This is not a cheap guitar.
In fact, most would consider it quite expensive.
But when you take a closer look, it turns out the ESP LTD BB-600 is an absolute steal. It is one of the very best values on the guitar market, period.
It is meant to be a metal guitar, but it is versatile enough that it can work for any genre.
And that versatility serves it well within the metal genre as well. It just gives you so much more room for creativity.
We’ll take a closer look at this baritone electric guitar in our review below, to help you decide if it is the right instrument for you.
Table of Contents
ESP LTD BB-600 Review: Overview And Features
As you may know, it’s not uncommon for guitarists to go deep into lower tunings. Sometimes they’ll even go into bass territories, especially if we’re talking about metal players.
This is why many electric guitar manufacturers began producing baritone guitars, which are guitars with longer scale lengths. One of the finest examples is ESP LTD’s BB-600, which is a signature model of Breaking Benjamin’s Benjamin Burnley. This Les Paul-shaped guitar has some great features that you don’t often see with baritone guitars, or electric guitars in general.
- 27-inch scale length
- “Eclipse” body shape with ergonomic cutouts
- Mahogany body with maple top
- Maple neck with ebony fingerboard, 24 jumbo frets
- Neck-through construction
- Seymour Duncan JB and ’59 pickups
- Under-saddle piezo pickup
- Two outputs
- Individual volume controls for magnetic and piezo pickups, 3-way rotary switch
- Classic tune-o-matic bridge
Design And Construction
While the BB-600 has a Les Paul body shape, it is a modified and more modern version of it called the Eclipse, which features indents on the backside, right at the cutaway.
This makes access to higher frets easier, which is further helped by the body and neck joint design. Playing on higher frets feels almost as if you’re playing on any other part of the neck.
This guitar has a mahogany body with a quilted maple top, as well as a maple neck with ebony fingerboard. It has 24 jumbo frets on a “Thin U” profile that makes things super comfortable. And since this is a baritone guitar, it has a scale length of 27 inches.
The most interesting feature of the ESP LTD BB-600 is the pickup formation. First, it has two Seymour Duncan humbuckers, the ’59 in the neck position and the JB in the bridge position. But there’s also an additional piezo pickup under the saddle, giving you those sparkling acoustic-like tones.
To accommodate the different pickups, this guitar has two separate outputs: one for the magnetic pickups and the other for the piezo pickup. This is also accompanied by individual volume controls for the two outputs and a simple rotary humbucker selection switch.
Unfortunately, there are no tone (treble roll-off) controls, but it’s not generally much of an issue, since this is a metal-oriented guitar, that sees use in bands like Breaking Benjamin.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- A very comfortable neck and easy access to higher frets
- Great build quality and amazing design
- Seymour Duncan pickup combo that’s pretty versatile
- Addition of the piezo pickup makes it very versatile
- Works really well in lower tunings
- No tone controls
- It could be useful if piezo and magnetic pickups could be rooted in one output
ESP LTD BB-600 Vs Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21
The world of baritone guitars has a somewhat limited following. While they see use in many genres, these guitars with elongated necks are most commonly used by metal musicians these days.
That us why so many baritone guitars are metal-oriented. And the ESP LTD BB-600 is not exception. It’s mostly meant for playing metal, both sonically and aesthetically.
For that reason, we want to compare it to another metal-oriented guitar: the Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21, which has some interesting traits of its own.
Compared to the BB-600, the RGIB21 screams metal. The body is made of nyatoh wood and features that sharp “Super Strat” shape that the company calles Iron Label RG Baritone.
It also has a 3-piece neck made of maple and purpleheart wood. The neck profile is extremely comfortable and it has a total scale length of 28 inches, with 24 jumbo frets.
The neck is attached via bolt-on construction, as opposed to the neck-thru construction on the LTD. It might not be as comfortable and ergonomic as the neck construction on the LTD, but it’s still designed pretty well and enables you to have easy access to the higher frets areas.
In addition to the design differences, there’s another important trait on the RGIB21 that makes it different than the BB-600. And that is the pickups.
The Ibanez has two active EMG pickups, the 60 model in the neck position and the classic 81 in the bridge. While some might find active pickups to be a bit of a nuisance, since you need to change the battery on a regular basis, this particular combo gives you an awesome platform for modern metal and metalcore music, especially when combined with the guitar’s baritone construction and lower tunings.
On the other hand, these pickups make the guitar significantly less versatile than the BB-600. This doesn’t make it worse in any way, but rather more focused on metal music.
Neither guitar has any tone controls. The RGIB21 is a significantly cheaper model, but it still has some amazing sonic and aesthetic features. Both are top baritone guitars and great values, but the BB-600 is the better instrument and a better choice if you’re looking for more versatility and even an “experimental” approach. The Ibanez is better if you are on a budget and you do not need the versatility of the BB-600.
You can learn more in our complete Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21 review.
ESP LTD BB-600: Conclusion And Rating
What really surprised us with the ESP LTD BB-600 is the combination of qualities and features that you get for the price.
Sure, we would like to have one output for both magnetic and piezo pickups and then have a blend in one output. But that would make the instrument much more expensive. And there are other ways to blend the signal, both in the studio and on stage.
Overall, this is a fully professional baritone guitar. And while it’s somewhat expensive, it actually overplays its price tag. This is the best baritone guitar for metal, but no matter what genre that you’re into, it is versatile enough to deliver the sound you need.
The BB-600 is one of the absolute best baritone guitars available, especially if you play metal. It earns a stellar Musicaroo rating of 4.9 out of 5.