Purchased from: Amazon
Features — 8
- 7 String A/E
- Made in China in 2013
- 20 Frets on a Mahogany/Rosewood neck and board combo
- Back and sides are maple with a Flame maple top
- Transparent Back Burst finish
- AEL Body is median in size to a Dreadnought/Super Jumbo
- Compensated Nut Saddle
- 4-band EQ on the Ibanez SST Pre-amp w/ Tuner
It came with a spare bridge pin and saddle (Though the spare saddle is for a 6-string acoustic, therefore does no good for you. I've asked Ibanez about getting a spare twice, and not gotten a response yet [3 weeks].)
Sound — 8
Very full-bodied sound unplugged, as you would expect with such a large body. That low-B string gives a good rumble to the low end. It's a decently bright guitar when just sitting around playing it; has a nice top end sparkle to it. Plugged in, you can get this thing as fat or thin sounding as you'd like with the shapeshifter preamp, as with all of their acoustic-electric guitars. It's a good preamp with a Fishman Sonicore piezo pickup under the saddle. Has the typical XLR and 1/4" outputs for an Ibanez A/E guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Action: Out of the box, this guitar wasn't the nicest playing acoustic I've gotten. I needed to shave close to 3/16" off of the saddle to get the action right after the 10th-12th fret area. The guitar shipped with the truss far too tight, causing a back-bow around the 7th fret. The nut needed to be filed down slightly on the lower strings (especially the B), due to the heavier strings not sitting in the nut properly, instead, sitting on top. That created some extra sharpness to the lower frets, which made chords sound pretty muddled.
Finish: A couple small finish blemishes, but only noticeable when you are really looking for them. The frets are dressed perfectly, and all the binding is beautiful. The transparent blackburst is a thing of beauty. It pops just right in the right lighting, but is near impossible to see in low-light or back-lit conditions.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar feels extremely sturdy in your hands. I would take this out as my only acoustic with no fears whatsoever. I've never once had an acoustic-electric guitar crap out on me due to electronics. Only ever due to batteries. So I can't see that being an issue here either. I've had it about a month now, and it's had a couple of drops and knockdowns due to my pets, and all is well. The finish still looks great, and nothing broke. That said, having had it only a month, I can't really give it more than an 8.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar suits my acoustic aspect perfectly. Gives me a nice full-bodied sound with some extra low-end to match my baritone voice. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat if something were to happen to this one. This is the first readily available 7-string acoustic guitar on the market, and they really nailed it. If you're not afraid of doing your own set-up, I'd highly recommend buying this thing without a second thought. If you are afraid of said set-up however, make sure you're ready to spend a little extra on that to get it playing right.
The only issue I've had, as I mentioned earlier, is the complete lack of support Ibanez has offered. You don't ship a guitar with a replacement part that doesn't fit it, then ignore a customer's request to get that remedied, twice. Shaving a saddle down, with no backup available to buy, is pretty nerve-wracking. One extra pass on the sandpaper and you're buzzing out. But other than that, I absolutely love this thing. I haven't gone a day without playing it for an hour or two since I've gotten it. It's my first 7 string guitar I've owned, and I love the extra low end.