I bought an EC1000VB in 2006, and man, it was just superb. EMG pickups (that incidentally were the thing i liked the least about it, and i first swapped the 81 with an 85, then went passive with a set of Bareknuckles), Sperzel locking tuners, Earvana nut (not that it made any percievable difference, to be honest). Perfect finish. It just looked, sounded and felt like a guitar thrice its price.
Few years ago, for reasons that seemed good at the time, i sold it (along with an LTD MH417, but that’s another sad story). And regretted it ever since.
So at last i decided to buy it again, and thankfully LTD now is making an already passive version, loaded with Duncans (a pretty standard combination of a bridge JB and a neck 59).
Still made in Korea, despite the production has already partly shifted to Indonesia. Still looking as gorgeous as i remembered it, but with some difference (obviously apart from the pickups).
No more Sperzel hardware, the tuners are still locking but branded LTD. They work fine, anyway.
No more Earvana, just a generic nut (see above).
A push-pull tone know for coil splitting (and that’s a very welcome addiction)
A macassar ebony fretboard in place of the pitch black Madagascar ebony of the old model (and this is another change i’m really happy about, i never liked both the looks and feel of ebony, and macassar not only looks way more interesting, it could be me, but it’s apparently also less clangy and snappy on the strings)
I can’t be sure, but I suspect the body is no more made of a single piece of mahogany, because the acoustic tone has changed a bit.
It’s somewhat less resonant, less middy, brighter and more balanced – i was a bit perplexed about the choice of pickups on a guitar that i remembered being very warm sounding – but actually they complement very well the “new” acoustic properties.
The bridge JB is well balanced, not too aggressive but perfectly able to handle high gain in standard or drop tunings with ease, and its mid hump make it stand out of the mix in solos and melodic parts.
The neck 59 is not as muddy as i feared it to be, and they both sound very good when splitted.
I don't think they'll last long - but I'm a pickup nerd, there's nothing wrong with them.
This said, the LTD EC1000 is still one of the best guitars you can find for less than 1000 €, but the quality gap with the ESP eclipse is slightly more pronounced (less inapparent, to be fair) than it used to be. I gave it four stars in the “quality” department exclusively because of this very reason. But in absolute terms it’s a five star instrument in all aspects.