coils, which ends up giving you a more real single-coil sound.

Diagram

ESP LTD Royal Shiva pickups switch and push knobs diagram
ESP LTD Royal Shiva'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 90
Sustain 85
Versatility 64
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 80

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 Royal Shiva is made in South Korea. Guitars made here are well-built and tend to have good quality control, even though they focus on mass production. This used to be the most premium option just below Japan or the US, but other countries like Indonesia are becoming great competitors because of even cheaper labor without sacrificing quality.

Bridge

Tonepros Locking TOM & Tailpiece: 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:

Tuners

The ESP LTD Royal Shiva comes with locking tuners, which helps with tuning stability and makes changing strings a lot faster and easier. As long as they're high quality, these are the best tuning machines you can have. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier than normal tuners.

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 Royal Shiva has a Bone nut. This material is one of the highest quality you can get. It provides excellent sustain and tune stability if cut well. The only disadvantage is that it's an organic material, so it's not consistent. Two different bone nuts, even if made from the same bone, will probably sound slightly different. However, bear in mind that this is only relevant when playing open strings.

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 Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 70
Quality Control 80
Build Quality 69

All Specs

ESP LTD Royal Shiva
General
Brand: ESP LTD
Year: 2024
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: South Korea
Series: Artist
Colors: Burst
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany w/ Maple Cap
Bridge: Tonepros Locking TOM & Tailpiece
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: LTD Locking
Fretboard: Macassar Ebony
Neck Material: 3Pc Mahogany
Decoration: Blocks
Scale Size: 25"
Shape: U
Frets: 22 XL Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Bone
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Pickup Mods: Coil Split, Coil Tap
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: MojoTone Hell Bender Neck w/ Nickel Cover *(Pull Volume for Split) (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: MojoTone Hell Bender Neck w/ Nickel Cover *(Pull Tone for Split) (Humbucker / Passive)

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