Purchased from: It was a gift
Sound — 9
I play a variety of styles, but it handles different styles decently. Since it is an Ibanez, I'm assuming that it leans more towards metal but since resurrecting it I've been able to play numerous chords and styles without problems. The guitar is also almost completely noiseless considering the price range. The solid body also puts out a quite rich, loud and dark sound even without an amp. Amped up, the guitar produces the same results. Rich, dark, and beautiful.
Overall Impression — 8
Wow I'm sick of typing. mmk. Like I said, I play a little of everything, and it seems to keep up. This is no Les paul, so if you're an expierenced guitarist with years of playing time, look away. But for all intensive purposes, the Gax is a pretty decent axe. As far as other gear, I've got my hands on a pair of starcasters, a Yamaha acoustic, an Epiphone Les Paul (gorgeous sunburst), Vintage amp (think Hendrix dropping this thing out of a window, so old), distortion pedal for my little bro, Fender mini-amp I forget which model, etc. If the Gax was lost/stolen, I'd first of all be pissed cause I just fixed that mess, and second I would go buy another. They aren't expensive and they sound nice. duh. The only other thing I will say is I wish you could buy replacement cavity plates without special ordering them.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Like I said earlier, the GAX is just about indestructible. Knock it, drop it, piss on it, set it on fire, whatever you want (maybe not that last one). Can't say too much about the hardware as I have replaced a lot of it, but what is left original (bridge humbucker, tuners, etc) seems to work great. I've heard that the strap buttons sometimes come off, but re-setting them is easy and mine seem to be alright. As far as playing a gig, I would say more that this guitar IS the backup, if you're playing live gigs you really need something a bit more expensive/better sounding. But if you are just the casual birthday or church band player without the green, the GAX will do you just fine without another onstage backup.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
As far as factory set-up, my own research has led me to believe that new GAX30's even come pre-tuned, somehow. So if you're looking at a new one, go for it. Mine has kept it's initial tuning really well through quick changes of humidity and temperature. The only adjusting I've done was minor at the most. All the Standard stuff comes fully asjustible too, so if you don't like it out-of-box, you can easily change it to suit your needs. The finishes I've seen in store are beautiful, though I have read horror stories of easy chipping. Mine looked like crap anyway (the kid used a sharpie on it), so I just re-finished it myself to a simple yet beautiful white. My overall impression of the playing is quite good. If you like rosewood necks and medium frets and you're not looking to spend a lot of green... the choice is pretty easy. Way better than any beginner/intermediate Fender I've played (Squire Strat, Starcaster) and only slightly less awesome than the Epiphone Les Paul. A Genuine Strat, Tele, Gibson SG (not Epiphone SG) are going to sound better any day, but for the money, the GAX is a great choice.
Features — 8
22 frets on a beautiful rosewood neck, this guitar is indestructible (almost). I got mine in pieces from a friend who had done unspeakable things to it. $100 in parts from Guitar Center later, (Seymour Duncan Jazz Model neck humbucker, super slinkys, knobs, and some neck bolts from Home Depot) I discovered that the the old basswood body sounded good. Not Les Paul or Strat good, but still real nice. 3-way tone selector and a pair of knobs (one for volume, the other tone)and non locking tuners hold the super slinks suprisingly well.