Price paid: € 320
Features: This guitar is an all mahogany, set neck double cutaway with 22 medium jumbo frets on a rosewood fingerboard. Mine was made in China, I guess in 2006, but not sure about the year. This particular one is candy apple red, with that beautiful, deep, pearly shine, that catches the eye. It has got the Ibanez Gibraltar III bridge, two humbuckers, a volume knob for each and a master tone control, plus the usual 3 way switch. As much as I know this model is not in production now, but it's the habit of Ibanez to take off models and put them back on a few years later, so you never know when this one will be back. I gave it a 10 because it delivers everything promised for the price. One small remark, that they way I played it, I regularly touched the volume knob of the neck pickup and slowly turned it down. On my other guitars it was never in the way so it took some time to get used to it, now I know and I changed my strumming. // 10
Sound: This is not a typical metal axe, although I'm sure one can rape it too. I was looking for a warm sounding blues guitar and I think I made a good choice. It has sustain as long as a cargo train, as one would expect from a full mahogany guitar. You might miss the maple top, but I don't. Clean tones are nice, sometimes even jazzy, but it doesn't take long to get the bite you need - if you need it. Maybe not as versatile as a semi hollow, but as a solid body, it does the tricks. It speaks, it whispers, it sings, it screams.
I started using it with an Orange solid state practice combo, which was ok but nothing spectacular. I now changed to a Bugera Vintage 5 all-valve combo, and I discovered I whole new world. Sure you can get better sounding guitars for substantially more money, but in its own league this guitar has a strong position. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar is flawless in finish, the woodwork, the paint job, frets and bolts are all done well. I had a little fret buzz on the low E, but so little and so occasional, that I didn't worry much. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I don't gig, but the guitar certainly could. The strap buttons are rock solid, and the whole instrument is just massive. It holds tuning well, and as much as I can tell, it was built to last. Maybe this opinion has something to do with the weight, because it is anything but lightweight, so if you want to gig with one of these, get fit. // 10
Overall Impression: I originally wanted an LP copy, I almost bought the Vintage V100, then I was looking at the Epiphones, then maybe 25 other guitars, when I accidentally ran into this one. I overlooked it first, as I was so sure about what I thought I wanted, but then luckily I went back to the store to try it. I knew from the first moment on that I found my guitar (or it found me) so I bought it and I'm happy ever since.
I'm not a great player, I play blues and rock, or at least so I claim. I wanted a two-humbucker solid body to add to my Strat copy. I love the way this guitar plays, feels, I very much like the chunky neck, I almost like the way it weights (pretty heavy) and I love the way it sounds. I like that it is in a lot of ways similar to an LP, but it is still different, it has its character of its own, and has got some sex appeal. If this guitar got stolen, I'd be devastated, and would try to get a used one or I'd be searching for another perfect companion.
I sometimes think that I might upgrade it with coil tap pickups, but then I start playing it and I realize that this guitar has its own characteristics which I like. I believe that you should pick guitars for what they are and not try to make them universal tools. A swiss army knife may have a blade and a screwdriver but chefs and mechanics use real knives and tools for a reason. // 10