Price paid: $ 320
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
The sound is quite versatile. Sounds great plugged in through various amps. My main practice amp with this guitar is the Ibanez TBX15R. Together they produce some nice tones. Though the pickups can be a little muddy at times, and occasionally a tiny bit of feedback. Nothing unpleasant though. I play a large variety of styles, and this fits most of them fairly well. I would not recommend it as a Metal Machine, as higher fret access is a little problematic, especially for an intermediate player like myself. But if you don't spend a lot of time flying around above the 18-19 fret it should be no problem. Unplugged it does fairly well. A bright slightly metallic tone, very jazzy. It definitely projects mush better unplugged than the Dot Studio I played around with in the same price range.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall this is another great value from Ibanez. I find that as I add guitars to my collection I am becoming a fan of Ibanez, the offer great value for price, and in this guitar I think they have done that again. While I have not fallen in love with this guitar as I have with my EW20ASENT, I would likely purchase this one again if I lost it. As a side note, as friend of mine purchased one the same week as I did, his had the Bigsby style tremolo, which has been a little more problematic, as the tremolo with a lot of use will allow the non fixed bridge to float on the guitar a bit and could cause some tuning intonation issues, particularly with the drop tunings. So again I would say not the right choice for a metal machine doing dive bombs and upper fret craziness. But then again if that's your thing why would you be looking at semi hollow (this is actually more a full hollow)a jazz box. In summary: this guitar did not/does not take my breathe away like the Ibanez EW20ASENT acoustic did. But overall a great semi for the price.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have not done any live playing or subjected this guitar to more than just a months practice type environment. Like the other Ibanez I own it seems well constructed (especially for the price. The finish has held up well. I am considering removing the pick guard though. It seems to generate a little noise/vibration during heavy play, and I image acoustically this guitar will resonate better without it. The pick guard is not snug and is the only construction part I am not impressed with. Which is a shame because I love the looks of it. I feel that with the beautiful finish the pick guard is kinda like putting cheap hubcaps over a nice set of rims.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The finish on this is where this guitar shines (figuratively and literally) I have the Red sunburst version and it is spectacular. Very nice finish. The Frets I suspect are "jumbo" and with the loose bridge and tensioner setup it requires the action to be a little higher than I prefer from the factory. A luthier can soon set this up for anyones preference(which I recommend). I would not recommend this for a first guitar purchase unless the buyer has a knowledgeable or experienced player available to them. As the non fixed bridge/saddle can be require some setup and adjustment. While I find it easy to maintain at time of string change and basic setup. I think a true beginner may find this a little more work than with say a Standard acoustic. I have owned in a little about six weeks now, and still have not noticed any flaws in construction. I can see that if/when the tuners wear down, I would probably upgrade them. And I enjoy this guitar enough that I will do some upgrading/customizing.
Features — 8
Basic entry level semi-hollow. Twin humbuckers. Separate tone and volume controls for each pickup. 2007 Chinese made. These are all pretty much the same from the factory with the exception that some come with the Bigsby type tremolo. 3-way selector switch, and separate volume and tone controls for each pickup. No accessories.