ORM1 Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 01/15/2014 category: Electric Guitars
Ibanez: ORM1
The Ibanez ORM1 is a signature model for Omar Rodriguez Lopez (of The Mars Volta). Overall it looks like one of the better and more solid guitars I have owned.
 Sound: 7
 Overall Impression: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 6.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.1 
 Users rating:
 5.5 
 Votes:
 16 
reviews (2) pictures (2) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.6
ORM1 Reviewed by: Andy949494, on april 30, 2013
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 130

Purchased from: eBay

Features: The Ibanez ORM1 is a signature model for Omar Rodriguez Lopez (of The Mars Volta). I had never heard of them but there are plenty of YouTube videos... It's a short scale electric Guitar (like a Jaguar or Jet King) and has a significantly smaller body than say a Pacifica 112. However it is fairly heavy being apparently made in Mahogany with a Mahogany neck. It has a fixed bridge and a single double blade pickup. Not entirely sure what it is but it picks up a little more noise than I would expect from a Humbucker. It also only has one volume control (no tone). The quality of finish is really good. Much better than a guitar costing 300 to 400 and mine has a very deep black finish. Similarly the setup is absolutely perfect. // 8

Sound: The guitar has a single loud pickup and only one volume control so customization of the sound has to be done with effects (which is how Omar apparently does it). There seems to be a bit of disagreement as to if this pickup is a single or a hum-bucker. If forced to commit I would say it's probably a humbucker. The pickup is not particularly noisy but can pick up my watch if I hold it nearby. I play mainly clean or warm overdrive (e.g. classic rock) and tend to play through a Blackstar HT1. I do like the power of the pickup - it means that you can set it half way and tweak it if you want to change your tone whilst playing. Through the HT1 it sounds quite good but not as good as I have heard some YouTube videos - I think it probably needs a bit of boosting via pedals. // 6

Action, Fit & Finish: I have had a few mid price guitars (including Yamaha, Steinberger & Gibson) and I can honestly say that this is the nicest finished and best setup. It really does look like a quality guitar (Mine is the 2008 Black Model) and the wood, neck etc are really well made. The whole thing seems really solid whilst the black finish is deep and the pearloid inlays are beautifully done. I think the bridge is a step up from the Gibson Junior type. Possibly the only thing that's a bit strange is the headstock which is an old style shape and the Ibanez writing looks a little strange. It also comes with a real nice Gig Bag. I don't "think" it's real leather but it fits the guitar real well and makes you know that what's inside should be special. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I have read some reports of problems with the nuts on these guitars but I haven't had a problem. Overall it looks like one of the better and more solid guitars I have owned. In particular the wood is very dense and is very unlikely to ding whilst the neck feels strong. Fittings seem high quality and the electrics are simple. I really don't expect any problems. The only thing I can say against it is the very poor positioning of the front strap button (behind the neck) which causes the whole thing to fall forward unless held when played on a strap. I am guessing this is by design of Omar but that is one of those things that is going to have to be fixed as it is just irritating. My RGX sits so much more comfortably at the moment. // 8

Overall Impression: For me the weak point of this guitar is its strap (which is fixable if you don't mind drilling). Otherwise it is an incredibly high quality guitar (even for 300) that could be kept and played as a family heirloom. Its tone isn't too bad and the pickup does go pretty loud so you have the headroom to twiddle. In black I think it is a bit too subtle looking very similar to other guitars (Strats etc) to the layman anyway - in white it's much more showy and I regret not buying one in this colour (although the black is very deep and lustrous so some might like it). Video from YouTube:

// 7

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overall: 8.6
ORM1 Reviewed by: cummingsjoej, on january 15, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: I think I bought this in 2007. Made in Japan. 3-Piece mahogany neck, mahogany body in the offset shape, tortoise guard on both sides of the string path. pearl block inlays, 22 medium frets, Gibraltar II hardtail bridge. One Artcore Humbucker Blade pickup. One volume control, no tone, no switching or coil tapping. Nice and simple. Non-locking tuners but the intonation and tuning stability are good. Excellent gig bag, in fact the best I've ever seen for a stock gig bag coming with a guitar of this price - maybe any price. The bag is stiff and stable, plenty of padding, and it rides very well over the shoulder. // 9

Sound: Sounds great for punk rock and progressive rock. Less suited to classic rock, blues, etc though I can make any guitar work in any style with the right attitude :) YMMV. As it's a single pickup in the bridge position it emphasises highs and high mids over lows and low mids. You need to EQ it with pedals or pre-amps if you want to get anything other than the TMV guitar style. I wish it had richer harmonics but that's a fault of the rail humbucker, can't expect the kind of harmonics you would get from single coils, which are the pickups I generally use. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Nice, tough gig bag as has been noted. I dig the looks. It came set up very well, good action. Very flat radius, which as a Fender guy took a little getting used to. I've been playing it nearly six years now and it's pretty sturdy, except for perhaps the nut - see Reliability & Durability below. Pickup was adjusted perfectly. Ditto for the bridge. Good intonation, very solid tuners.Other than the nut problem (see below), it has held up very well under unusually rough conditions, ie from desert to tropic climes. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I hadn't heard there were problems with the nut (I since have) but in the very first week I was gigging with the guitar the plastic nut broke in two. I had never had a guitar nut break while performing. I was playing with a progressive cumbia band from Mexico City and the tunes required a lot of fierce choppy strumming. But still I thought it was weird. While the Ibanez was with my tech getting a new nut installed, I used a Fender Will Ray Jazz-a-Caster, a guitar I've been playing steadily for the last 10 years, with the same band. And the nut broke! So I broke two nuts on two different guitars in two weeks. So in my case, I blame the music I was playing in that particular musical situation. I compensated afterwards by turning up the guitar volume and trying to hit the chords more softly and never had another problem. // 8

Overall Impression: The main reason I bought the ORM-1 was because it is so light, and with the short-scale neck it it shorter than the average electric, perfect for taking on tours that involve rough travel, changing vehicles often, etc. It has a very tough gig bag, unlike most of the wimpy gig bags that come with low- to mid-priced instruments. Because it's a single pickup in the bridge position, in the rail humbucker stule, the sounds you get straight into an amp are limited. So you need to EQ it with pedals or pre-amps. I can do OK without pedals using pick position and attack. But this guitar was built for multiple effects a la Omar. // 9

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