Purchased from: MF
Features — 9
I think I bought this in 2007. Made in Japan. 3-Piece mahogany neck, mahogany body in the offset shape, tortoise guard on both sides of the string path. pearl block inlays, 22 medium frets, Gibraltar II hardtail bridge. One Artcore Humbucker Blade pickup. One volume control, no tone, no switching or coil tapping. Nice and simple. Non-locking tuners but the intonation and tuning stability are good. Excellent gig bag, in fact the best I've ever seen for a stock gig bag coming with a guitar of this price - maybe any price. The bag is stiff and stable, plenty of padding, and it rides very well over the shoulder.
Sound — 8
Sounds great for punk rock and progressive rock. Less suited to classic rock, blues, etc though I can make any guitar work in any style with the right attitude :) YMMV. As it's a single pickup in the bridge position it emphasises highs and high mids over lows and low mids. You need to EQ it with pedals or pre-amps if you want to get anything other than the TMV guitar style. I wish it had richer harmonics but that's a fault of the rail humbucker, can't expect the kind of harmonics you would get from single coils, which are the pickups I generally use.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Nice, tough gig bag as has been noted. I dig the looks. It came set up very well, good action. Very flat radius, which as a Fender guy took a little getting used to. I've been playing it nearly six years now and it's pretty sturdy, except for perhaps the nut - see Reliability & Durability below. Pickup was adjusted perfectly. Ditto for the bridge. Good intonation, very solid tuners.Other than the nut problem (see below), it has held up very well under unusually rough conditions, ie from desert to tropic climes.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I hadn't heard there were problems with the nut (I since have) but in the very first week I was gigging with the guitar the plastic nut broke in two. I had never had a guitar nut break while performing. I was playing with a progressive cumbia band from Mexico City and the tunes required a lot of fierce choppy strumming. But still I thought it was weird. While the Ibanez was with my tech getting a new nut installed, I used a Fender Will Ray Jazz-a-Caster, a guitar I've been playing steadily for the last 10 years, with the same band. And the nut broke! So I broke two nuts on two different guitars in two weeks. So in my case, I blame the music I was playing in that particular musical situation. I compensated afterwards by turning up the guitar volume and trying to hit the chords more softly and never had another problem.
Overall Impression — 9
The main reason I bought the ORM-1 was because it is so light, and with the short-scale neck it it shorter than the average electric, perfect for taking on tours that involve rough travel, changing vehicles often, etc. It has a very tough gig bag, unlike most of the wimpy gig bags that come with low- to mid-priced instruments. Because it's a single pickup in the bridge position, in the rail humbucker stule, the sounds you get straight into an amp are limited. So you need to EQ it with pedals or pre-amps. I can do OK without pedals using pick position and attack. But this guitar was built for multiple effects a la Omar.