This is my review of the ESP LTD TE-1000 Black Blast and the ESP SN-1 HT Black Blast guitars.
I was intrigued by these ‘black blast’ finished ESP guitars with the cryptic names LTD TE-1000 and SN-1 HT. Maybe for some better names they should hire some extra people in the marketing department…
My conclusion: these guitars have the quality of ESP LTD’s top line, the Deluxe 1000 series. They have a familiar body shape and some special features. The ESP LTD-1000 is an excellent Tele-type guitar for the heavier stuff. The ESP LTD SN-1 HT is an attractive rock stratocaster that is versatile and can handle other styles just fine.
Let’s look in detail at what these guitars have to offer.
ESP LTD TE-1000 Black Blast
- Price indication: $ 1100
- Body: Swamp ash
- Neck: Roasted maple, Thin U, Scale length: 648 mm
- Fretboard: Roasted maple, 22 Stainless steel X-Jumbo frets
- Pickups: Seymour Duncan Pegasus (bridge) and Seymour Duncan Sentient (neck) humbuckers
- Controls: Volume control, Tone control with push-pull function, 3-Way switch
- Hardware: Black hardware
- Other: LTD locking machine heads, Hipshot bridge with string guide through the body.
ESP SN-1 HT Black Blast
- Price indication: $ 1200
- Body: Swamp ash
- Neck: Roasted maple, Neck profile: Thin U, Scale length: 648 mm
- Fretboard: Ebony, 22 Stainless steel X-Jumbo frets
- Pickup: Fishman Fluence Open Core Classic Humbucker (bridge)
- Controls: Volume control with push-pull function, 3-Way switch
- Hardware: Black hardware
- Other: Hipshot bridge with string guide through the body, LTD locking machine heads.
The most prominent feature of these guitars is the black blast body. This body is created by sandblasting the soft swamp ash, creating a relief along the lines of the annual rings. This rough body is then finished with matte black lacquer, and there you see: a superstrat and a supertele with a very tough and robust appearance. Both guitars have a neck made of roasted maple, attached to the body via a beveled heel.
ESP LTD TE-1000
The TE-1000 has maple fingerboard, with position markers on the bass side between the fifth and sixth strings. The SN-1 has a fretboard made of ebony with standard markings. The necks can be adjusted with a dial on the body side. The fretboard consists of 22 jumbo frets of stainless steel. From the seventeenth fret the neck is scalloped. On both guitars, the strings run through the body, over the fixed Hipshot bridge to the LTD locking tuners.
The TE-1000 has two humbuckers from Seymour Duncan, a Sentient at the neck and a Pegasus in the bridge position. You can split them with the pus/pull tone control. It also has a volume control and a d3-way swithc. The SN-1 has only one element: the Fishman Fluence Open Core Classic. These elements have three voicings (PAF, Classic Hot Rod and Overwound Single Coil) of which you can select the last two with the push/pull volume control. ESP did not want to add more switches and knobs to this design, so the SN-1 HT is probably the only ESP guitar with this element.
Playbility and Sound
ESP LTD TE-1000
This Telecaster-like model lies comfortably in the hand. It is not too heavy with its 3.1 kg. The rounded contoured body and beveled heel allow you to play long and comfortably. The silky finish on the neck feels very natural and the thin U-profile in combination with the fairly flat fingerboard make the guitar great for shredding.
You would be selling the guitar short if you only played rhythm parts with it. The neck lies firmly in the palm of your hand and is not super thin. The jumbo frets give a robust feel, with string bending a breeze. With the keys filed away from the 17th position, playing in the upper regions of the neck is a lot easier. There’s plenty of room to push strings up from below, and that ease is aided by the frets of hard and smooth stainless steel.
The TE-1000 has a fairly dark sound, yet the two Seymour Duncan elements give a wide repertoire of sounds. The Sentient gives a warm sound, both elements together with coilsplit give a somewhat lighter sound that works well for rhythm parts. The Pegasus at the bridge gives a powerful sound. The TE-1000 comes quite alive when you select the bridge humbucker.
The coilsplit really adds value here: the bridge element in the single-coil mode is ideal for crunchy chords, especially if you reduce the volume a bit. If you then press the tone control, you get a fatter sound with more middle and gain. All the notes of the chords remain easily distinguishable in the process.
The simplicity of single-element guitars gives them a tough look. The guitars exude: we don’t need any frills. On the other hand, the guitarist has less to choose from. This has the advantage that you can concentrate more on the music (or influence the sound with effects).
The SN-1 is a fraction lighter than the TE-1000 and just as playable. The sound is a bit lighter and brighter. The Fisman humbucker is well chosen for this guitar: The Fluence pickup produces a balanced and clean sound and is not popular for the heavier styles for nothing. The guitar sound has a lot of character where individual notes in a chord can be easily distinguished. The sound is close to a P-90 sound. It can handle clean parts, funky hits and country solos very well.
ESP LTD TE-1000
Guitar looks amazing and sounds great. Only downside was the nut which had to be either lowered or replaced.
- Amazing robust looks
- Comfortable neck
- Great sounding pickups, great for heavy/rock music.
- Quality of the Nut
- Fret marker inlays are light and small.
- Slight neck dive because guitar is pretty light.
ESP SN-1 HT
I am in love with this thing!
- Very smooth neck
- More comfortable bending, more grip provided by scalloped neck.
- Very good hipshot bridge.
- Some folks may not like a guitar with one humbucker.
ESP LTD TE-1000 Alternatives
Fender Jim Root Telecaster
Fender proves with the Jim Root Telecaster that the Tele is a jack of all trades. This signature model of the Slipknot guitarist is an unadulterated metal machine!
FGN J-Standard Iliad
With the Iliad from the J-Standard series, Japan’s FGN Guitars brings a contemporary electric guitar, where a stylish look meets seamlessly with high playing comfort.
ESP SN-1 HT Alternatives
Charvel Sean Long San Dimas HH Black
Guitarist Sean Long is founder of Sheffield-based metalcore band While She Sleeps, and their intense riffs are an important part of this act’s signature sound. You can see Sean’s perfectionism reflected in his signature instrument: the Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1.
ESP LTD M-HT Black Metal BK
The ESP LTD M-Black Metal is a no-nonsense metal machine. 24 extra jumbo frets on the ebony fingerboard, glow-in-the-dark dots on the side of the fretboard. Inside the matte black alder body is a Seymour Duncan ‘Blackened’ Black Winter humbucker. This allows you to count on tight lows and a solid midrange that lets you poke through the mix easily.
You would almost think by their stunning black blast bodies that they are made primarily to be looked at, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, they stand out and attract attention. But they are well and thoughtfully made, with an eye for detail and top quality. If you don’t like a dark sound, then that is a minus point of the TE-1000. Both guitars play very nice and smooth and thanks to the stainless steel frets you will enjoy them for many years. These guitars are comfortable workhorses for the long haul.