Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Local store
Sound — 10
I'm about a year and a half on guitar lessons but only about 3 months on serious playing (several hours per day) and this guitar has amazing tuning stability on my music style (which is rock, from old heavy to nu metal/metalcore and everything in between). On Ibanez website it says this guitar was made for metal, and sure it is. With this pair of humbuckers it gives and excellent "big" sound than suites the metalheads ears. I completed my gear with a Laney LX35 and a Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff and man, this is The budget package! My other two pieces were carefully chosen as well as the guitar and I had the opportunity to check 'em on several stores and with other configurations (like the Ibanez with the Boss MT-2 and ML-2, the Ibanez and a Orange Crush 10, a Vox Pathfinder 15, a Roland Cube, etc.) and this was the best for me and some other guys who were with me in my expedition. The humbuckers are noisy by default but there are some others that on clean channel buzzes a lot and this is not the case of the GRG121EX, obviously when you overdrive the amp it produces some noise but that's a matter of nature. The clean channel is very powerful on the three settings, traditionally I didn't used the middle pickup option on other guitars I played but in this case it gives a special warm sound that perfectly combines both pickups and sounds great for soloing and for rhythm. The variety of sounds on distortion really comes from the Metal Zone stomp box but the 3 elements of my gear make a good and versatile combination for playing the rock you name: Metallica, Slipknot, Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N' Roses, Disturbed, Bullet For My Valentine, Korn, etc. The only sin this guitar has is the absence of a floating bridge, and because of this you cannot make too much vibrato effects but the ones that you finger does.
Overall Impression — 9
I like metal, all kinds but I play also more softer music and this guitar is as versatile as my musical tastes so we make a very good team. I've playing for about a year and a half but the last 2 or 3 months became serious and today I play for many hours daily. I own a Laney LX35 and a Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff and like I said before, it's one of the best (if not the best) budget package you can buy for playing metal and all kinds of music really, because right now I'm on a band that plays more pop-like music (No Doubt and stuff like that) and my guitar does the job quite good. If it were stolen/lost right now yes, I would buy it again because I can't afford a more expensive model but I expect to upgrade it in a medium term. I compared this with some other models like the Epiphone Les Paul Special II, the Yamaha ERG 121 and some other and this was the best choice for the materials, the brand, the music style it was oriented, the reviews, and of course my personal taste. Maybe a floating bridge would be ok but that may caused to be more expensive so no, no complaints about this.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've played live with my Ibanez 2 times and no problem, I can totally trust on this and play without backup. On a maybe-near future I will upgrade this and keep it as an excellent backup, I thing it will last me for a long time. The hardware seems on, it will last for a while. As I said before, the pickup selector cover and the volume and tone knobs maybe not last forever but is something normal with budget models and it isn't something that affects the playing of the instrument. The strap buttons are very, I mean very solid. It's the strongest hardware part for me, I play for hours daily with it and they are just like new.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action is really good, I am playing it intensely for about a month and I must say it came with a decent factory setup. Maybe it deserves now a string chance and a little setup but nothing big. I love the fact that the pickups are covered, this gives a much better look and because of this I have no problem with adjusting them of even damage them on a heavy riff. The machine heads are strong and keeps the guitar's tuning for many many time no matter how many bends you do. It supports also heavy detuning (I mean drop A) with almost no trouble but the natural ones. I think that's one of the strongest features this guitar has, the versatility of playing many styles and the ability to stay in tune for a long time. The finish is great, I preferred the white finish over the black for 2 main reasons: the first is the black was almost like a mirror! And I really don't like the fact that it Always will have fingertips all over the body. The white is a little reflective but not like the black, besides, the white looks nice! The only problem I see with the white is that dust and any kind of dirt, hair, anything, it became easily noticeable so you must keep this cleanest as possible. I feel that the pickup selector someday (not so far) will fall, it seems a little weak.
Features — 9
First of all, this is my first review so don't be cruel XD This guitar was made on China, don't know when. Mine is GRG121EX White model with 24 medium frets, basswood body and maple bolt-on neck. The bridge is fixed, passive PSND3 neck and PSND4 bridge humbuckers, 3 way pickup selector, 1 tone and 1 volume knobs. As a budget model suggests it has no accessories but the basic: allen keys, user manual and cable. And for the same reason it has some cheap plastic parts (volume and tone knobs, pickup selector switch) but is something you can live with. This is the first guitar I bought but not the first I own. After my first second-hand guitar was stolen I began an intensive search on local stores of here (Mexico) and on the web, it took me about a month to decide what guitar I was going to buy (always based on budget) and found that this guitar is the best piece you can buy under a 200-250 USD price.