Price paid: $ 413
Purchased from: Music Works (http://www.musicworks.co.nz)
Sound — 8
I play nerd-rock, pop-rock, punk-rock, pop-punk, rock, hard rock, alt rock, metalcore, death metal, melodic metal, christian soft-rock and christian atmospheric worship. This guitar can do it all pretty damn well, the bridge pickup is great for a stock pickup, it sounds 8.5 great through a decent distortion pedal, it's a wee bit harsh for most clean, but if you roll of a third of the tone, it can be pretty nice. The middle pickup is a little bit noisier than the other two, as you'd expect from a SC. With the right effect/amp settings, you can get it to sound very close to an acoustic guitar - with a little less bass response - tone. The neck pickup is pretty disappointing to be honest, it doesn't sound very good clean, it is missing balance in it's EQ response, the highs will screech if you don't pick softly. I run it through a Behringer X-VAMP 2 with expression pedal (BEST low-budget multi out there!), and through a Boss MT-2 Metal Zone when needed. I then run it through a Peavey Rockit 300w Bass head with a 2x14 cab, or a Behringer V-Tone GM108 15w solid state practice amp, or a Fender 65R solid-state, or on occasion a Marshall MG250DFX. In my opinion I can get the best - and most varied - tone out of the Behringer, due to it's modelling settings.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is a great match for me, I've had it 2 and a 1/2 years now, and it's still great. I myself have been playing through 7 guitars over 3 years, started on a classical old thing, moved up to my first electric, a Behringer Strat copy P.O.S, moved to a Legion Strat copy, even worse, then I got an Ibby GRX20zJB as my first real guitar, it sucked, but it was far better than the other two. I now have that same Ibby (heavily modified and repainted) + my 170DX in Candy Apple Red + an Ashton D25CEQBK acoustic + a Cort X-1. Overall the 170DX beats them all, the Cort only beats the 170 in neck feel. If it was lost or stolen, I would cry because this guitar means alot to me, and I've got good memories with it, and I would either buy another one, or 'upgrade' to one with a full, locking trem to see what I like more. Again, the bridge is my favourite part, also I love the sharktooth inlay and that it has 24 frets, I like where it puts all the other frets by pushing them up 2, 22 frets just don't feel right to me anymore. An AMAZING guitar for the price. A perfect intermediate guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar does withstand live playing. Apart from using it live every week at church, this guitar performs excellently in big gig situations; it's very quiet through a noise gate or suppressor, has good volume output and is comfortable for long sets. The hardware is very sturdy, it's all still perfect after 2 and a half years. The strap's only fallen off when I've had a crap strap:P but otherwise the strap buttons are great, I've only had to tighten them once after I knocked it. If string breakage wasn't a problem for me, I would definitely use it without a backup. The finish is strong, and you can tell that it goes deep, you can see the layers in it if you look close. It gets dented by hard knocks, but you wan't really notice pick scratch marks.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The factory set-up was average, the action was a bit high, and the string gauge was too light for me, but otherwise it felt very good in terms of tension set-up and attention to small details (fret comfort, neck joint, pickup height). All the parts fit together like a dream, and I still to this day can't find any design or assembly flaws. I LOVE the bridge, I've played on almost every bridge under the sun, Kahler flat-mount, Floyd Rose trem, Tune-O-Matics, full fixed, part floating, Edge III, you name it. And this bridge blows all but the very best out of the water for me, it's extremely stable for tuning once you've got the intonation and spring tension sorted. Also it has a very flat, smooth top, so you can palm mute on the saddles comfortably forever.
Features — 8
My GRG170DX was made in June 2009 in Indonesia. It has a double-octave, Medium Size Fret spaced Maple Neck with Rosewood Fingerboard. The Body is Solid Basswood. The Bridge is an Ibanez Fat 10 knife-edge tremolo bridge. It has an H-S-H pickup configuration and all 3 of the pickups are Ibanez' DiMarzio designed Powersound pickups. The pickups and electronics are passive. It has a 5 way blade switch, 1 volume and 1 tone knob. It has 6-a-side non-locking tuners of unknown make. Provided with it when I bought it were: a whammy bar, an allen key for adjusting the truss rod and stickers which can be placed on the control backplate which state the model, colour and have a barcode.