Well, on my trip to Las Vegas, my girl and I decided to check out a Sam Ash store, since we don't have any in Oklahoma. Upon walking in, the first thing that caught my eye was a gorgeous new ESP M-II, black, with EMG's and rosewood board hanging on the wall, so I went over to grab it. Immediately, I felt that "connection" that you get to those very few guitars that just feel "right" in your hands. Good first impression, so I decided to try it out on an amp to see how she sounded.
It was either a Marshall or Peavey XXX to choose from, so I went with the Peavey. I dialed in a basic hard rock/metal tone, and went to work. I was amazed by the ease of play, how well it seemed to stay in tune (even with a fairly crappy factory setup.) Also, one thing I look for in all of my new guitars is how good the harmonics are. This one just SCREAMED!! I've never been able to pull off P/H or N/H this easy, on any guitar.
I tried a couple of Ibanez's as a comparison, and it just blew them away, frankly. One of the ones I tried was a new 24 fret S series which was extremely nice and sounded 'okay', but the quality seemed juuust a fraction of a percent worse than the ESP. The other Ibanez I tried was a used USA custom that had a removable headstock (weird!).
The neck pocket on the ESP is as TIGHT as you could get, the tightest I've every seen on a bolt-on guitar. The fit and finish is flawless, and the acoustic sound was fantastic.
So after thinking it over and playing a few other guitars, I made my decision: I absolutely HAD to have it. I got the salesman to lower it from $1399 to $1300, and had it shipped back to my home state of OK for $20, fully insured. That way, I didn't have to pay Nevada state taxes
I'll be sure to take some pics after I change strings and fully set her up.