swcblues, on june 28, 2011 8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Price paid: C$ 800
Purchased from: MusicPro
Features: I got picked an ARZ800 up new a couple of months ago and have run it through the stylistic ringer since then. It's not a Les Paul ripoff as some say, because Ibanez got sued a couple decades back by Gibson for producing too close a copy. This is actually a PRS ripoff, as they are attacking ESP's market share with this guitar.
It's a 25" (PRS) scale mahogany set neck with a 12" radius rosewood fretboard and medium-jumbo frets. There are no inlaid markers on the fretboard, but the side binding has Dot inlay to help with playing position. It's probably one of the most playable necks I've had the pleasure to enjoy, and it keeps getting more comfortable as I continue to use it.
The body is also mahogany with a thinly laminated quilt maple top. I chose to go with the translucent red finish, as of the two in the store, the quilting on the red was better figured than the black, although both were beautiful. It's a single cutaway carved top guitar, which is where people get "Les Paul ripoff," but the size feels closer to a Nighthawk and it's noticeably lighter.
The Bridge is a nicely adjustable tune-o-matic style "Tight-Tune"(hardtail, unlike what an idiot posted) and is very comfortable for palming.
The pickups are active humbucking EMGs (60/81 combo), which do have a tendency to be growly, but with the tone knob in the 8-10 range are very articulate, and not nearly as HOT as people seem to be afraid of. They're operated with a simple 3 way switch, master volume, and master tone. There is no coil tap to let them act as single coils (hence only 3 Switch positions).
The guitar does not come with any accessories included. I hated that it didn't come with a hard case, but it's pointless to trust even a moderately expensive guitar to a gig bag, and a hard case would have definitely driven up the price.
The tuning machines are the one weak point of the guitar. They're very touchy and (while quite usable) don't hold their tuning as well as the Grover heads on my other guitars. A higher gear ratio would have been nice. // 9
Sound: I play across the middle range of the stylistic spectrum: Heavier modern rock (short of metal) through softer semi-acoustic styles and fingerpicking. Most of the playing I do is in church related events.
I run direct into the PA system through Line 6 PODFarm software for amp and effect modeling. It has built in gating, but even with it off, I've never noticed much in the way of noise. The neck pickup is capable of a lot of warmth and doesn't tend to mud the way I've found Strat style single coil does. The Bridge pickup has a lot of bite and really cuts through a mix. I've found that anything less then a 5 on the tone loses so much high end as to be unusable for me, though, and I keep it between 8 and 10.
It sounds fantastic through almost any emulated amp combo I put it through. While it excels in heavier/harder styles, there's nothing that it's incapable of doing. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: As I've found on most Ibanez guitars, the factory setup was sorely lacking. The strings that come with it are too light for what it is, the intonation was barely close, and the low E buzzes like crazy. The buzz doesn't really change the plugged-in sound, but I judge the base quality of an electric on how it sounds acoustically, so that's a negative for me. The action and pickup adjustment was fine from the factory, but could be improved with some tweaking.
Everything is fit and finished wonderfully and the craftsmanship was excellent with no noticeable flaws.
The body finish is worth a special mention, as it's gorgeous. It ranges from a deep crimson/wine with subtle quilting in low light to a bright, deep red in bright light. It's incredibly eye catching and will get a lot of attention anywhere you play. // 8
Reliability & Durability: Everything seems solid and well made. At this price point I wouldn't expect anything less. // 10
Overall Impression: I'm far from a fantastic guitar player, but I've been playing at a moderate level for about 15 years. I've always played instruments at the mid-high level price range, and this hangs with any of them. I couldn't be happier with this guitar for the price I paid for it, and without price as a consideration, I would still have chosen this over anything else in the (very well stocked) store, short of a beautiful Les Paul Studio sitting in at around $2,200.
I wish it had come with a case, but I can't complain too much given the bang for the buck already in this guitar.
In the other sections I rated on a scale of useless to ideal. My "Overall" rating is based on what you get for what you pay, and this isn't anything short of a 10 in that regard! // 10
slashermaster, on april 12, 2011 3 of 19 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 809
Features: This is a brand new guitar that I found shopping for a birthday present for my friend, and yes it is a Les Pauls reproduction, something not very new to guitar comanies in general but definetly new to Ibanez. My model is Chinese made and has a pretty legit finish that is surprisingly hard to leave fingerprints on. This guitar has 25 medium frets and unfortunately needs a 9V battery. It has only one volume and one tone with a three position Switch (I swear there is some sort of conspiracy going on between guitar and bass companies to make five position swithces harder to find nowadays). // 6
Sound: This guitar sounded very metal and you can't exactly change that with one tone and three way switch, so if you need a blues or jazz guitar I'm telling you now; LOOK AWAY. I used it with a Marshall Vintage modern which is made for a very 70's hard rock sound, like KISS style. Yes it definetly satisfies my musical tastes but even when very precisely tuned I couldn't help but hear a flappy sound on the low E. Yes this guitar was undoubtedley made for high string play. // 6
Action, Fit & Finish: I loved the Tight-Tune tailpiece of the guitar, I played it for 30 minutes straight filled with bends whammy bars etc, and it was still in tune. I felt pretty good oving up and down the neck pulling off one riff after another. The EMG pickups are awesome. I'm starting to think EMG is an abbreviation for Eh! Man its Great!. // 10
Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definetly last a couple shows, maybe even a tour. I personally would not play with it live until I changed that E string. Also don't forget that this is another les pauls immitation that also includes the weight. Actually it's a little lighter than a real Les Pauls, but I would definetly pick the later for sound quality. I'm really picky with guitars so if I played live this would be my 2nd or 3rd back up but I really like it don't get me wrong. // 7
Overall Impression: Well, if you are a fan of heavy gain and lots of overdrive this just might be the guitar for you. The one thing I couldn't understand was why they made a metal sounding guitar look so classical rock-ish, but it still looks beautiful. Also once agin, change the low E string. It also has a pretty interesting looking head. Also I'm a little ticked off that they didn't have a lot of sound possibilities. // 8
panixgr, on october 05, 2012 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 700
Purchased from: Trimmis Greece
Features: It is China made, 24th frets, Mahogany/maple top body, mahogany/maple net, rosewood fretboard. 25' scale, deep red finish, tight-tune Ibanez bridge and tailpiece (read further about it). It has active EMG pups (81/60 combo), 1 volume, 1 tone, 3-way switch. // 9
Sound: This is the strongest point. It sounds fantastic both on cleans and on gain. Pups are absolutely noiseless, in regard to the noiseless-est passives I can think of. I am using the guitar via a Boss ME-25 multi-effect pedal. (sounds fantastic). In the middle switch position, and tone tuned in 5, it has a very good classic jazz sound. Also very bluesy as well. I can play ethno/jazz or even classic blues (the kind of ZZ Top "Blue Jeans Blues", or Peter Green "Slabo Day") and it sounds great. Of course with the pups lifted up closer to the strings, I can do the job it is marketed at doing: drop-tune nu-metal, post-hardcore riffs, slipknot, disturbed, SOAD kind of sound. Solo-wise, the EMG 81 clearly excels. Same for EMG60 in the neck.
Keep in mind, tho, that these are not the loudest pups around. Both my DiMarzio Seymour Duncan and the Bill Lawrence l500 are louder than the EMG's. Actually there are a lot of passives out there hotter than the said EMGs, but the EMGs just sound... Better! And because they are Ultra quiet, one can play with the gain as much as he/she wants. Also the sustain is very good. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The setup was as described by the book. 1.5mm action at 12fret high-E, 2.0mm action at 12th fret low-E, about 0.25mm of relief. Pups were very low, tho, taking into account that those EMGs need to be as close to the strings as possible. I adjusted the action (finally, read further for the whole story) at about 1.2mm and 1.8mm at 12th fret, high and low E respectively.
There was a major flaw tho. The tailpiece was just installed wrong. Actually the problem is that the hole for the bass-side bushing of the tailpiece was so loose that the bushing slipped in and out without *any* resistance. A major problem. The guitar because of this was buzzing at the start BADLY, especially in the low-E. Down tuning was just impossible. I tried 0.011s, 0.12s (with standard tuning) and the thigh would not just stop buzzing. So, I decided to return this and get a new replacement guitar.
The new one was just fine. Everything correct. But the agony for me was about 1 month. Also the sales people were far from easy at doing the exchange, no matter that it was their product's fault. I didn't like their service, had to threaten them legally, etc... Ibanez must improve both its quality and the services. Letting defective units out of the factory is just... Bad. // 5
Reliability & Durability: The guitar seems pretty solid. The only weak point might be the fretboard binding, although I didn't have to be there in the first place. Also the Chinese rosewood in the fretboard came more than dry. But I will not deal with this, after the buzzing nightmares I went through. (I think maybe lemon oil would make frets loose, etc...) Coming from a Fender Strat camp, this guitar might not outstand as the benchmark for reliability, but it feels more robust than most Epi's or even Gibson studios I have played. // 8
Overall Impression: I play nearly everything, from Balkan jazz, ethno, blues, rock, heavy metal, nu-metal, post-hardcore, thrash, you name it! I have been playing since 1981. Before getting this product, I wish I was warned about the tailpiece problem. If it was stolen, I would buy this again (after thorough inspection). Now as it is, I love everything about it. I hated the previous one with the problematic tailpiece. My favorite feature is the sound/wood and the pups. Also it is very light weight, which makes it nearly un-noticeable that you have it on your shoulders! I could compare it with EpiLP's and Gibson LP Studio's, and I think it can easily outperform both. // 9