Price paid: £ 130
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 6
The guitar has a single loud pickup and only one volume control so customization of the sound has to be done with effects (which is how Omar apparently does it). There seems to be a bit of disagreement as to if this pickup is a single or a hum-bucker. If forced to commit I would say it's probably a humbucker. The pickup is not particularly noisy but can pick up my watch if I hold it nearby. I play mainly clean or warm overdrive (e.g. classic rock) and tend to play through a Blackstar HT1. I do like the power of the pickup - it means that you can set it half way and tweak it if you want to change your tone whilst playing. Through the HT1 it sounds quite good but not as good as I have heard some YouTube videos - I think it probably needs a bit of boosting via pedals.
Overall Impression — 7
For me the weak point of this guitar is its strap (which is fixable if you don't mind drilling). Otherwise it is an incredibly high quality guitar (even for 300) that could be kept and played as a family heirloom. Its tone isn't too bad and the pickup does go pretty loud so you have the headroom to twiddle. In black I think it is a bit too subtle looking very similar to other guitars (Strats etc) to the layman anyway - in white it's much more showy and I regret not buying one in this colour (although the black is very deep and lustrous so some might like it). Video from YouTube:
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have read some reports of problems with the nuts on these guitars but I haven't had a problem. Overall it looks like one of the better and more solid guitars I have owned. In particular the wood is very dense and is very unlikely to ding whilst the neck feels strong. Fittings seem high quality and the electrics are simple. I really don't expect any problems. The only thing I can say against it is the very poor positioning of the front strap button (behind the neck) which causes the whole thing to fall forward unless held when played on a strap. I am guessing this is by design of Omar but that is one of those things that is going to have to be fixed as it is just irritating. My RGX sits so much more comfortably at the moment.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I have had a few mid price guitars (including Yamaha, Steinberger & Gibson) and I can honestly say that this is the nicest finished and best setup. It really does look like a quality guitar (Mine is the 2008 Black Model) and the wood, neck etc are really well made. The whole thing seems really solid whilst the black finish is deep and the pearloid inlays are beautifully done. I think the bridge is a step up from the Gibson Junior type. Possibly the only thing that's a bit strange is the headstock which is an old style shape and the Ibanez writing looks a little strange. It also comes with a real nice Gig Bag. I don't "think" it's real leather but it fits the guitar real well and makes you know that what's inside should be special.
Features — 8
The Ibanez ORM1 is a signature model for Omar Rodriguez Lopez (of The Mars Volta). I had never heard of them but there are plenty of YouTube videos... It's a short scale electric Guitar (like a Jaguar or Jet King) and has a significantly smaller body than say a Pacifica 112. However it is fairly heavy being apparently made in Mahogany with a Mahogany neck. It has a fixed bridge and a single double blade pickup. Not entirely sure what it is but it picks up a little more noise than I would expect from a Humbucker. It also only has one volume control (no tone). The quality of finish is really good. Much better than a guitar costing 300 to 400 and mine has a very deep black finish. Similarly the setup is absolutely perfect.