Darkstone DN500 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (59 votes)
Ibanez: Darkstone DN500

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.

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I looked at the small pic and thought "that's one of the best looking ibanez's i've seen in a while" then opened up the full size pics... Why have they put a cutaway at the bottom?????
    Mr. Strat Cat
    gadha wrote: i want this !!! plz some1 help me buy this nuh!!!!!
    Just Google it. You'll find something. In any case, this guitar is used by Rikard Sunden, the main guitarist for Sabaton- and that's almost enough for me to buy this.
    this guitar is awesome. i was planing to buy an iceman IC-400 but they can`t be bought in stores anymore(only if your lukky something i`m not) so the 500 bk is a other option to buy i was planing to buy a same one at feedback rotterdam it`s now around 500 euro`s
    that's to prevent that you accidently switch from pick ups whilst hammering down on your string
    von gelb
    magnum1117 wrote: The only problem (not for looks though) is that the pickup selector is way to far from reach D:
    You're right! I left it out of the review because I mainly use the bridge pickup and don't switch that often (I play rhythm). But it is in a rather unusual place.
    doive wrote: I looked at the small pic and thought "that's one of the best looking ibanez's i've seen in a while" then opened up the full size pics... Why have they put a cutaway at the bottom?????
    I'm guessing its for balance. If its slightly heavier in the body it prevents neck dive, where you let go of the neck and it heads straight to the floor. The design is "borrowed" from a Fernandes Ravelle. Check 'em out.
    The only problem (not for looks though) is that the pickup selector is way to far from reach D: Other than that, that is a sexy guitar.
    This is a pretty cool guitar, played it once. Wouldn't mind buying it if I had cash to burn. I like like that fact it looks kinda like a double cut-a-way version of a Fernandes Ravelle, my first guitar. This would be awesome for stoner/sludge metal.
    this looks kinda like a rickenbacher especially the fret markers...that being said this is not a very good review.
    interesting... beautiful guitar- kudos... the cutaway sure seems a lot like the minarik tone tail design... dig it... congrats...
    i disagree with the 2nd and 3rd comment the cutaway is what did it for me, when i seen the little picture i said "wow, another non unique guitar that looks like the child of a fender stratocaster and a gibson les paul" i think the cutaway is a change and unique feature that did it for me, see im not into the boring style of guitars that everyone loves.
    I own this guitar too, and well, the sounds are amazing! I don't have a problem with keeping cleans on my Frontman 212R, but maybe I just don' itt play loud enough, neighbours won't like it XD Very bright and articulated sound though, no doubt. Very nice pick ups, those pp1's. Check out Rikard Sunden from Sabaton playing it on youtube And the shape is of personal taste. The headstock is featured too on the semi-hollows of ibanez for as far as I know. For me the fret markers were one of the big points in buying one, and the passive high output pick ups
    the body shape is the best Ive seen from Ibanez. Its like a cross between iceman and prs. very sexy
    Yay, another Dutchy! xD I considered buying this one, but I didn't really like the body shape though. I'm going for the Schecter Hellraiser Solo 6 now. :3
    von gelb
    I don't mind the shape of the headstock myself, but it isn't your standard Ibanez headstock, that's for sure. And the cutaway is copied from the Iceman, I think it looks cool. @ Tias: hehehe XD
    You dutch bastard, your article made it to the front page xD.
    I rather wonder why they put such an ugly headstock on it. I love the body shape and the sound, but the headstock kept me away from buying it
    doive wrote: I looked at the small pic and thought "that's one of the best looking ibanez's i've seen in a while" then opened up the full size pics... Why have they put a cutaway at the bottom?????
    I totally agree! Was looking great until I opened the full picture...