Sound — 10
I use this guitar on a Crate 1X12 practice amp and a Marshall Valvestate halfstack with no effects. It sounds great with just my built in distortion and reverb, very little hum. The volume does drop a bit when you tap over to single coil, but I compensate by having the volume on the guitar at 7 or 8 when using humbuckers, and full blast when tapping to single coil. The one complaint I have about the coiltaps: when tapped, the half of the 'bucker that is closest to the center is active. I wanted to get a bridge single coil twang with mine, but since there's a good 3" between the bridge and the active half of the pickup, the sound is a little fuller than I would like. I will probably just end up rotating the pickup 180 degrees. Switching the taps IS noticeable when playing alone so I don't recommend recording a Switch, but Live should be fine. The coil taps combined with the 3 way selector gives 12 different combinations for tone on the guitar alone, not to mention what you change on your amp. It can play everything, literally everything, from punk, ska, hard rock, funk (all of which I play), to blues, jazz, soft rock anything. This guitar even does handle light metal, tho it isn't really set up for dropped tuning, and doesn't look very edgy.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar is GREAT, though hard to find since it was discontinued. I play punk, hard rock, funk a la RHCP, and some light metal, and it does it all. I've been playing for 7-8 years, and have an Ibanez RG120, Ibanez Detroyer (Explorer Mock), a Squire Strat, and a myriad of acoustics. It's safe to say that due to the coil taps in this unit, I'll never play the squire Strat again. I'd recommend this to any intermediate guitarist, though if you only play Death Metal, your band might make fun of you for the way this axe looks. It may be a little tricky for beginners due to the coil taps, odd placement of the pickup selector, and the sheer weight. Everything on it is what I expected. I almost bought a Jaguar HH, but the wiring of the switched confused the hell out of me, so the simple taps on this were a godsend. It's cheaper than the jag, lighter, and WAY simpler to get the tone you want. It's now my main guitar, and I would easily pay $500 or more to get it back if it was lost/stolen, since they are being discontinued. I love everything about this guitar, the look, playability, durability, everything! I might turn my bridge pickup around but that's it. My favorite brand has delivered once again, thanks Ibanez! I love you!
Reliability & Durability — 8
The guitar, bridge, tuners, and pickups all seem like they will last. When I got this guitar, the tone knob had cracked toward the bottom where the numbers are. it still worked, but looked like hell and will for sure carve up the pickguard. I called the retailer and they are sending me a new knob, which can easily be replaced with the right allen key. The strap buttons are very solid, but since straps can wear out I will use simple straplocks. I plan on using this guitar live a lot, and due to it's versatility I doubt I would Switch to another. The only reason I would have a backup is in case of a string breaking or total tuning switch.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The ax was setup perfect out of the box. The action was great, input jack was secure, pickups were a good height and all the strings were set properly. The finish was spotless on the front and back of the unit, although I'm already sure the back will get carved up with belt rash (my other Ibanez has a trem system, and has a big plastic plate where my belt is). The guitar is heavier than a Strat-style, but no heavier than an Explorer or Les Paul, and like all other Ibanez I've played, it doesn't tip downward when you aren't holding the neck. The only downside is the pickguards. They are real flat and had no scratches, but the edges are really rough, as though it was cut from sheet plastic and slapped on the guitar without any sort of sanding or smoothing. But you can only notice it when you are playing, so I guess it isn't that bad.
Features — 9
First the basics: mahogany body and maple neck. Made in Indonesia in 2007. 22 Med frets. Cool offset triangle inlays. TuneOMatic bridge with a string-thru body. Unique silver tailpeice where strings meet the body. One volume knob, ont tone knob, 3 way selector. Neck pickup is covered humbucker, bridge pickup is uncovered. Now, the real KICKER of this guitar are the coiltaps. The taps split the humbuckers into single coil pickups, so you can get the crunch of any humbucker guitar and the twang of a Strat in ONE GUITAR. Since I wasn't able to find out how to work them, I had to experiment a bit (the manual is pretty cryptic), and found the secret: when the switches are pointed down (away from the strings), the pickups are in single coil mode; when up (toward strings), humbucker mode!