Price paid: £ 120
Purchased from: Local store
Features — 8
Guitar produced in Indonesia, December 2010. It features two standard, passive Ibanez humbucker pickups. Three-way pickup selector (neck, bridge/neck, bridge), and a volume and tone knob. A rosewood fretboard and a thin maple neck that makes it easy to play for long periods of time without any discomfort. Very comfortable. Simple inlays that do the job and stand out well, no discoloring or anything of that sort. Though it only has 22 frets and is quite a small guitar (24.5"), weighs considerably less than other electric guitars. No problems with the volume and tone knobs, both still seem to work fine. The tuners are the only noticeable downside that I've noticed. I may have to oil them as they've always seemed quite stiff, and make tuning inconvenient. Good features otherwise.
Sound — 8
I don't have much experience playing other higher quality guitars, but the output of the pickups seems to be quite low and a little underwhelming when playing clean. Though on the other hand, the dynamic range is impressive, and the tone for the price is outstanding. Ideal for playing with distortion. I mostly play Tool, Deftones, and System of a Down songs, and have recently been dabbling in some cleaner Warpaint material. If you have the right gear you can make it sound however you want. I currently use it with Guitar Rig 5, using my own presets, despite its low weight and small size, this guitar has loads to offer (apart from sustain). The pickups produce a lot of low-end and mid frequencies, making down-tuned rock or metal playing great. The high end is not that noticeable, bringing it a point down since that hinders playing clean on the lower strings a little (sounds a little dull), but so far for the price I'm very impressed. That's on the bridge pickup... whereas I don't bother playing with distortion on the neck pickup as it gets too bassy and the output is too low. I save that for the clean soft stuff. Can't knock the score too much regardless, I'm currently running it through a dual-channel Guitar Rig 5 preset, and it sounds BEASTLY.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I had to make a few adjustments after purchase, mostly due to personal preference. If I can recall correctly, I think I raised the action, and of course replaced the strings as they were rattling against the frets out of the box. There was a little bit of intonation too, though I can't remember on which strings, and I raised the right side of the bridge pickup slightly to get more out of the top strings. Other than that, which mostly comes down to personal preference, there was nothing at all wrong with the guitar. The black glossy finish of the body is fantastic though, so I reckon this deserves a 10 just considering at how good these aspects of the guitar are despite it being an "entry-level" guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've had this guitar for very roughly three, maybe three and a half years. It's very solid, there are no stress marks, cracks, any of that anywhere on the guitar. I've spilled liquids on it, rarely ever wipe it, it's covered in dust, and it doesn't seem to give a sh-t. I'd give it a 10, but I had one or two problems occur in the past. At one point it sounded like the wiring was wearing out and the pickups would cut out, or play only at half the output. Though I never did come to the conclusion whether this was the guitar or the cable that I used. Secondly, the input jack came apart at one point. I had to unscrew it from the body, put it back together, and screw it back in. It's worked fine since. I've also dropped it a few times and I haven't had any issues arise. I reckon you could take this guitar through an entire tour and come out standing strong.
Overall Impression — 8
- Perfect beginner guitar
- Low weight, comfortable playing for long periods of time
- Overall a very good product for the low price.
- The humbucker pickups produce a very good metal tone
- Good quality neck & fretboard, undeniably better than any strat in this price range, if you even find one.
- Attractive body shape, looks as if a Gibson Les paul and one of the mid-range Ibanez guitars had a baby.
- Low sustain
- Slightly low output pickups, gotta turn the volume up if you play clean.
- Cheap tuning pegs
- Isn't an Ibanez Iceman.