Price paid: € 470
Purchased from: Feedback Rotterdam
Sound — 10
I play hardrock and metal and this guitar is definitely geared towards that style. I use either a Hiwatt HiGain 50 combo or my Kustom Defender and playing on loud volume I can't even get a 100% clean with these pickups! No noise or hum, but easily breaking up the clean sound into crunch (a bit too easy). However, even distorted every note rings through. It has a rich, dark sound because of the Sapele wood (much like mahogany) and loads of sustain. Has a lot of different colors in sound, mainly because the very responsive tone knob is like something I have never experienced on any other guitar! It goes from bright to very dark and makes a big difference depending on which way you turn it. Nice jazz/blues sounds on the neck pickup and smack in the face rock sounds on the bridge pickup. Also the fact that you can use the coil tap to Switch to single coil configuration makes it very versatile. Nice strat-like sounds, but you can't get there 100% because of the sound of the Sapele wood.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar is the perfect match for what I play and then some. I have been playing for three years now, though I started playing 24 years ago (sound crazy but true). If it were stolen, or even touched without my permission I would go on a manhunt and get it back. My favourite feature would be the versatility of the guitar and the many sounds you can get from it. The neck isn't the Standard shredding wizard neck you'd expect from Ibanez but more towards a Les Paul. Compared it to lots of other guitars and I say this is the Ibanez version of a Les Paul (because of the heavy wood and the feel of the neck).
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar will withstand live playing, it was made for it! Hardware seems very solid, no complaints here. I would use this live without a backup because I think this guitar won't break down that quick. Finish looks good, but it's black so it's bound to get fingerprints and dust all over. Will last a long time I think, never have played a guitar for such a long time that the finish came off so can't really vouch for that.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Action was perfect from the start, pickups needed no adjustment as well. Intonation was almost right, except for the low E-string so had to adjust that. It came with .09 strings, but I play with .10's so I gave the truss rod some more tension and the intonation stayed the way it was! Everything else is perfect, but the stock tuners seemed a bit flimsy and I replaced them with Grovers. Binding on the guitar looks like pearloid but probably is not. Does look great however, just like the pearl rectangle inlays.
Features — 9
Made in 2009, 22 medium frets, Sapele wood (neck & body) with a rosewood fretboard, set-in neck. Body style is a combination of a Stratocaster/Iceman/Les Paul with a tight-tune bridge as Ibanez calls it, but you could say it's a tune-o-matic. Volume, tone and a 3-way selector with the possibility to split coils on the tone knob. Pickups are passive Ibanez PP1 pickups, which sound like they are high output. Non-locking Ibanez tuners, but replaced them with Grovers because I found them a bit flimsy.