Price paid: $ 480
Purchased from: local music shop
Sound — 10
This guitar, like any hollow or semi-hollow, is best at delivering warm, bluesy tones it is, after all, traditionally a jazz or blues guitar. The neck pickup is deliciously warm, while the bridge is a bit more trebly (nothing like a Strat, of course but who would mistake this guitar for a Strat anyway?) I play into a Fender Blues Jr., a small all-tube amp; the clean sound is beautiful and hearty, good for BB King or the like; and a little bit of natural overdrive makes the tone absolutely Shine for soloing (which this guitar can do just fine). This guitar can hold up for a wide variety of styles, but will probably do best for blues or Vintage Rock (don't try using it for punk, though like I said, this isn't a Strat). It is hollow, so feedback can be a problem if you're not careful, but spend some time with it and you'll be able to figure out what it can and can't do.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a nice guitar, especially for the price; Ibanez never ceases to amaze me, making premium-quality instruments for exceptionally low prices. A guitar like this from a rival company (like Epiphone) would cost something like 150 dollar more. If Ibanez is just looking to gain a loyal following well, they've certainly suceeded in me. If this guitar were lost I would certainly replace it with the same one.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This is a sturdy instrument, perfectly dependable. The guitar is very well-made, with no glaring flaws, which is kind of remarkable for this kind of price. The strap knobs are bigger than usual and so probably adequate, though I put a nice pair of strap locks on anyway. The strap knobs are bigger than usual and so probably adequate, though I put a nice pair of strap locks on anyway.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
See above: the factory set-up (or shop set-up) was just fine, but the action and intonation can be easily adjusted. The pickups were set up well, and are pretty nice for the price; sometime in the future I will probably replace them, since pickups are the easiest improvement to make on a guitar, but for the time being they're just fine. The finish is beautiful, certainly in keeping with the Vintage character of the instrument.
Features — 10
Mine is a 2003 model, brown, made in China. This is a thin hollowbody, about 1.5 to 2 inches deep, single cutaway with f-holes on either side; it's equipped with 2 high-impedance humbuckers, with a 3-way Switch and tone and volume for each pickup (knobs are perfectly fine, but a little lacking in character compared to an otherwise beautiful guitar). The neck is fast and thin; joins the body at the 14th frets; 22 total frets. The neck has pearl inlays behind every other fret, which aren't BAD looking but not especially pleasing either. Also notable is the Bigsby-style vibrato bridge, which distinguishes this from the AFS75 and is a lot of fun to play with (though the mechanism doesn't allow notes to be bent up as far as solid-body tremolos). Of course, it may put light-gauge strings out of tune, but any Bigsby-style will do that, so it's no design flaw. The guitar also has a floating adjustible bridge (meaning the bridge isn't connected to the body at all, and each string length can be fine-tuned separately), allowing you to set the intonation yourself, which I like. The bridge is also Tune-o-Matic style, meaning you can adjust the height, so you can set the action yourself if that's your preference. So basically, all this adjustibility means that if the factory setup is inadequate for you (in terms of intonation and action), it can easily be fixed to exactly your demands.