Price paid: $ 199.99
Purchased from: Earle Teat Music
Sound — 7
I rate it at 7 on sound. It actually has a very nice sound, for a $200 guitar. I play rock, alternative, metal, southern rock, and mess around with some classic rock and 80's stuff. It does alright with any style, but I like it distorted heavily the best. I've played similar guitars, cheaper guitars, and high end guitars. Don't expect to pick this thing up and have the clarity of a high end PRS, but don't expect it to sound like a cheap guitar either.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I think it's a great guitar. My personal favorite beater guitar. Sure, I like the expensive Dean MLs (own one) and the Les Pauls and PRS guitars, but I like playing this withouyt worrying about it. I play a friends PRS Custom 22 on a regular basis, and with it's $2000+ price tag, I worry about scratching it up or causing any kind of damage. I strap my GAX70 on and just enjoy playing. I have added Straploks since I play it in a garage and run it into stuff, I do at least like to keep it strapped to me. I may be adding some pickups in the near future for a little beefier sound, just because I would like to do some recording and it does lack some clarity and gain that I would like to have. My Dean ML has a better sound, but it's not nearly as comfortable to paly as this thing, and I worry too much about it. I would certainly buy another GAX70 or possibly take a step up if this guitar was lost or stolen.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I'm sure a 10 seems very high to rate this low-budget Ibanez, but allow me to explain. I bought my GAX70 new 8ish years ago. It has been my primary guitar ever since. When I bought it, I had played for only a matter of months. It has had a lot of use. It has sat in my garage for the last 3-4 years where it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter (no A/C, no constant heat). The garage is also a rough environment because of the additional moisture compared to most homes. Even with all that abuse, it shows little damage. My pcikups are starting to show signs of light rust (very mild, and impressive considereing how many sets of strings get rusty out in tht garage). It has a worn area on the back, because I often play wearing a jacket in the garage during cold weather. There are also minor flaws, but I can't see any guitar not having flaws in this environment. I cut steel, weld, etc. near it without even moving it. I am extremely impressed for the price of this guitar, and couldn't ask for better durability.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action on this guitar is great. I like low actions with thin necks and this is perfect for me. Very easy to play. When I pickup some expensive guitars, they feel terrible to me after playing this. Ibanez is known for their thin necks and great action though. It is also a matter of personal preference. It's a comfortable guitar to play, and looks good for it's price.
Features — 5
The features of the GAX70 have been listed here many times, so I'll keep it simple and tell you mine is Transparent Red 1999 or 2000 model. I give it a 5 on features, because I feel it is just average. It does it's job, but no frills. Some like to argue that the agathis guitars never sound good, but I think this one does alright.