Price paid: € 2400
Purchased from: Local Store
Sound — 9
The Guitar is really versatile, many people associate it to shred since is Herman Li sig model. But there's more that meets the eye for this beast. I use it with Elixir 0.10 string gauge, in Drop D tuning. Usually I play Metal/Hard Rock with it, mixing Heavy riffing with some clean passages, and soloing. The pickups are Herman Li sigs, they have a 5 way switch with push/pull volume pot for coil split. This means beside the humbucker sound the guitar has, you can also explore a single coil sound, giving 10 diferent pickup combinations. I play my guitars through an Engl Invader or a Powerball (which are High Gain amps), a Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Zakk wylde crybaby, MXR Evh Phaser and flanger. The guitar growls with the bridge humbucker, it has a sound full of body, with mids to cut and sustain well, the neck humbucker is not so fat has a DiMarzio Evolution neck picukup, but is fattier then a DiMarzio Paf Pro. This comparison is important to me, because I usally play cleans with this pickup or solo with it in higher frets, so its imperative that it fits for both functions, and DiMarzio just made it perfect. About the Mid Single Coil, and don't have much to add because I rarelly use it, not because I don't like the single coil sound, I actually love it, but this guitar has coil split in the neck and bridge pickups. When I Coil split and my humbuckers work has single coil, it's almost like I have guitar with a Stratocaster sound with an Ibanez neck. Both Single coils have more attack and twang, making the guitar perfect for richie kotzen, clapton and that type of sound. Another thing this guitar is really, really perfect for is jazz. If you put the neck humbucker pickup and roll back the tone knob, you get instantly the perfect jazz tone. Although I'm not a jazz player, I found myself quite often playing some jazz licks for fun, because it just sounds like pat metheny (of course without the effects) or John Scofield, simply amazing. When playing clean, I usually use the neck or mix the neck and mid pickup. With the Humbucker, I get a mellow, pretty and fat tone. When mixing with single coil, it cuts a bit the bass and gives more attack to the sound.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar is like a swiss knife of guitars, you can play whatever you want with it and sound great. The Ibanez Zero Edge Tremolo is Amazing, it makes tuning and playing with the whammy bar perfect. ( I have an Ibanez Jem 7v, with Edge Pro Tremolo and I can say that I prefer Zero Edge any day.) The neck of this guitar is the best I played with, I have an Ibanez PGM, RG550, Jem 7v, K-7, and I also tried other diferent brands and models, I never felt so confortable playing with other kind of neck. The only thing I would like Ibanez to make it different, would be the wheel that tights the springs in the tremolo. I would change it for screws, because sometimes it gets hard to tight them. The tension is so high that it really hard to rotate it with your thumb. The price could also drop, I payed 2, 400 Euros for mine, I know it's expensive and was the best guitar I bought, but I think a fair price would be between 2000 and 2200 Euros.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I usually record and gig alot in my country, When I play live I take 3 guitars, Ibanez Egen, Ibanez Pgm and a Yamaha acoustic guitar. When I play with the Egen, before starting the gig I tune it, and I don't look ever again to the tuner until next reheasel or gig. You may think I'm crazy but after beating the whammy bar like crazy, being under hot lights and sweating all over the fretboard, finish the gig and look to the tuner and see the guitar in tune, it just gives me that confidence. I would definitely gig without backup, altough I use the PGM for a standard tuning musics it may also work has backup if necessary, but it was never used for that purpose. The guitar altough being thin, looks like it will last forever.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
My guitar came from factory with a high action for me. I usually play with it quite low, but thats my taste. I didn't notice any flaws. The pickups looked ok, but I lowered them a bit to raise the sustain of the guitar. The guitar had no flaws that I noticed in the finish.
Features — 9
Made in Japan Specs: neck type5pc EGEN Maple/Walnut neck bodyFlamed Maple top/Mahogany body fretJumbo frets (scaloped 21-24) bridgeEdge-Zero bridge w/ZPS3 neck puDiMarzio HLM (H) neck pu middle puDiMarzio HLM (S) mid pu bridge puDiMarzio HLM (H) bridge pu 10 diferente pickup configurations, with push/pull pot hardware colorGold Edge Zero Tremolo