Darkstone DN500 Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 09/28/2011 category: Electric Guitars
Ibanez: Darkstone DN500
My favourite feature would be the versatility of the guitar and the many sounds you can get from it.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.5
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) pictures (2) 30 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.6
Darkstone DN500 Reviewed by: von gelb, on january 11, 2011
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 470

Purchased from: Feedback Rotterdam

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 7

Overall Impression: 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). // 9

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overall: 9
Darkstone DN500 Reviewed by: Poglia, on september 28, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 485

Purchased from: online store

Features: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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). // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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! // 9

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