ESP LTD Viper-10 Review & Prices

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ESP LTD Viper-10 Review
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  • From ESP LTD's 2015 Viper series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 13.78" Fretboard Radius
  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck
  • Engineered Hardwood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: ESP Designed LH-100B (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: ESP Designed LH-100N (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • TOM & Tailpiece bridge
  • Thin U Bolt-On neck
  • 24 XL Jumbo frets
  • LTD tuners
  • Compare Specs >
  • From ESP LTD's 2015 Viper series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 13.78" Fretboard Radius
  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck
  • Engineered Hardwood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: ESP Designed LH-100B (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: ESP Designed LH-100N (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • TOM & Tailpiece bridge
  • Thin U Bolt-On neck
  • 24 XL Jumbo frets
  • LTD tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 82
Sound 65
Build quality 52
Value for money 76
Overall Score 66
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
ESP LTD Viper-10
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Tremolo
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

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Price: is the ESP LTD Viper-10 a Good Deal?

Its average competitor's price is $850, which means that the ESP LTD Viper-10 is around 72% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all guitars of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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Your feedback

Not all guitars are created equal, and there are many important things they won't tell you about the guitar you're buying. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our visitors who have played this guitar say. If you've played it before, help others by voting for your experience below.

Weight

Vote
Heavy
0
Slightly heavy
1
Lightweight
0
Very lightweight
0

Tuning stability

Vote
Won't stay in tune
0
Sightly unstable
0
Not bad
1
Holds tune well
0
Won't get out of tune
0

Neck speed (thickness)

Vote
Chunky
0
Slightly chunky
0
Balanced
0
Fast
13
Herman Li fast
0

Neck access to high frets

Vote
Very Hard
0
Hard
0
Normal
0
Easy
0
Very Easy
1

Neck profile shape

Vote
Baseball / U
0
V
0
Asymmetrical
2
C
1
D
7

Fret edges

Vote
Very sharp
0
Slightly sharp
0
Smooth
0

Pickups noise

Vote
Noiseless
0
Slightly Noisy
1
Noisy
0

Pickups power

Vote
Clean
0
Slightly Hot
1
Hot
0

Explore All ESP LTD Guitars >

Is The ESP LTD Viper-10 Easy to Play?

The ESP LTD Viper-10 meets 6 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.

ESP LTD Viper-10
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the ESP LTD Viper-10'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 Viper-10's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

ESP LTD Viper-10 Scale Length Comparison
ESP LTD Viper-10's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More guitars with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

ESP LTD Viper-10 Neck Profile
ESP LTD Viper-10'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 Viper-10'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 guitars 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 Viper-10 has a 13.78" fingerboard radius. Here's an image comparing this guitar's fretboard radius to other popular choices:

ESP LTD Viper-10 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
ESP LTD Viper-10's fretboard radius compared to other guitars

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 Viper-10 has the same radius across the board.

More guitars with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
27'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
13.78'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

ESP LTD Viper-10 Nut Width
ESP LTD Viper-10 Nut Width

The ESP LTD Viper-10 has a nut width of 42mm (1.654''). This is narrower than the typical 43mm (1 11/16") width. 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 much easier at the nut.

Frets

The ESP LTD Viper-10 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 guitars with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

ESP LTD Viper-10 Fret Size Comparison
ESP LTD Viper-10'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 Viper-10'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 guitars with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 95
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 80
Playability 82

Does the ESP LTD Viper-10 Sound Good? Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar. 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 Used in the ESP LTD Viper-10

Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Engineered wood pattern used for guitar building
Engineered 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.

Engineered Fretboard: It's made from wood material that is ground and put back together to make a material very similar to traditional wood. It's a strong and stable wood that's cheaper to make. There's nothing bad about it, but some people prefer traditional wood because of tradition and looks.

More guitars 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 moderade level of hot output instead of the overwhelming output that distinguises active pickups in metal.

The ESP LTD Viper-10'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 guitars with the same pickups

24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
ESP Designed LH-100B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-100N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
ESP Designed LH-100B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-100N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
ESP Designed LH-100B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-100N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
ESP Designed LH-100B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LSH-100N Neck Pickup
24 Frets
Fixed Bridge
ESP Designed LH-100B Bridge Pickup
ESP Designed LH-100N Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, guitarists 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 Viper-10 pickups switch and push knobs diagram
ESP LTD Viper-10's switch options

What music genre is the ESP LTD Viper-10 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 kind of guitar.

Sound Score

Pickups 55
Sustain 80
Versatility 60
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 65

How well is the ESP LTD Viper-10 Built?

Where is the ESP LTD Viper-10 Made?

Knowing where the guitar 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 guitars 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 Viper-10 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.

More guitars made in Indonesia

Bridge

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 guitars 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 the guitar stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the ESP LTD Viper-10 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 guitars with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 41
Features 50
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 52

Most Popular Comparisons With The ESP LTD Viper-10

ESP LTD Viper-10 Specs

General
Brand: ESP LTD
Year: 2015
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Indonesia
Series: Viper
Colors: Black
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Basswood
Bridge: TOM & Tailpiece
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: LTD
Fretboard: Engineered Hardwood
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Dots
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: Thin U
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.787'' (20mm) - 12th Fret: 0.866'' (22mm)
Frets: 24 XL Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 13.78"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 42mm (1.654'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: ESP Designed LH-100B (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: ESP Designed LH-100N (Humbucker / Passive)

User Reviews of the ESP LTD Viper-10

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