Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Skips Music
Sound — 8
The first thing I changed when I got the chance with this guitar was the strings. The factory strings created an odd effect while playing not plugged in, though I must admit, it's electronic performance was impressive and sharp. I put Elixir Polyweb heavy strings on it, and the difference is night and day. It creates an original tone, bright and bassy, with not much midrange. Great for blues. When plugged in, the tone I recieved with the EQ set at standard reminded me of the intro to "Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi, or "Sing for the moment" by Aerosmith. Also reminded me of some performances by Tenacious D. The tone, while plugged in, sounds like a much more expensive guitar. Minor distortion is even possible without feeding back. However, while playing acoustically, the tone is quiet and slightly cheap sounding, even with the 20$ Elixir strings. I'm not saying the tone is bad, I'm saying that, in comparison to it's electric performance, the acoustic quality is lacking.
Overall Impression — 7
I loved the guitar for the first 6 or 7 months that I had it. But the past few months, with my skills steadily increasing and my tastes becoming more defined, the guitar is beginning to get on my nerves. The frets are uncomfortably high for me, making progressive chord-sliding impossible, it's too quiet, and the tone isn't exactly what I'm looking for. In conclusion, the guitar is fantastic for beginners or as a backup guitar, but don't plan on it being your only acoustic guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I've had this guitar for a year and It has gone through a lot with me, I took it to highschool with me everyday. The on-board tuner doesn't work anymore, and the guitar no longer functions while plugged in. But this is due to me abusing it most likely; if the guitar sat in a basement for a year, it would work. You just have to take care of it, and be careful. Accidentally drop it from a few feet and the guitar's electronics will not funcion anymore. However, the finish looks as it did the first day, and still beautiful. I would not use this guitar without a backup, but rather this WOULD be my backup guitar. Once again; this guitar is very fragile. Treat it well and it will treat you likewise.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The beautiful and even stunning Ash finish on the body is what caught my eye in the shop in the first place (it was my first guitar). I thought it was a several thousand dollar guitar at first. Then I saw the price tag, and played it. The strings were not satisfactory, I believe it has something to do with the Ash body, but that is easily changed. The tuner helps beginniers but is not entirely accurate. The nut is very cheap plastic, and does not form to fit smaller strings well.
Features — 8
I bought this guitar in March of last year. Feature-wise from Ibanez, this guitar is a chip off the old block. You get what you pay for. And at the price this guitar is set at, you definitely get your moneys worth. With it's ~300$ price tag, it lies at the top end of the grid of the starter guitar spectrum from Ibanez. 21 frets. Ash body (odd for an acoustic, yes. But the sound resulting is original). Cutaway body. Active pickup. Built-in tuner. Came with a case.