Sound — 10
The sound that comes out of the HSH (all DiMarzio evolutions) configuration is bright and clear, It can be manipulated quite excessively from just the tone and volume knobs without a lot of screwing around with the amp controls, which is handy in a live situation where you can't do an easy change between clean and dirty. I play what i'd consider "guitar-ry guitarist music". Paul Gilbert, (Definitely not steve vai of course) Satch, Petrucci etc etc. But play in a metalcore band for kicks.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a good guitar for excelling my ability. Because you have to be good enough for your gear. So time to push myself. I've been playing for 7 years this september and been teaching a clientbase of 50 students weekly for the last 2 years. I don't claim to be an expert but I have a pretty decent knowledge of guitars, and guitar playing. My favorite feature is absolutely the edge bridge with the combination of the Evo pick ups. I wouldn't mind trying a fully scalloped version, that'd definitely be a cool edition. I'd only change the finish to a dipped swirled finish. Cause it's awesome. If this guitar was stolen I'd weep uncontrollably and then steal every other jem in existance so everyone could feel my pain.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I'll gig with this guitar, hopefully not to a crowd who knows Steve Vai... That way i'll avoid the eye rolling that this guitar gets when someone just realises you're a fanboy :). I know the gold will tarnish but that can't be helped.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The factory set up wasn't horrible, It feels very similar to my 87 RG550DY. I'll eventually get it set up properly but as far as getting it out of the box and teaching a bunch of lessons, it did great... Even with a bit of Whammy violation. The claw in the edge routing was done very well, I was impressed with that quite a bit and the finish is perfect, all the hardware is immaculate and will stay that way for awhile until the gold eventually gets tarnished. I noticed a very tiny paint bubble on the underside of the monkey grip, but you can't see it as much as feel it. Nothing to cry to Ibanez about. The volume and tone knobs feel very stiff at the moment, I'm curious to know if it'll eventually ease up with the more use it gets.
Features — 10
This particular model is a 2010, with the newly reissued 'edge' bridge which is lovely and sturdy, it has a 24 fret neck with the last 4 frets scalloped. The purpose of which is extra grip into bends and easier fretting (although it takes a little bit of getting used to). The Prestige Jem neck is very touchable, very flat but not brittle. Enjoy the alder body, which feels very well weighted and doesn't give the impression of a heavy guitar. The monkey grip handle is useful for getting it out of the nice tight J craft hardcase that it comes in, and also useful for doing silly poses.