Price paid: $ 255
Purchased from: GC
Sound — 9
Used to own a Taylor dread-sold it after about a year. Don't get me wrong, Taylor's sound great, play great, and are made great. Just not my style: too loud acoustically, too boomy and in-your-face, inadequate preamp controls. Seems like everyone who doesn't like the Ibanez unplugged thinks the dread sound is the way an Acoustic should sound. Personally, I like something a little more personal. And through my tube amp, it's the best sounding, most versatile A/E I've ever played. Every control on the preamp brings something new to the table. Unplugged it's still pretty good.
Overall Impression — 9
Play rock, punk, alt, emo. Does it all from Stones to Shinedown, Green Day to Puddle of Mudd. Probably would suck for bluegrass and folk, but that's what dreadnoughts are for. Only Acoustic I own or need, but have several electrics, couple of tube amps, buncha pedals. Would replace it in a heartbeat if lost or stolen. Very comfortable to play either standing or sitting. Hated the tuners, loved the preamp, including the built-in tuner. Not a beginner or an expert, but I've played a lot of guitars. This one's a keeper.
Reliability & Durability — 7
While the laminated woods used might reduce the resonance and volume, they make it MUCH stronger than solid wood. I make furniture-laminate is way more stable in a sheet than solid. Like I said, the tuners are probably the cheapest I have ever seen. Fortunately, I had a spare set hanging around that fit without any drilling and made the tuning much more consistant. Changed the strap buttons to StrapLocks 'cause that's what I use, but the originals seemed good enough. Might put a clear pickguard on to protect the kinda thin finish. Feels light, but strong.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Great neck: straight, thin, narrow; think electric. Set up well even off the GC wall with low action, very little relief and almost no string buzz. Strung with D'Addario EXP 12's and played well, but I've since changed to 11's. A few finish overruns onto the neck binding, but overall a beautifully executed instrument. Really like the little trim features: abalone rosette and headstock inlay, cream-colored binding, and pearl fretboard dots. Had to rub some of the fingerboard stain off with conditioner-it was kind of cheap looking.
Features — 8
According to the serial number, made after 2008. Since I just bought it, I'm gonna figure this year. Made in China (what isn't?). Ibanez says the wood is laminated and close inspection bears this out. Makes it almost impervious to humidity changes. Great Fishman electronics with TMB EQ, phase switch, adjustable notch filter, and a built-in tuner that's almost as accurate as my pedal. Tuning machines are total crap; changed them out immediately. One big plus is having upgraded nut and saddle materials to a Tusq-like hard phenolic. Probably the best feature of this guitar is its body design-roughly a Classical body style and size, except only a little over 3 inches deep. This all by itself makes it infinitely easier to play than a dread.