Price paid: £ 200
Purchased from: guitar.co.uk
Sound — 9
I play it through a Line 6 amp at gigs/ rehearsals, which is a match better than ant & dec. My band plays largely metal with rock influences, and it sounds amazing with that sort of stuff. Metal is it's forte, but with minor tweaking to the amp you can make it sing like a Les Paul or gallop like a jackson. It can also pump out some pretty nifty blues sounds through the rhythm pickup. When you turn down the distortion, it keeps its power but retains really clear definition, kind of like the intro- solo to metallica's 'one'. Everything works with this guitar from green day, to johnny cash, to zepellin, to behemoth, it really is the most versatile guitar I've ever seen. Harmonics jump out of it aswell. My only complaint sound-wise is that if your amp is loud enough, and if you don' turn your volume knob down after a song, you'll get a real annoying whiney sound. That said, its easily fixed by muting the strings. The neck pickup is perfect for high end soloing, but it sounds crap when you're beating away at power chords. Complex chords don't sound very clear with the distortion turned up, which is a real problem when playing classic rock/ blues. Other than that the sound's pretty good.
Overall Impression — 10
As I've said, I play loads of metal, similar to iron maiden and metallica, which is a good match in terms of looks and sound. I've been playing for 5 years, and this is as good as I've played. The other guitarist in my band has a Jackson warrior, and we sound bad-ass doing duets. I love my guitar because it looks so awesome and sounds so much more awesome. I was thinking of buying a Jackson rhoads as well, but I'm glad that I got my Ibanez because there's more of a definition between me and my other guitarist. Complaints? I don't like that whining I talked about earlier and complex chords sound real mashed together and undefined. If it got lost, hell YEAH I'd buy it again, it costs 200 and its better than my 400 les paul, which itself is more value for money than you'll find.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is a gnarly little beast. I ABUSE it on stage and off. I'm pretty clumsy and I've dropped it a few times, but it sounds good as new. I kick it at the end of every show, and I've even guitar smashed it once, but somehow it still sounds the same as it did from the box! The tuners do tend to stray a little bit when you play lots of bends/ strum real fast, but they're trusty enough as long as you re-tune every few songs. the strap buttons, as I've said, hold the guitar really sweetly so it's okay to jump/run around the stage. I have an Epiphone Les Paul 100 as well, which I love, but I'd easily use it without a backup. The finish is scratched on the back and there are some chips where I kick it, but it's not that bad.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was set up like a dream at the factory, pickups were perfect! The middle one was/ is slighter lowered to avoid damage when you're galloping or just simply thrashing away at high speeds. The strap buttons, as I've said, are awesome. The jack connector comes loose every so often, but that's an easy fix as well if your twist it back (it probably wouldn't even be a problem if you don't beat your guitar as badly as I do).
Features — 8
This guitar was made in 2006, right before I bought it. I don't remember what type of wood etc. but it had a flush black finish on it. One volume knob and one independent tone knob. There was a five-way selector Switch and two double coil pickups at the bridge and neck. The tuners were non-locking but once you get over the initial hurdle you do with any new guitar, they stay in perfectly. I tend to jump between Standard tuning and drop d quite a lot, but that didn't bring up any buzzing at all. The strap buttons are INSANE, they're twice the size of normal ones and they hold the guitar beautifully, which is awesome for live conditions. It also has an Ibanez bridge with a wammy bar, and it is bloody smooth! The wammy is really easily worked but that can be annoying when palm-muting.