Price paid: $ 130
Purchased from: Reverb com new
Features — 7
Likely a China 2016 GART60 model from Ibanez new with 1 tiny defect. Body is solid wood and poplar. Maple neck is 2 pieces with a strong joint and "dry" finish poly; rosewood fretboard. 2 "hot and nasty" pickups are decent and versatile. Tuners are adequate and a bit sharp edged knobs, as expected, but put on well. No accessories. Tune-O-Matic bridge setup is nicely chromed, but delicate finish. Gloss finish on the arched body is quite well done and a dark amber tint.
Rating "7" since HBs have no adjustable polepieces, but are passable humbuckers and quiet. they sound pretty decent and are strong and clear. They are not crummy... remember: it's a bottom ranked Ibanez.
Sound — 8
It sounds pretty good; not excellent, but decent. Versatile pickups are hot enough and into a clean amp (my '74 Princeton Reverb), it needs the caps changed to trim off some highs. Switch is 3-way and quiet as are the master volume and a tone for each pickup. No hum at all. For rock and roll, a nice guitar on a budget. It can play country as well because the pickups are clear and strong. A pedal after the guitar can do a lot!
Well under $150 delivered and with a tiny mark, be realistic! Some of us play open mic nights or flip a guitar after we do the basic setup adjustments (fret ends, capacitors, neck relief and intonation, nut slot depth, neck finish improvement, etc.). Some guitars we buy just need to be "good enough" and we may pass them on adjust themand make $40-60 profit after we adjust them. It's a hobby!
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Setup as delivered was good; not fantastic, but pretty well done if you play. 010-. 046 at standard tuning tension. I let in relief to play. 009-. 046 D'Addarios ($3.50 a set in 10 packs!) and get the 12th fret gap (fret top to string bottom) no more than 1/16". Touch up the nut slots to smooth and then lube them (so strings do not bind) helps a lot. Lube the tuners lightly to make tuning reliable and smooth and gently tighten the knob screws and the hex nuts on the face of the headstock (10 mm open wrench). Rating a "9" since it is all done enough to play the guitar. But any cheap guitar needs attention on basics... Cheap cost means fast construction by lesser workers... See?
Reliability & Durability — 8
It is brand new and a decent looking guitar and a bolt-on neck is fairly ordinary and solid. It should hold up like most any decent guitar and Ibanez is not cheap crap guitars, even in the low end... like this! The finish is impressive and may be done by a robot. Very nice gloss and color is a dark amber. Strap buttons are a new type to me but installed firmly. Tuners need to be checked for snugness of install and lubed for smoothness. This can help the guitar noticeably.
The tailpiece and bridge and threaded shafts they move on are second rate; accept it. Lower string tension to adjust so that the contact areas are all lubed lightly with Vaseline (and use a matching flat blade bit to adjust the tailpiece larger bolt and the smaller bridge bolts). Set intonation with the string tension reduced. I lightly lube nut slots and saddle slots now and again. Nut slots and saddle slots need attention once to get them smooth, depth of nut slots is really important for comfort. And get the strings off the 12th fret 1/16" and the neck relief just enough to avoid rattling of strinsg on the frets. Once you see it done and 'get it' it is simple to do. And guys who feel your guitars are more willing to strike a deal with you for a guitar... A "guitar geek" is the best guy to buy a used guitar from... See? Be that guy and show them how you get the result. Then they are more willing to negotiate.
Overall Impression — 9
Rating is a "9" because it is pretty impressive for stupid cheap brand new and delivered for $130. It sounds good, can be made to play well if you get it done or learn how (better move!), is finished really nice and is not a crap design or execution. For a strictly budget 2-HB guitar, it's "good enough". Adjustable polepieces would have been great, but settle for height/angle adjustment and get better capacitors on the tone pots (cheap and easy). Yes, the fret ends need to be smoothed one time and get the guitar humidified first... You don't know where it was stored. Fret ends poking mean the guitar has dried out too much and needs a baggie with damp sponge 1/2 or paper towel stored a few days or so in the closed case.