Price paid: C$ 499
Purchased from: MCDC
Sound — 10
It sounds great. This is my first seven string. I can easily get the heavy metal sound I want for low end riffs while still keeping my high notes for leads. No need to down tune this guitar. The neck pickup sounds nice and warm. The bridge pickup sounds just as good but is a little brighter. It has a full sound to it. I play through a Roland Cube with a Boss Metalzone and a CS3 compressor and sustainer. I can play metal riffs or clean honky tonk funk with this guitar. It's all good. I could anticipate people swapping out the stocks pick ups for actives but there's nothing wrong with the pick ups that come with the guitar. There's no feedback from this guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
I play metal and shred. It's a great match. I love the extra string. Physically it took me about a week to get used to the extra B string. Mentally it's taking more time to visualize the fretboard a new way. Although I know where the extra notes are I seldom use them in scale runs and use the low Sting mostly for riffing. I really like this guitar. I typically have a whammy bar on my guitars and I miss having one on this guitar. If this guitar got thrown off a building or smashed I would be really sad and would buy another seven string right away. This is a far better and cheaper guitar than the BC Rich's I bought earlier this year. If you want a seven string and want something different than a Strat style RG then definitely look into getting this guitar!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I'd play live with this little doozie. Everything seems like it will last a decade or more if cared for. I'd swap out the strap pegs for strap locks just so I don't drop it by accident. I have had problems with other low-end Ibanez models in the past. I have had parts break or wear out. Regardless, this model seems more solid than others.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
It was set up perfectly from the shop. The guitar dude at the shop tuned it slightly by ear. It's been great ever since. The neck is wider than a traditional six string obviously. It's thin and flat and is comfortable for riffing or soloing. I like the feel to it. Although the neck is painted, the laquer is not sticky and it feels like an unfinished neck which I prefer. The grade and quality of this guitar is exceptional compared to some other brands out there. I have owned about 20 some odd guitars and this one is the only one I seen come set up near perfect. The guitar is also well balanced and fairly light. I can sit it on my knee and it does not go anywhere. I was hesitant to buy this guitar because I had an AR300 back in 2005 or 6 and it was incredibly neck heavy and would hurt my back. Those problems are gone with this model. The wood is also cut about half an inch thinner than the older model.
Features — 9
This guitar was made in 2011 and it came to the store 2 days before Christmas. It's offshore Ibanez so it's probably made in some place in mainland Asia. It's a Les-Paulish shaped guitar with a black body and head stock. The paint finish is a satin black. The body is mahogany, the neck is maple, and the fingerboard is rosewood. There's no inlays on the fret board among the 24 medium sized frets. The hardware is chrome. The tuners are non-lock and the bridge is a tune-o-matic style. The neck is set into the body and the back of the neck is painted. The electronics feature two Ibanez humbucker passive pickups, a volume and tone knob, and a three way switch. This is a seven string guitar tuned BEADGBe from low to high. The guitar also has a thin white binding around the body and head stock. The head stock reads "Artist" in fancy lettering. The input jack and strap locks are on the sides of the guitar. I opted for no case with this one since there is only a square hard case made for it and I prefer a tear drop shaped case. I brought it home in the card board box packaging. An old sleeping bag should do for a gig bag.