Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: EBay
Features: Made in 2000, at the Fujigen, Japan shop. 22 Frets, original wizard neck, cream'ish colored vinyl bindings on the neck only, Rosewood fingerboard 3 piece maple/bubinga neck, Jumbo frets. It's a mahogany body, with a bubinga top. It's a lightly stained bubinga top, with transparent finish. The body style is of course the S-series body style. The bridge is a Ibanez-licensed Floyd Rose Lo-Pro Edge tremolo system (in my opinion the finest they've ever made. Err I've ever played) It had passive Quantum 1 & 2 pickups in it, but those weren't quite nice enough. So I installed a much hotter Kramer quad-rail knock off in the bridge, and a Bill Lawrence XL500 Bridge pup in the neck position. Standard volume knob/tone knob, 5 way selector, running in series and one parallel setting. The pickup topography is H-H, two humbuckers. The tuners are very nice, I think they may be gotoh, but it has a locking nut. I got the case with it, the tremelo, aaaaaand. That was it. No tools, etc. (EBay) // 9
Sound: This suit's my style rather well, I play mostly metal and classical-style guitar. The guitar's extremely resonant due to quality woods, and the hollow intonation cavity. Everyone with any common sense or awareness in regards to guitars knows that Ibanez are the best-built, mass-distributed guitars for. Virtually any style, especially at their price. If you paid 3 times as much as this cost when it was originally bought for a Gibson, you'd still get an inferior guitar. I play through a few multi-effects processors, and various effects looped in, to a digital power amp intended for movie theater surround sound, to multiple JBL Studio monitors.
The guitar always sounds as good as it possibly could, as long as the player is worthy. For the most part, it's tone is suprisely high-end for mahogany (high frequency, that is). It's well rounded as far as EQ goes, but it is on the higher end, it's designed for metal. Pinch harmonics ring out due to this.
As I said, pinch harmonics are a breeze, partially due to my bridge pickup. The neck pickup is, of course, bassier and duller, but it definitely sounds excellent as well. The Lo-Pro Edge is probably the best sustaining Floyd Rose trem, if not the zero resistance trem's they've been making. But the ZR trem's function as a vibrato is definitely not as nice. Overall this guitar sounds excellent. I've actually never found a better one in a store, ever, especially for metal. Don't get me wrong though, this thing sounds excellent either way. It's just not a fat-neck resonator, or puny little Fender. So it can't emulate those sounds. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The lo-pro edge on it actually sit's a little higher than I'm used to. As in the area it's affixed to is slightly higher than I used to like. Now I've actually come to appreciate it. It allows me to loosen the strings by loosening the intonation plate, which creates better sustain, and more exaggerative bends. It feels like my Jackson did when the trem was completely loosened. Which is good, cause it was a stiff little bastard. The pickups that came with it were the best stock pickups I've ever heard... But they were still trash. They sounded about like an EMG 81/85. Which is by slightly too weak for my taste. I wouldn't say there are any flaws with this guitar, after I've rewired it. However, due to the fact that my bridge pickup is a double humbucker and not a normal humbucker, the 5th selector Switch position is now a ground. ie, it's essentially a killswitch that isn't very fun to use. I don't mind that at all though, I can still get series bridge, series neck, series both, parallel both. I wouldn't want any other path arrangements.
Did I mention that it looks beautiful? No dots on the frets, man that's nice looking, lol. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I'd say it's very durable. But it IS any s-series, so it's very thin. I feel like I could easily break it, but it's sustained zero-wear and tear after me totting it all around town to play with various people/groups. Nothing on it seems to be getting damaged. No rust, no warping, no cracks, finish is still virtually perfect on the front. I'd use it in a gig without a backup. In fact, I can barely stand to play on my backup, cause this thing's so nice. // 9
Overall Impression: I mostly play Metal/classical style guitar, this thing is absolutely immaculate for my playing style. I would want it to be 24 fret, but. Somehow I've found it to be more comfortable playing on a 22, and I rarely find myself wishing there were two extra frets. I've been playing guitar at least 8 hours a day for the last year and a half semi-professionally. Before that I'd only tinkered with guitar for a short while as a child. I've played extensively on a Gibson Explorer, a lot of Les Pauls, a few Fender-styled guitars. They all suck by comparison. Very badly. When I played on my first Ibanez, I literally felt as if I had orgasmed. I've never found any guitar comparable to that of finer Ibanez guitars. Or even the cheap ones for that matter. I do not regret owning this guitar in any way at all, I will never sell it. If it were to be stolen, it wouldn't be easily replaced, and I would murder whoever did it. I'd at least castrate someone who thought about it. I will reiterate, it's difficult to compare this guitar to other guitars, the only ones I consider to be comparable are other Ibanez's. Jacksons are trash, Gibsons = trash, Schecter. Trash, ESP = trash, I think it goes without saying that Fenders are trash. I played a fernandez that was moderately nice once. My friend's 80's Kramer is almost as nice, but it's trem, headstock angle, and frets don't quite cut it. That says alot, given that his Kramer was essentially the definitive metal guitar during a period of time when metal guitars were actually really popular.
If you find one of these guitars on EBay, floating around, and it's not damaged, and you like owning excellent-sounding guitars. I'd suggest you jump on it. I'm glad I did. // 10