Price paid: $ 460
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 8
I am a hobby player that likes to dabble in everything, and personally I think this can handle anything I throw at it. I currently have it tuned to C Standard and am toying with a subtle sound (a la Cold, whom also play in C), and I love how it sounds! It can also handle much darker and distorted tones with ease. The blackouts complement the guitar beautifully! I have no idea what it sounds like with the stock pickups, mine came with the blackouts already installed. The downside is the lack of tone control, which gets irritating very fast. As for it being noisy... If I'm far enough from the amp this thing doesn't make any hums, buzzes, or feedback. I give it an 8 due to lack of a tone knob.
Overall Impression — 8
As previously mentioned I play just about anything, but mostly alternative and some metal, with a little classic rock. I've been playing on and off for about 5 years, but have gotten serious about it in the last year. I also own a B.C. Rich Beast and a Fender Starcaster, of all my entry-level guitars, this is leaps and bounds my favorite one. If it were stolen, I'd try like hell to get it back because of all the added goodies that came with it. I got about $800-900 worth of stuff for less than 500, so I'd be pretty irked. If I couldn't recover it, I'd save up and buy an MTM1 with SD AHB-3's. I am in love with this guitar but it does leave some things to be desired (tone control, better tuning stability).
Reliability & Durability — 9
Although I've never played a gig with it (like I said I'm just a hobbyist, not in a band), I think it could hold up well under pressure. The strings that were on it when I bought it were old and held up great for another year before replacing them (yeah so I'm lazy, sue me), so I don't think string breakage is an issue (but that may have been just good strings or damn good luck). The hardware looks like the black finish will fade fairly quickly but it's sturdy. The tuning machines are smooth and the fine tuners seem to be built to last. The strap buttons are solid, but just for safety's sake, I'd use strap locks, which also were included with my purchase. For me it's common sense and just smart to always have a backup during a gig. I don't even play gigs, but I have backups just in case something happens that I can't fix right away. I trust this guitar pretty well after owning it a year.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
When I bought it the action was a little rough and the previous owner had fairly large strings tuned to E Standard which stiffened up the neck a bit. After tuning it down and adjusting the bridge, all was well. Tuning stability is just so-so to be honest, I was hoping a double locking setup would be a little more stable. The pickups fit in quite loosely but it's never really been an issue. The finish is black and shiny so every little thing shows up! The painted neck tends to get sticky after playing if my hands are sweating, otherwise it's really smooth. Since I bought it used I don't know if the issues I incurred was the factory's bad or the previous owner's.
Features — 8
- 2009 - 24 frets/ 25.5" scale - Mahogany body/neck, ebony fretboard - Black finish with white binding - Reverse headstock - No inlay markers - Edge FX double locking bridge - Ibanez non-locking tuners - 3 way "blade" selector - Seymour Duncan AHB-1 Blackouts - Volume control only (no tone knob) - Mine included an Ibanez hardshell case and strap locks