Price paid: $ 1200
Purchased from: Brent's Music
Sound — 7
The guitar suits my style of playing but more so for me pleases my ear and eye. Normally I plug straight into a board so I can play along with whatever music type I want. The "Aura" system in basically useless using headphones (Sony MDR-V900). Using the aura w/headphones produces a terrible tinny sound, luckily all I have to do is use the slider control for pickup only. I have played the guitar through a Crate "Gunnison" acoustic amp with great results. This combination was made even better by adding a Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer. Sound combinations are endless by using the edit switch to fine tune a particular sound.
Overall Impression — 9
The EP is a pleasure to play. It's by far the best Guitar I own. I traded my Guild Songbird in to purchase the Ibanez and I have never regretted doing so. I also own a old Yamaha FG430. If the EP9 were lost or stolen I would be ill. I am in love with it's look, feel and sound. It's gonna be with me till the end.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I would hesitate to use this guitar for Live playing only because it's too good looking to risk damage. The guitar is well built and I excpect over time will prove to be a winner. All hardware is of high quality. I am curious to find out how the finish handles the aging process. I don't think the reliability of the Fishman components are cause for concern.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Set-up from the factory/dealer fell short of perfect. Action on the guitar was quite high but easily corrected. Fit and Finish are about what I excpected. For me it was truly love at first sight and I never grow bored with it's looks. One sore spot I did have was the lack of a owners manual for the aura. Repeated request's to the dealer produced little more than aggravation. One phone call by me to Fishman resulted in a manual within a couple of days
Features — 8
Manufactured, 2006 in China this Steve Vai signature model is a follow up to the original EP7. It features a mahogany neck with 25 1/2-inch rosewood finger board that has a Pearloid Tree Of Life inlay that traverses it's length. Solid mahogany back and sides and Engelmann spruce for the top. It has a low gloss "root beer" finish. I guess it's a grand Concert body style with a cutaway. The sound hole is oval and ringed by a heiroglyphic rosette. It incorporates a Fishman Acoustic Matrix undersaddle pickup in conjunction with a Fishman Aura Acoustic Imaging Blender System w/on-board tuner. Controls include 3-Band EQ, on-board tuner, anti feed-back, blender (aura/pickup), image select, edit, phase and volume. Satin Gold Grover tuners are used and look great against the black headstock which is inlayed with Abalone. Case was not included in purchase price.