Price paid: $ 295
Purchased from: Musician's Mall
Sound — 10
My music style is very versatile and varies from jazz/blues to classic rock to modern metal to avant-garde. Another reason for me picking this over the Showmaster is Ibanez's famous versatility catering to artists from Paul Gilbert to George Benson to Mike Mushok (Staind) to Noodles (The Offspring) Mick Thomson (Slipknot) and easily duplicating their sounds. The clean is bright and brilliant but can turn to warm and moody really fast too. I use this guitar through a Zoom G2.1u into a Marshall MG15CDR practice amp. It sounds great for the total price I paid for all three. It's absolutely silent and works really well on my Marshalls clean sound. Keep the bass at about 8/10, the middles at 5/10 and the treble at 3/10 with Reverb and it'll sound perfect.
Overall Impression — 10
For my aforementioned varying musical tastes this guitar is a perfect buy for a beginner. I've been playing for an year now and I also own a Zoom G2.1u (Contrary to popular belief a GREAT pedal) and a Marshall MG15CDR (Quite rubbish is first on the upgrade list). I love this guitar so much that I'm emotionally attached to it and the day I first scraped it I cried for a day and was clinically depressed for a week. If it get's stolen I'll personally find the guy who stole it, kidnap him, gouge his eyes out, hammer out his teeth one by one, castrate him and take a dump in his face. If it get's lost I'll probably blame myself and be a 40 year old recluse before I get over it. As mentioned multiple times I compared it with a Fender Showmaster while buying and rightly picked this one. I have a good Floyd Rose and EMG pickups on my wishlist, but that's far off.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have just tinily chipped it as yet, but that was a violent fall because of a faulty strap. Shows how durable it is. The strap buttons are okay. My strap was not. It's ultimately dependable. You can depend on this guitar as much as you can depend on David Beckham to score a penalty with no goalkeeper.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When the guitar came home it was more or less perfect except fot slightly faulty pickup height which is understandable. The action is perfect for fast slowing without fret-buzz and sound. Another problem is the end on the pickup switcher is that it's slightly loose but I've heard it's like that on all of GRG170DXs. As long as you don't change pickups like an animal it won't come off.
Features — 9
A bought it in December '06, but it was made in '05 in Japan. It has 24 medium sized frets which suits me well and is one of the main reasons I picked this guitar over a Showmaster. I do a lot of soloing and the fret size, width and action is just right for me. The neck is on the thicker side but I think it has a Rosewood neck which your palm just glides clean across. It has a lovely glossy "Black Night" finish which is hard to not fawn over all the time. It gets finger prints easily but a little Min Cream polish cleans it right up. I couldn't find a pick guard for it so you have to be careful if you anchor while play. The body style is compact and smooth like the rest of the RGs and looks great Live. The basswood is great and the binding with the nexk is perfect. Don't chip it. It looks horrible. The bridge is a Standard FAT 10 bridge which was a real turn off for me because I use the tremolo effect often. This guitar is very easily easily customized and I'm planning to Switch to Floyd Rose soon. Otherwise it's fine and doesn't go out of tune. It has good stock Ibanez Passives which sound great (unexpectedly) The pickup height was faulty on mine, but fiddling around with the height is really easy to get your personal sound. It has 1 Volume nob, 1 Tone nob, both of which I almost never use. Especially the volume nob because it doesn't have smooth transition from loud to low. And the low volume sound quality is quite bad. It also a extremely useful 5-way pickup switcher which is absolutely a blessing from above. The pickups are Standard Ibanez with two humbuckers in the neck and bridge position with a single-coil in the middle. The sound quality for the pickups is absolutely mind blowing for the guitar's price. The neck pickup sounds gives a really smooth lead sound with ample middles. The bridge pickup is good for metal riffing too and sounds really good and chunky. The single-coil sound is really bright and good for clean playing. Mine came with a soft case and manual on taking care of it and adjusting parts.