Price paid: A$ 899
Features: This Guitar was made march 2011, in Indonesia. It has a 24 fret rosewood fretboard, jumbo frets, 5pce maple neck, on a solid Superstrat-style basswood body in gloss black. Hardware wise, it has an Ibanez Edge Zero II Bridge (Floyd style), and Ibanez CAP-VM passive pickups in Hum-sing-hum configuration, run through a five way switch. Two knobs are provided, tone and volume. Tuners are very smooth Ibanez items. Comes packed in a light but solid fitted Ibanez case, with a handy little tool that fits all the screws, bolts and allen keys on the guitar. // 9
Sound: I play metal and classic rock, and use this guitar through either a Roland Cube 20XL, or a Hiwatt G100R with (or without) Boss effects. This guitar suits my style perfectly. The pickups provided are considerably better than the basic Ibanez RG pickups, with good output and varied tones from all Switch positions. I feel guilty for not using the great clean tone of the single coil more often, and the Bridge pickup offers some dry, searing rhythm sounds. The neck humbucker plays well for a fuller tone. There is also plenty of variation across the range of the tone knob. My only complaint here is some noise when switching between pickups, however this is becoming less apparrent as it wears in. There is plenty of sustain to play with, too. If this guitar had a set of DiMarzio pickups or similar it would sound better, but at this price point, the factory equipment is pleasantly surprising. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: Still using factory setup 2 months later, very happy. Takes days to get out of tune, even with massive whammy abuse. This is partly due, I think, to the two Titanium rods in the neck, which is even thinner than Ibanez Wizard II. This is great for my tiny carney fingers, as I have no reach issues on this neck. The Action is as low as anything I have owned, and I experience no fret buzz (except that which I bring upon myself when the talent runs out). The Bridge is a nice touch, taking much of the heartache out of owning a Floyd(ish) trem, by allowing you to lock it in place or release it for full floating action, and easily adjust spring tension. This is achieved through witchcraft, as far as I can tell, but it works. Fit and finish is almost flawless, barring some sawdust left around the truss-rod opening, and a little red line on the back of the headstock where the end of the finish must have been marked at the factory. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This guitar is, quite possibly, bulletproof. It travels six hours a week on public transport, gets played drunk regularly, and is owned by the clumsiest guitarist alive. Hardware is all solid, however only time will tell if it will stay that way. Strap buttons are like rocks, and I have not marked the finish yet, despite efforts. If I played without a backup, this is the guitar I would do it with, however I don't think the trem is likely to last as long as Ibanez's more expensive Edge Zero. // 9
Overall Impression: This guitar seems to Bridge a massive gap in price vs. Capability that existed in Ibanez's range, and is an excellent metal guitar. It also has enough tonal variability to allow me to dabble in any other styles that might strike my fancy. To play, it is by far the best feeling guitar I have owned, out of other Ibanez, a BC Rich and a Jackson (although the Jackson has EMG active pickups, which do sound better and are louder). I would buy this guitar again in a heartbeat, if, God forbid, it was stolen.
For my money, the sorcerous Edge Zero II has to be the best aspect of this guitar, followed closely by the silky, slender neck, bang for buck pickups, and pure sex looks. I do wish those pickups were even better, however as good as they are, at my skill level, they aren't worth changing. All in all, this is a great guitar for any player that wants something a bit better than the somewhat pedestrian Ibanez RG3xx series, or ESP LTDs, without the paying the massive premium of going up to a japanese built model. This guitar is probably the closest that I will get in the forseeable future. // 9