Price paid: A$ 350
Purchased from: Dale Cleves Music
Sound — 10
I mainly play classic/roots rock, blues and funk, although I dabble a bit in rock and punk from time to time. It suits these all really well. I run it through an Ashton GA10 10-watt ($100) which isn't too bad, but I much prefer running it through my Yamaha MW8CX USB Mixer, and using the amp modellers in the likes of GarageBand. With the neck pickup it can make a nice twangy CCR-like sound with both pickups and the Bridge pickup. Despite Ibanez guitars being stereotypically "metal guitars", this guitar is very versatile. The clean sound can go from thin and bright to dark and full, while the distortion is pretty much whatever I can dream of.
Overall Impression — 9
Like I said earlier, I play classic/roots rock, blues, funk, rock and punk and this tackles all of them with the greatest of ease. I've been playing guitar on and off for about three years (mostly self-taught) and I also own a Livingstone Acoustic guitar which I picked up from a local department store for $70. If this were stolen or lost, I'd buy another one straightaway!!! What can I say? I LOVE this guitar. It was a toss-up between this, a Squier Bullet Strat and an Epiphone G400. I chose this due to the weight, cost and bad reviews that I'd heard of the Epiphone and the amount of humming from the Squier. Once I move on from this guitar, I'll either get the Epiphone or another Ibanez. But I expect I shall be playing this guitar for years to come.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I think this guitar would definitely survive a gig. I was a bit apprehensive about this guitar when I first picked it up, due to its very light weight - I felt that I'd drop it very easily. Well that hasn't happened yet, mostly due to the strap buttons on the thing - they're very solid and the strap hasn't broken free yet. (And I'm not using the most expensive thing in the world - a crappy $5 strap that would break on any other guitar). The hardware seems like it'll definitely last - this is what I call *quality*. I'd use this at a gig without a backup. For the price this is an amazingly good quality guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was very well set up at the factory - action was perfect and the intonation was only slightly out, and only on the top two strings. The pickups are great for what I need. The only slight problem is that, out of the box (or should I say off the wall?) the strings aren't the best I've seen - however I got some D'Addarios cheap and I'll put them on sometime in the future. This was my second electric guitar (the first one - a different brand - had died within a month) and I'd been warned about Chinese-made guitars. Well there's hardly anything wrong with this - certainly nothing unfixable!
Features — 9
Made in China in 2009 (I'm pretty sure - apparently it has an irregular serial number), 24 medium frets, maple neck and rosewood fingerboard, basswood body. It's a Strat style with a volume and a tone knob, as well as a 3-way pickup selector. It's got two Ibanez-made covered humbucking pickups which look great and hum a bit, but not nearly as much as my old guitar. It didn't come with anything, but the guys at the shop gave it to me with a gig bag and a strap as well as an electronic tuner.