Darkstone DN500 review by Ibanez

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

Price paid: € 485

Purchased from: online store

Sound — 10
Although the Darkstone is labeled as rock/metal guitar, it's very versatile and can be suited for any style. The stock pickups, build exclusively for this model, have a very powerful yet clear sound. They are aggressive enough to play brutal death metal, but if you use the coil tap you immediately get a Stratocaster sound. I mostly play rock and metal through a Peavey Bandit 122 amp and Korg AX3000G pedalboard and I can get almost any sound. I'm very surprised because this is one of the very few mid-range guitars that don't need a pickup upgrade to sound good.

Overall Impression — 9
I play rock and metal and this was definitely the right choice. I have been playing for 5 years and owned several guitars, including a Jackson RR3, a Gibson Explorer and a Hagstrom Swede. I could compare the Darkstone quality to the Explorer, but for half the price. If it were stolen I'll buy it again in a heartbeat!

Reliability & Durability — 9
It's definitely a solid guitar made to play live (many metal bands play it, such as Epica, Sabaton, Deathstars, etc). I would have no problems playing a gig without a backup. The strap buttons were solid but I replaced them with DiMarzio Cliplocks (my favourite strap locks) because the guitar is really heavy, even heavier than my old Gibson Explorer.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar came well setup with D'Addario strings. Everything was adjusted properly, from pickup height to intonation to neck relief. The action was really low and the neck is very comfortable, not too thin and not too thick (but definitely thicker than standard Ibanez necks). I honestly couldn't find anything wrong with my guitar except for some dust on the finish (maybe because it came with no case or gigbag).

Features — 8
The Ibanez Darkstone DN500 has the following features: - Sapele body and neck - Bound rosewood fretboard - 22 medium frets - 24.75" scale - Set neck construction - Ibanez Tight-Tune bridge - Ibanez CAP PP1-B and CAP PP1-N passive pickups - 3-way switch, 1 volume and 1 tone control - Coil tap on tone control Mine has a black finish and was made in 2010 in China. Don't bee fooled though: it's a high quality guitar. For those who don't know, sapele is a very heavy African wood similar to mahogany used on some acoustic guitars because of his resonance.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    brad_butcher wrote: see im not into the boring style of guitars that everyone loves.
    You're so alternative and cool.
    musiice wrote: ibanez china/indonesia? no thanks.
    I hate idiots who don't buy a guitar if it's not made in USA or Japan. The DN500 is a high quality guitar, and guitar factories in China, Mexico and Indonesia have normal human workers just like USA or Japan.
    I just bought one for my girlfriend for her birthday; I think it's small scale length will be good for her hands. So many "cheap" guitars have clunky bolt on necks, and this guitar has a pretty nice neck joint! I rocked on it through an EVH 5150III in the store which is what i use for gigs, and it ripped! I was impressed with the pickups, and i got some good clean and light gain classic tones out of it. It was pretty good for classic metal tones and the neck pickup was great for the Kyuss stoner rock doom sound. I also ripped some pantera licks as the neck is just like an ML or Explorer. We can always put better tuners on it. I like it's a bit different and I'm hoping she will too! LOL I have all sorts of high end guitars including a Gibson explorer, couple Dean MLs an EVH strat and PRS.. I don't like clunky cheap guitars, but this guitar actually inspired me to record a couple riffs on my iphone while i test drove it! I don't wanna insult my old lady buy buying her a 200 dollar clunker.. so for 365 I'm right in that zone where I'm not spending too much but still get a quality instrument. Hope she likes it!