Price paid: £ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Guitar
Sound — 9
I mainly play all variations of heavier stuff, being rock, metal, shred, etc, and this guitar is perfect. The action, even when it's not adjusted, is very responsive to high-speed playing and makes it's easy to play chords, assuming your used to the neck profile. When using the bridge pickup, with distortion, you're able to get a rich, crunchy sound great for metal, and especially palm muting. When clean, the bridge pickup gives you a bright Indie kind of sound so you have the reach of two completely different genres just by taking off distortion. When using the neck pickup with distortion, the sound is much 'hollower', which sounds great when you need that detail in bends and vibrato in solos in the style of Guns N' Roses or Santana. Clean with the neck really brings out the bass side of the guitar with a beautiful full sound which is perfect when used for jazz or other similiar genres that need the fuller side of things. I use my Iceman through a Roland Cube 30X with a Whammy Pedal, using amp distortion only, and it still sounds great! Tapping is easy, attributed to the low action, pinch and natural harmonics are a breeze assuming you have the right technique and the balance of the guitar make it so palm muting the bridge is easier, being right under your picking hand.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, it is very suited to my and other styles of music, using the right setting and pickups, etc. I've been playing about a year now with this guitar being my only in that time, and I don't regret it at all, it truly is a great guitar. Should it be stolen or be broken, I would settle for no less than getting another Iceman, it's just part my my musical life. The only possible downside is the lack of a whammy bar, but I hardly use it, and I have my whammy pedal when needed, so no problems there. Comparing to my Gibson SG, it's a tad heavier and less solid in terms of equipment, meaning that if I was to repeatedly switch both pickup selectors on both guitars simultaneously, the Iceman would give first. The thing I love most about it is probably it's shape, as it's very eye-catching at gigs and among friends, and it's very uncommon to see anything looking so cool, compared to all Strat-style copies. All in all, give it a try and you'll fall in love.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have used this guitar when playing with a band and it holds out excellently, the only downside is that it could be deemed heavier than other mainstream guitars, such as the SG. The finish just seems to be finger marked easily, due to the high glossed finish, so assuming you treat it right, it should be okay. The hardware should last you forever, I have had this guitar for a year, and being a fanatical guitarist, have played it for 6-9 hours every day when possible and the only issue I have had is the loose selector knobs. Strap buttons hold, but just be careful not get the ends of the straps twisted upside down of they can easily come off. If there was no such thing as broken strings, I wouldn't need a backup at a gig with this guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
As stated before, the action the guitar came with was near-perfect for me, and I only changed it because I was curious how easy it would be to do it, which was very easy. I have had absolutely no problems with the pickups themselves, although the volume and tone controls easily come loose and when turned too much, can cut off the electric signal from the pickups and therefore the sound itself. Bridge is fixed and therefore the lack of a Floyd Rose tremollo makes it very easy to re-string. I also use my pickup selector as a killswitch by having one pickup at 0 and the other at 10, and flicking between them. The pickup switch withstands this no problem, although the sound of flicking it is amplified with the sound.
Features — 9
Like many people Who own an Iceman, I was influenced 100% to pick up guitar by Daron Malakian and it's a good thing I was, because this guitar is an absolute dream to own and play. Since buying it about a year ago, I haven't made any modifications except change the strings to Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms and fiddle with the action a bit. It has a relatively thin neck, very suitable for fast movement across the fretboard for shredding, etc, with 22 medium frets. It has a mahogany body with a maple set neck, and comes Standard with a shiny black finish (no pickguard). It has it's own distinctive body shape which won't be found on any other guitar, and comes Standard with a Tune-O-Matic bridge, which can be easily adjusted with a screwdriver, which is handy for people who like to get their action just right. Has two bridge and neck passive humbuckers controlled with a three-way selector Switch located at the top of the guitar, which can be a hassle if you strum too high and switch pickups accidently, but is easier therefore to use a kill-Switch. Two volume control knobs and two tone controls, constructed with a glass-knob style. Non-locking tuners as Standard, but keeps in tune very well when treated with respect, and comes with a hard-case.