Price paid: $ 360
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
The sound that comes from this guitar is very impressive. It is very full-bodied for a cutaway and the projection is incredible. I mainly play rock on this guitar and really enjoy picking it up and playing with a friend Who's got a Martin and sounding just as good (for less than half the price). I played it through an amp at the store (which was $800) and it sounded like heaven! I haven't had a chance to play it through my amp at home (an old 80-watt Peavey) but I plugged it into my roommate's sound system for his laptop with a 1/4 inch adaptor and it sounded sweet. The only thing that is annoying me right now is a buzz on all the strings on the 13th fret. It wasn't there when I bought it so I might take it to the local Guitar Center to have it looked at.
Overall Impression — 9
The instant I saw this guitar, I was immediately drawn to it. It is unique in that the sound hole is Diamond shaped as with the abalone inlay in the fretboard. I play mainly rock so this guitar fits well and sounds just as good playing some Howie Day chords as well as an acoustic version of "Crazy Train!"
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will stand up to anything you throw at it, unless you throw yourself. The finish is still mirror-like; the only scratches are small and can be polished away with a little time and effort. I haven't used the strap buttons because I mainly play sitting down but I have noticed the electronics can take a beating and still keep on ticking. This guitar would be the only acoustic I would bring to a gig, without reservation.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The factory set-up was near perfect. The action is low and the resistance of the strings is so small that you can play for hours before the strings start to bite your fingertips. The only flaw to this guitar was a small but rather deep scratch in the finish above the strings. This was undoubtedly caused but some overzealous playing by a previous "customer" at the store. However, the scratch was minimized with some polish and elbow grease.
Features — 9
Manufactured in 2006 in China, this Ibanez features a solid spruce top with mahogany back, sides and neck as well as a rosewood bridge and fretboard. With 21 frets set in a thin neck featuring Diamond-shaped abalone inlay. It is a small-profile acoustic-electric that has a Fishman Sonicore Pickup with an Ibanez AEQ-SST Shape Shifter Preamp that are both passive. The preamp, in addition to having an onboard tuner, offers controls for bass, mid, and treble, in addition to "shape" which adjusts the richness of the sound. The high-gloss black finish that this guitar comes in is gorgeous but like all other black things requires constant polishing to keep it looking it's best (a.k.a. no fingerprints). The cutaway body also allows for greater access to the higher frets specifically 11 and up. It comes standard with black die-cast Ibanez tuners that so far keep it well tuned. Nothing came included but I bought a hard case and the sales rep threw in a few sets of extra stings as well as some guitar polish. I also bought the 2 year warranty because I am living in college dorms and I don't trust people.