ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000 – Review (2024)

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ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000

This is my review of the ESP LTD Viper 1000.

The ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000 with its double horns is a variation of the famous Gibson SG. In this guitar, the upper horn points a bit more forward than the lower one. This gives the ESP Viper a more modern look than the traditional Gibson SG.

I’ve taken an in-depth look at this guitar to help you determine if this is something that suits your guitar needs. The ESP Viper turns out to be a tough, beautifully finished guitar that is much more versatile than its appearance would suggest.

Let’s dive in!


ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000

ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000
  • Price indication: $ 1200
  • Body: Mahogany, See Thru Black Cherry
  • Neck: 3-Piece mahogany, glued neck attachment, Thin U shaped, length: 629 mm (24.75″)
  • Fretboard: Ebony, 24 XJ stainless steel frets, Scale
  • Pickups:  Fishman Fluence Classic Open Core Humbuckers
  • Controls: 1x Volume (Push/Pull), 1x Tone (Push/Pull), 3-Way toggle
  • Hardware: Black
  • Other: Tonepros Locking TOM w/ String Thru, Machine Heads: LTD Locking
Fishman Fluence Classic Open Core Humbucker Humbuckers have three different voicings
U-shaped neckSlim shape. Fast, easy-to-play feel
Mahogany bodyRich, warm and sharp sound with enhanced sustain
Ebony fretboardFretboard wood with a dark colour and a fine grain


ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000

Like the Gibson SG, the Viper 1000 is made of mahogany and features a dark transparent cherry finish. The beautiful wood grain is clearly visible on the guitar. The neck consists of three parts of mahogany that together provide a stable construction. Very nice is that the figures on the frets end in the same shape as the head of the guitar. The guitar looks tough and sober with its black hardware.

The neck is deeply glued into the body through a set-thru joint. This makes the transition from neck to body almost seamless and the higher positions on the neck are easily accessible. The neck consists of 24 stainless steel jumbo frets. The dark fretboard is made of ebony and is a nice counterpart to the somewhat warmer mahogany. It brings the guitar sound technical in balance.

The strings go through the body and run via a Tonepros tune-o-matic bridge to locking tuners. This means that the guitar stays in tune. The guitar is also equipped with Fishman Fluence pickups, but without element caps, which suits the tough character and appearance of the guitar.

The humbuckers have been given the appropriate name ‘Fishman Fluence Clasic Open Core’ humbuckers. These humbuckers have three different voicings: in addition to an alternative humbucker sound, a single-coil sound has been added. The voicings can be activated via the volume and tone push/pull knobs. If you pull out the tone pot you get an alternative, more open and bright humbucker sound (known from the earlier generation of Fluence pickups). If you pull out the volume pot, you will hear the third single-coil voicing. With the three-position switch you can select the elements.

Sound and Playability

ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000

The guitar sounds full, bright and well balanced due to the combination of mahogany and ebony. The guitar sits comfortably in the hand and is perfectly finished. The 24 frets are nicely polished and rounded, and the guitar has a nice low action. Put the humbuckers in full position and the guitar does what you expect of it: the high output of the pickups gives a tight and defined sound. The sound is solid, whether you play fast riffs on the bridge humbucker or warm leads on the neck pickup.

The second voicing gives just a bit more top-end highs, while maintaining the guitar’s overall character. It makes the sound more open and transparent. The second voicing is perfect when you want to keep the full humbucker sound, but want to be less present in the mix. It is very nice to only have to pull out the tone pot and not have to change all kinds of settings on your amp or in your effects pedal.

The third voicing with the single coil setting gives the full and bright sound that you expect from a good single coil. The sound is reminiscent of a Telecaster: bright, musical and with a nice twang. You can even play country licks with this tough Viper. The combination of both elements gives a sound that is ideal for blues rock and funky licks.

Customer Reviews

This guitar almost plays itself. It may be primarily a “metal” guitar, but you can cover a lot of musical bases just as well with this (ok, maybe not so much country or jazz per se, but you get the idea!). You certainly won’t fine a better quality guitar for the price range that is being offered with the Viper. This is what the SG should have been…


  • The mahogany creates a warm, punchy sound. The strings that go through the body create a longer sustain.
  • Great looks and easy to play with low action.
  • Very versatile: 3 basic sounds to choose from, but in principle even already 9 amplified guitar sounds through the 3 different voicings of these active pickups.


  • Top strap peg makes the guitar seem a bit off-balance or neck heavy. 
  •  No separate volume controls for each pickup.

ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000 – Alternatives

Gibson SC Standard HC

Gibson SG Standard HC

The Gibson SG has the classic double cutaway body shape of course, but also lots of contemporary features.

The body with its pleasant curves and the glued long tenon neck are made of mahogany and the guitar is completed with that famous 12 inch rosewood fingerboard.

The full acoustic sound foundation is of course intact and naturally this solidbody has 2 humbuckers. These Alnico II pickups give your amplified not only that vintage vibe, but also a contemporary clear high.

Yamaha Revstar RSP20

Yamaha Revstar RSP20 

This is the premier model in the Revstar line. Two Yamaha VH5 pickups are used in this lightweight chambered mahogany body of this maple-topped double-cut guitar to provide bright and punchy tones that excel in practically every sonic application.

The neck is made of carbon-reinforced mahogany, and will remain straight and true in even the most trying circumstances.

The RSP20 is the only high-performance, no-nonsense axe you need if you want powerful tones, rock-solid playability, and slick, contemporary looks.

Maybach Albatroz 65

Maybach Albatroz 65

The design, known as MAYBACH® Albatroz 65, was made with the finest components: no frills and a nice, “handy” ’65 neck shape. Pure audio and incredibly light! 100% demon for the job, with a single P90 pickup producing a great sound!

The MAYBACH® Albatroz 65 is available in the colors Cherry, Vintage Cream, and TV Yellow and is painted with nitro lacquer.

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ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000

The ESP LTD Viper 1000 is a beautiful, versatile guitar. The finish and playability is fine, it fits comfortably in the hand and resonates perfectly. This guitar owes its versatility to the capabilities of the Fishman Fluence Clasic Open Core pickups: in total, you have no less than nine different sounds at your disposal. Besides rock and metal, the appropriate home of this axe, you can produce a whole palette of sounds with this guitar.

ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000 gtr

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Friso is as excited about playing guitar as the moment when he picked up the instrument for the first time, about 35 years ago. He is the founder of where he likes to share his knowledge about guitars, guitar gear and guitar playing.

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