ESP LTD M-17: A 7-String Guitar We Love - Guitar Space (2023)

This ESP 7 string is from their LTD range, which means it's made in the East. No problem. it is one of the cheapestseven string guitarsavailable and we'll consider it in terms of materials used, construction, tones, and overall playability.

Today, any guitar designed for an extra low Bb is classified very heavily in the metal field. But as part of this review, I'd like to explore whether it could have a wider range of uses than heavy riffing and endless scales. So let's dig into it and see what it has to offer!

Main features and specifications

ESP strongly markets the M-17s for their affordability, so they're aimed at kids in basements and perhaps people who are just curious what an extra string would bring to such a revered and traditional instrument.

The instrument's specifications are pretty standard in this price range.

constructionon bolts
The neckarce
vansESP developed

The full list of specs shows that this is a straightforward guitar, so it's not a bad base if you're experimenting with seven strings for the first time and trying to get a feel for what they feel like.

This works well for…

All made of metal! Because this guitar is available in any color you want, as long as it's black! To be fair, they come in matte black or satin black, but still... black!

It is interesting to notice these seven stringselectric guitarsit actually originated with jazz musicians, and well, there's nothing wrong with using it for that. However, ESP is a metal brand. An instrument with this budget might not lend itself to clean tones, so it's probably best to mess things up with some distortion.

ESP LTD M-17: A 7-String Guitar We Love - Guitar Space (1)

Does it do what it's supposed to do?

Right out of the box, the ESP 7-string smells and shines like a new guitar. The basswood body makes it noticeably lighter than its mahogany-bodied cousins. He's 9.5 pounds so he's not too heavy, but you'll know he's there.

The M-17 features fairly standard chrome hardware. Everything has been kept simple to keep costs down. Two knobs control volume and tone, while the strings go straight through the body to the Tune-o-matic bridge—no tailpiece, just a few simple metal rings to keep the strings from cutting into the body.

The rosewood fingerboard has 24 frets with dot inlays. The only decoration to be seen is the M-17 inlay at the 12th fret.

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The pickups are designed by ESP. That means it was designed by the makers in Japan or the US and actually made in the east.

It's probably important to note that while nothing in the parts screams "stylish" or "impressive," that's not the point of this guitar at all.


The standard parts already highlighted depend on how the guitar was actually assembled. For the price of this guitar there isn't much to complain about; Overall, the M-17 is a solidly built instrument.

In the case of bolted necks, it usually makes sense to start with structural inspections there. The joint was perfectly cut and the maple neck fit snugly, with no gaps and no obvious shims or unsightly glue smudges. You really can't ask for more. Honestly, I've seen worse bolt-on jobs on more expensive guitars!

The neck and fingerboard are very attractive. The frets and inlays are carefully placed on the rosewood fingerboard. At this price there is no tie on the neck!

Looking at the reversed headstock, LTD's own-brand tuners grace one side. A simple chrome affair, they go together perfectly. A few seconds of poking and poking reveals no play or rattle at all.

an unbrandedsoul coveralso lives in the headstock.

It is now clear that the success of the M-17 is not won or lost by its appearance.


A large solid body is what the target market will most likely use for the M-17, so it seemed like an obvious place to start for plugin sounds.

Plugged directly into a 100-watt solid-state head with its accompanying half-stack, and cranked up the volume and gain with its built-in distortion, the M-17 sounded exactly as you'd expect: loud and dirty! For a person in a basement who wants to do some loud metal with the extended range of a seven-string guitar, there's absolutely no problem.

ESP LTD M-17: A 7-String Guitar We Love - Guitar Space (2)

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There was a bit of a blur when playing individual notes for solos. On the bridge humbucker it was fine with some EQ adjustments. It could be that in a live setting, a pedal would do the best job of soloing: an EQ pedal, a treble amp, or even an overdrive/distortion pedal with a boosted tone.

Rolling the gain, I was hoping for a bit more clarity in the notes. No matter where I put the pickup selector or tone or volume control, it just wasn't there. The bridge pickup wasn't "bad", but if you're serious about your bright, clear cleans, this probably won't cut it.

To verify this, I switched to a smaller tube combo amp to see if I could get better clean tones out of it. It didn't take many jazz chords and light noodles to realize that the answer was no.

Generally speaking, one would expect the pickups to be a bit loud at this price and yes, that is a fair expectation and it is met. Between that and the lack of clarity of the cleaner tones, if you want to use a 7-string for jazz, look elsewhere. This guitar is not designed to be played smoothly!


If you're picky about your guitars and the way you play, you're probably not looking for cheap guitars anyway. This is a cheap guitar, and apart from looks and tone, it feels. Binding the lightweight basswood body doesn't infuse the player with the inspiration of chest-out metal bravado that a heavier instrument might.

The 350mm radius of the fingerboard is comfortable for this player. This guitar is aimed at newcomers to seven strings, so it will feel awkward and bulky at first.

There is no real discomfort as such to play the guitar. The frets are clean and well finished around the edges, so the lack of binding isn't really a big problem. But it looks like there could be a bit more "scramble" to get to the shredding at full speed. This isn't necessarily a bad thing and could be fixed with a setup and some of that string cleaner that claims to let you play faster.

If you're looking for a place to comfortably launch into your solos, this probably isn't for you, but if you're a less picky player and just looking for some fun noise, you probably won't be too discouraged!

· Cheap! So wonderfully cheap!

The parts used are decent

The construction is perfect

Ideal as a first 7-string guitar, whether you're emulating heroes or experimenting with developing your game

It feels cheap to play

Pickups could be refined to allow for a wider range of tones

Limited color options may not appeal to everyone


If you want to keep your seven-string purchase under $200, there are a few alternatives. But it's important to remember that guitars in this price range are not luxuries.

Considering the extra craftsmanship that goes into these types of instruments, there must be a cost savings somewhere to keep them affordable.

Ibanez Gio

Probably the leading brand for 7-string electric guitars, Ibanez has a couple of models at super cheap prices. As with the M-17, the focus of their Gio range is to make an extremely affordable guitar for players on a tight budget, and they've done that quite well.

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ESP LTD M-17: A 7-String Guitar We Love - Guitar Space (3)

Ibanez GRG7221

To keep things simple, the Gio comes from the Chinese Ibanez factory. Made with a poplar body, it is still quite light. Ibanez's website lists black as the only finish, but some web searches reveal alternatives, including white and a trans tobacco blast. You're beautiful.

ESP LTD M-17: A 7-String Guitar We Love - Guitar Space (4)

The hardware comes in a black chrome finish, which is not that common in general and which I think looks pretty bad.

Vendetta XM 7-Saiter

Dean has also hidden a seven-string among his inexpensive guitars. The model of his Vendetta is probably the most "normal"dean's guitars, and their XM line houses their lower-end instruments.

The string holes running through the body are V-shaped - this simple aspect of the design is quite striking and offers an aesthetic departure from the norm. It also comes in a very nice trans black finish.

ESP LTD M-17: A 7-String Guitar We Love - Guitar Space (5)

Dinky JS22-7

Another brand known for its superstrats, Jackson's Dinky range is home to the JS22-7. The most obvious thing about this guitar is its shape – look at those curves! It seems that it should be more expensive. As a standard model it comes with a rosewood fingerboard, but you can find a limited edition version with a maple fingerboard, which is quite rare.

ESP LTD M-17: A 7-String Guitar We Love - Guitar Space (6)


The esp 7 string is a simple guitar just for fun. If you just want to make some noise, you can't go wrong with the M-17.

However, this is well suited for riffing and probably best for rhythm players. Thats not allchickenslead, it's just not as much fun because it takes a bit more to get a good lead tone that cuts through the rest of the noise in the band.

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