My ESP LTD EC-100QM
I bought this guitar in 2005. It's a ESP LTD
EC-100QM. I paid around $300 with case. I was
(and others are too) with the action and feel, and it sounded
However, I wanted it to be better, so I'll go over what I did to
Strings And IntonationWhen I bought this, it was the last guitar of its kind in the store, and it was the display model. They had restrung it with Super Slinky 9's. The guitar shop that sold it to me was nice enough to reset the action and such for these strings. However, I didn't like the intonation job they did on it, so I re-did it myself. I prefer to follow the ESP owner's manual's proceedures for intonation.
ModificationsI'm a perfectionist, and I wanted things to be more logically laid out. As it came from the factory, the 3 way toggle switch was set to toggle up and down (from the view of the one playing the guitar) rather than left and right, which would logically correspond to the pickups being selected. My first modification was to open up the panel behind this switch.
From there, you gently loosen the ring on the front of the switch, then rotate the switch to where you want it, then gently tighten the ring once again, holding the switch from behind.
Note: you should never tighten things on a wooden instrument too much: be very gentle and only tighten things enough to stay where you put them. In case you have a torque wrench, don't use it: torque wrenches that indicate less than 20 inch pounds are rare. The last thing you want to do is hurt the wood.
I used to play my guitar with the volume and tone all the way up, but recently I have learned how important they are. I prefer one master volume to the farthest left, then one master tone knob to the right of it. At first I didn't want to go modifying the guitar, so I merely moved the knobs around:
From there I also got an allen wrench to loosen the knobs themselves.
Be sure you do NOT loosen these set screws too much: they are very tiny, and if one should fall out, it's going to be very difficult to find. Anyways, from there, inside the back panel, you should see the switches.
On the front of the guitar there's a sleeve nut keeping the knobs in. On the front there is this nut and a washer per knob, and on the back of the guitar in the electronics bay there is a washer and a special anti-slip washer under that. Do not lose the washers, and be sure to use them in the proper order when putting these knobs back on. These washers help prevent damage to the wood (and the special one prevents the volume knob assembly itself from turning once it's back in).
In this cavity, around the wires, you may see a couple small zip ties that are holding the wires together. These will need to be removed to get enough slack wire to move the knobs. Warning: BE VERY CAREFUL! If you accidentally cut any wires while trying to remove the zip ties, or in any way harm the electronics in this bay, you will probably break the guitar and have to take it in to get repaired. Anyways, cut the zip ties carefully, move the knobs, then put things back together.
The zip ties are important if you plan to ship the guitar, so make sure you replace them. They help prevent the wires from bouncing around and other things from jiggling due to shocks during transit. This is important because too much shock over time, due to playing and moving, can cause wires to come loose over time. If you don't have zip ties, you can use dental floss (waxed), since this is sort of similar to the string tie used on military aircraft to keep wire bundles together.