Price paid: $ 722
Purchased from: Allans Music
Sound — 8
I bought this guitar specifically for Jazz, so of course mostly using the neck pick up and the tone rolled all the way back, sounds absolutely fantastic through "most" amps, which is good news, but it does exactly what I wanted it to, which was give me a rich, full tone for Jazz. But when switching to the bridge pickup, because it is raised it almost doesnt't need any distortion, if your fiddle with the tone on this aswell you can get a nice warm overdrive-ish sound without using effects, but of course, this is just an experiment. Using this with a set of effects, a Dunlop GCB-95 wah, a Boss SD-1, a BD-2 and a BF-3 Flanger, as well as a FV-500L and TU-2 tuner. The SD-1 is fairly noisy, but if nothing is turned on, of course there is some tone loss, but nothing huge, as well as an incredibly quiet guitar. The guitar does Jaz excellently, does some rock, but nothing overly heavy, it's not made for that, and it is evident when it is played for heavy things, but other than that, does most things well.
Overall Impression — 9
I bought this for a particular style of music and it stood and delivered. I had compared this the the Epiphone Joe Pass Emporer II and found this to be neater, cleaner and with a much, much smoother neck. I also own a couple of other Ibanez guitars, an RGT32FMSP (ltd. ed.) and a GAX30 (beginner), my RG does what I want it to, and that is play hard rock, metal etc, this plays my jazz and what-not. The only thing I wish it had were nut-locks, to keep in tune, but not such a huge deal as mostly chordal work is done on this. If it were stolen I don't think I could buy another one as I think this has been superseded, but I would most definitely buy the new model. A fantastic guitar in all respects.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The guitar can stand Live playing, mostly because if you have this, you are not going to be throwing yourself or it around, it's not that type of guitar. Bridge and pickups are gold-plated, so that will wear after time, but that's normal, strap buttons are fairly large, bought a new strap for it, and it's not going anywhere. Finish seems fine, just a gloss over natural, so shouldn't wear too much, but if it does it's going to be bridge centralized.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
At the risk of being far to concise, the factory setup was fantastic, action was fine, strings werent strung to well, needed to be replaced straight away, it hadnt been sitting on the rack at the shop too long, so not really enough time for kids to come along and dent and scratch it, so no superficial flaws, woods are matched well, bound sides and neck gives a neat look as well as the same wood used for the whole body, makes it look professional. Pickups were adjusted from the factory, bridge up high, neck down low, all fine. Only problem is the Machine heads aren't as tight as they should be, but nothing a 2 minute turn with a screwdriver can't fix.
Features — 9
Made early this year (January), in China (not as bad as you think). Made entirely of flamed maple it has 22 medium frets on a Maple/Bubinga 5 piece neck. Natural Finish (glossed) in a single soft cut full hollow-body design. Strings are set through a VT04 Custom tail piece, then over an ART-1 bridge (gold or wooden). Two gold plated passive Super 58 (neck and bridge) pickups, with the bridge slightly raised from factory. Fully controllable sound, with a separate neck volume and tone pot, and a bridge volume and tone pot with a 3 way selector (I also use a Boss FV-500L for master volume). Not sure of tuner brand, but unfortunately, probably need changing. Included with this guitar were an extra bridge (wooden), an Allen key for truss rod adjustments, and a custom hard case (grey & locking).