Price paid: $ 500
Sound — 8
The sound of the neck pickup is very good and I receive compliments on it all the time. With 12-gauge flatwound strings it is very easy to get the classic 50s and 60s jazzbox tone. Unfortunately the bridge pickup, while still useable, doesn't satisfy me 100%. It's weaker and seems to kill off all the natural warmth of the guitar. I've read some say this guitar can rock out. I don't really agree. Although in addition to being my go-to jazz axe it's my backup rock axe (just cause I don't want to buy another solidbody)so I've tried it out with gain. It can handle it as long as you know how to deal with a hollowbody guitar's amazing talent for feeding back, but it won't ever Shine in that area. Any hollowbody in my opinion has this shrill high end with distortion while also not really hitting those nice treble pitches well. However, if you put roundwound strings you can get a really nice blues tone, if mellow blues is your thing. If you want Hendrix or SRV blues, get a solidbody. The pickups on this aren't hot enough and it doesn't have enough high end. The low end on the other hand makes it so I have to turn the bass on my Fender amp all the way off (typical of a jazzbox). But on all settings it is very clean sounding, very little hum
Overall Impression — 9
Overall this is a keeper and probably the best deal by far in its category. But I urge those interested to be really clear on what they want it for. I'm more a rock/blues player that has been playing jazz on the side for a couple of years. When I bought it I expected to be able to do more with it, but now I really just consider it a jazz axe and you should too. If you play only jazz and mellow blues this is the perfect instrument. But if you expect it to be a jack of all trades, think again. It really isn't very versitile. And beware of the feedback.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Seems really solid, but the bridge kinda bugs me because the saddle adjusting screws got really tight last time I set the intonation. Probably this is just lack of WD40 but I might have to change out this bridge at some point. But any issue it might have I'm pretty sure I can consider it a Standard maintenance thing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The construction of this guitar is virtually flawless and the action can be set extremely low without buzzing. Very good job Ibanez. The only criticism I have is it looks a bit cheap, for lack of a better word. The finish seems plasticy and the hardware isn't the finest. But everything works and amazingly, the toy-like tuners really hold tuning excellent. Really can't ask for more in this price range and it is light years ahead of an Epiphone.
Features — 10
Made in China, it's a 22-fret full hollowbody made of laminated maple with a mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard. Two covered HBs. Tune-o-matic saddle with an ebony bridge and trapeze tailpiece. Basically your Standard Gibson-style jazzbox. Box smaller than an ES-175.