Price paid: $ 199
Features — 8
- Made in 2013 in China
- 24 frets with 25.5 scale length
- Poplar body (No idea how many pieces are put together since its a low specs model but nice lightweight)
- A GRG Neck according to the website (very close to a Wizard) with satin finish
- Fixed Gotoh style bridge
- Ibanez Passive Infinity R Pickups - HH Config
- 1 Vol, 1 Tone, 3 Way Slector
- Ibanez non locking tuners (not screwless type on higher models)
Overall, this suits my playing and if you are looking for a 7 stringer that won't break your bank then this is the one or you are just looking to buy a cheap guitar for a project. I have been playing guitars for 16 years now and own several guitars. 2 Fender Teles, 4 Strats (and I hate it when people say I play Fenders for metal because of Jim Root because it was my first brand and they were the only guitars I was comfy with) up until 2014 I bought a 2008 Ibanez RGR08LTD and have been playing Ibanez since then for metal and this is my 1st low end Ibanez. Never knew how a GIO sounds in person up till now and this seriously is an awesome decision.
Sound — 7
This was bought based on instinct. I did not try the guitar and there are no reviews around when I got it. I just decided to get a 7 stringer without breaking the bank and saw this online and just went with it. I grew up in the nu metal scene and always wanted one since then. I mostly play heavy metal and usually do it on a 6 string but wanted something heavier. I am playing through a Blackstar HT-5 amp and a tad of boost from the overdrive pedal.
The sound that this guitar produced is very bright but not loosing the low end which is great considering the purpose of getting a 7 is to get the 7th string sound but still maintaining the other 6. The pickups are descent for clean (Neck) but overdriven it sounds meh (could be better) but, considering that this is a $200 7 stringer there is so much possibilities can be accomplished (basically no tears when you do insane modifications on this baby).
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Ok, this is where it gets awesome. The action of this beast is super low and I was never a fan of it but being a 7 stringer and the fact that there is not a single buzz anywhere on the fret makes me not wanting to put it down. The fit are all in place without annoying gaps and the finish of the neck is awesome. It really reminds me of the higher models in the line. The finish of the body is kinda weird cos I got mine in black and there are like these faint sparkles to it and at some angles the look like dust and tricking you to rub it off.
The downside of the finish is the hardware. Since this is a low model in the line, the hardware are the worst. The bridge started corroding (My sweat are bloody acidic), the screws at the pickup mounts also corroded, the tuners always go out of tune and the worst are the knob - it's PLASTIC! But, still what do you expect from a $200 guitar and these are gonna be easy to fix anyway.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I gigged with this guitar twice now since I got it last January (short 1-2 hours gig). It survived eventho being splashed all over by my sweats and rough playing. But, bear in mind that this is after mine is upgraded with Gotoh locking tuners, DiMarzio Cliplock, Switchcraft pots and a DiMarzio Tone Zone 7 in the bridge pickup. And, this is my only 7 stringer since the band was going lower and I am the only guitarist.
The original bridge is still there and so does the other hardware. Hard to believe they survived but still they gotta go soon. Will go for original Gotoh bridge and a pickguard instead of mounting the pups to the ring. To play one without backup? Maybe yes and maybe not. I considered myself lucky before but I'd rather use this for jamming sessions or bedroom use.
Overall Impression — 8
Regarding the guitar, it is a great piece but note this: you would have to upgrade the hardware and electronic to get the best of this beast. 1st impression was this thing has the most ridiculously sexy action I've laid my hands on but once you plug it in, the sound is not terrible but it can be improved so much more. After some minor modifications, this beast sings and those flimsy hardware are replaced and now I am playing it more than its other higher model mates (I have to Squier Strats that are more expensive than this guy making this the lowest of them all).
For those who wondered if they can switch to a 7 from 6. It is super easy to adapt if you are from 6 stringer background and also super easy to tweak. No rocket science. Just a fixed bridge, 1 vol, 1 knob, 3 way, and your tuner. It took me basically less than an hour and be warned that once you are in your 6 stringers will feel like toys in your hands.
If it were stolen/lost I will buy it again IF I don't have the extra cash. But, if I do I would go for an RG7421. In other word, it is NOT that bad. Just that everyone wants higher specs models if they have the extra money. But if you don't this is basically sufficient.