Price paid: $ 90
Purchased from: Daddys Junkie Music
Sound — 8
The sound is downright monstrous. I usually play drop and down tuned metal and hard rock and this can pump out the tones I want. But also dialing back the volume can give a very good AC/DC or even Steppenwolf sound. Currently I only have a crappy Fender SP-10 amp, planning on getting a Mustang I. The only noise I get from it is just from a faulty ground, but my palm is usually on the base of the Bridge readdy to palm-mute so it's not really a problem for me. The sound of the Bridge pickup is very full and bright and very articulate, while the neck needs some work. It's very rumbly, has a lot of low end, but it does sound very rich, and set right I get a good solo-ish sound out of it (which surpirses the hell out of me). Both together give a great Acoustic sound in clean and I also use that for when I play the intro to "Thunderstruck". The variety of the sounds I can get is impressive, the squealies are slightly quieter than I like, but they do stand out. An eight because it is very versatile and fits my style perfectly.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I was very impressed. It definitly is a versatile metal axe. I've been playing for about 2 years now. I only own the starcaster I wrote a review about and the accessories that came with it and 2 Acoustic guitars. The only thing I wish I had asked before I bought this was is there anything better for the same price only because that store happened to be going out of business. If it was stolen I would get another guitar only because this one is part of a pack and I don't want to spend about $75 on stuff I need and about $225 on a guitar I can get for $100. I love the versatility and the shape. I hate the busted tone knob, my favorite feature is the set-thru bridge. I have compared it when I was at Guitar Center to an Epiphone SG Special, another Ibanez GRG, and a couple ESPs, I chose this one because I could afford it at the time and, although I prefered other Ibanez I used, this one felt right. I only wish it had a working tone knob and a second volume knob.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have never played live, but I plan on doing so with either of my current bands. The hardware does seem durable, like most Ibanez guitars, and will last the life of the guitar. The strap buttons are very solid, it was near impossible to get the strap on and nothing I do can pull it back off so I think a nice guitar swing just to show off shouldn't hurt it too much. The finish is very thick, very durable, I have dropped this many times and it has obviously been dropped before because of the chip on the headstock, but there are no problems with the finish what so ever, I think the only thing that could do damage to it would be a sander. A seven because I haven't played it live but it really seems reliable.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
As I have said, I got this used so I can only imagine what the previous owner has done, as for when I bought it, the action was set perfectly and I haven't had to change it yet. The pickups needed to be straightened and I had to reposition them, but most likely just from the other owner not knowing what to do. The only flaws were loose tuning heads, but a screw driver can easily fix that, and a bad tone knob, it doesn't change the tone until its all the way at 1-0. But the rest of the guitar is fine. A six because I like using the tone knob.
Features — 8
Mine was made in China, but unfortunately I don't know the year. It has 22 medium frets. A solid top with a basswood body and a 24.7" scale maple neck. It comes in one finish, a black laquor with slight Diamond dust, it looks really awesome in the right light. The cutaway design allows access to the higher frets but the other side of the body tends to stop your thumb and restrict access slightly, but not too much. The Bridge is a string-thru which gives great sustain. It is also kind of large and clunky, but I like the look and feel of it, it gives a better surface to place my palm. The electronics are definitely passive, I now know the difference(after my first review and all the ridicule I looked up what they were). It comes with one volume and one tone control plus a 3 way selector. The pickups are two ceramic Ibanez humbuckers in the neck and bridge. The tuners are non-locking and are not specified as to the make, I'm guessing they're Ibanez like the rest of the guitar. I got this used but it is usually in a $300 starter pack with a strap, amp, cable, tuner, picks, ect. An 8 because it looks cool and has all the features a person wants.