Price paid: A$ 170
Purchased from: Second Hand
Sound — 8
I play blues-rock (Clapton, Santana, Berry) and classic rock (AC/DC, etc), a little classic metal (Iron Maiden, etc) as well. I use a Vox Pathfinder 10w practice amp, and an ancient Yamaha 50w solid-state when I want to go louder. The pickups are really good for a cheap guitar, you can actually tell the difference between the 5 Switch positions. The neck is bright(ish) and clear(ish) (be real, you're not going to get Fender Strat tones from a $200 guitar) as is the middle, and the humbucker gives some thickness and volume. On the whole, it's a thoroughly decent-sounding guitar for someone starting out, and equally good for an intermediate player to get some decent sounds out of. It's not amazing, and it's not as good as a Fender or Gibson, but I think it holds it's own against some Squiers and Epiphones if you know what you're doing.
Overall Impression — 8
As above, I play blues-rock, classic rock and a little classic metal, and it does all of these relatively well. The pickups aren't amazing, but you can get a good sound out of them if you know what you're doing. I've been playing for about a year, and I also own an SX Telecaster. If it was stolen or lost I'd probably buy something else, but I do love this guitar, it's been great to learn on. I'm probably going to upgrade some of the parts instead of buying a new guitar, I'm looking at an electrical upgrade and putting some DiMarzo or Seymour Duncan pickups in. Overall, I would recommend this guitar to anyone wanting to learn, Ibanez still releases a starters pack with this guitar, and it's a good purchase. A second-hand one will most likely still be solid and good to play as well. It's nothing fancy, but it's good and simple and solid, exactly what you want when starting out.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is Solid. I think you could drop it and the floor would take more damage. The strap buttons are solid, the neck is tight and solid, even though it's a bolt-on, everything is really well designed and put together. It's not fiddly, so it's perfect for people starting out. I think it'd handle live playing, but if you're good enough to play live then you probably would have upgraded. I'd use it for small gigs or as a secondary guitar, but it's really a learner's guitar more than anything.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I haven't't had any problems with this, even though I bought it second-hand it was in as new condition. I don't use the tremolo so it stays in tune pretty well, I like the tuners as well. Everything was in great condition, and has stayed in great condition over the year I've had it.
Features — 7
Made in Indonesia in 2007, (I think), Cherry red finish, bolt-on 22 fret neck with truss rod, rosewood fretboard. Don't know the wood, but it's heavy, as heavy as my telecaster. Strat-style body, 6-saddle tremolo bridge, 5-way pickup selector, 1 volume and 1 tone knob. Single-Single-humbucker pickups. Nothing fancy, but it's solidly built and well put together, great for a beginner.