Purchased from: Brier & Hale Music
Sound — 8
I've been playing a few weeks shy of a year now, and I play pretty much any kind of rock or metal. That being said, this guitar suits me fairly well. I'm not yet good enough to play anything outrageously fast or showy, so it's a good match for my skill and experience. The basswood body gives the guitar a pretty good tone, and the pickups give me pretty good cleans from the neck position and good distortion from the bridge. I only use the middle singlecoil for the rare blues improvising, which it suits well. However, moving the guitar to the right place will get a lot of noise from the singlecoil. I'm told this is normal, but it's still annoying.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I'm quite happy with this guitar, mainly because I stick to playing chords and slow solos, nothing fast yet. I play it through my school's old Crate speakers (don't know the model) and a Zoom 505 II with excellent audience response. I chose this over a few other cheap Ibanez guitars, mainly because I liked the tremolo bar. Outside my aforementioned strap malfunction, my only issue with this guitar is how easily it collects dust and fingerprints. I have a microfiber cleaning cloth, which I must use before every gig, and sometimes in between songs when I get a break. It just gets so dusty and grimy that I can't resist the cloth. If it were lost or stolen, I would probably get something else with jumbo frets, and possibly a locking tremolo. As I advance in skill and gain some experience, I'll be looking to advance to something better. But it's okay for now.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will withstand live playing, assuming you care for it well. Hardware will last, but I'm told basswood is easily dented. I take good care of it, though. Only problem I've ever had at a live gig was my strap coming undone in the middle of the song, but that was the strap, not the guitar. I have since replaced the strap and now have no troubles.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The finish and setup were all top-notch, except for a few flaws. First, the action was way too high. When I first learned how to bend, my fingers could actually fit completely underneath the surrounding strings. My teacher remedied this problem with a quick adjustment and his set of allen wrenches. When he was adjusting, he tried to tune up the truss rod as well, which had gone slightly off after seven months. Even after half an hour of adjusting, there was always a slight dip around the lower frets of the fifth and sixth strings. No big deal, but still always a very small thorn in my side.
Features — 8
The GRG170DX has a maple GRG neck with 24 medium frets and a rosewood fingerboard. I am a pseudo-lead player at the moment, so I would like some larger frets, but this was my favorite guitar out of the few the music store had in my price range. The Fat 10 bridge goes out of tune quite fast with excessive use, so I only use it for the occassional vibrato. The pickups don't really sound amazing, but they're pretty decent, and I have a really old, beat-up amp which doesn't help their case. The guys at the music store really seem to like me, so they threw in a bunch of free stuff with it (I.e. picks, strap, cables, gig bag, etc).