Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Drome Sound
Sound — 10
I'll play whatever fits my mood, from metal to blues to jazz to pop, and this guitar does it all. The stock single coils are pretty average. Nothing that stands out, but nothing that's making me rush to get them replaced, even without a tone knob the neck pickup works fine for rolled-back jazzy and bluesy tones. The stock humbucker was pretty damn hot for a stock humbucker, but it was muddy. Replaced it with the Evolution and it sounds amazing, the thick mahogany body gives it a great "chugga-chugga" rhythm sound and does a great job of mellowing the sound when using the coil tap, while leaving just enough trebly bite for funk or strat-rock leads.
Overall Impression — 10
I've only been playing for a year and a half, but I know a good guitar when I play it. Everything about this guitar is perfect for me. The size, the weight, the tremelo, pickups, neck, fretboard, string tension, maybe a little better high-fret access would be nice, but for $200 this guitar was a complete steal! Nothing I've ever played even compares to how this thing feels and plays, it is a true players guitar. It's a shame they had such a short run, because the entire Pro Line series are just amazing, professional-grade guitars at hobbyist/working-guitarist prices.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is the battle-scarred badass of guitars. Finish is missing in places, it has some kind of weird ceramic "patch" in one part from when I got it, no idea what it is. The strap locks were a weird V-shape and tended to come loose, so I just took them out and put some long screws in there, whatever I've dropped it many times, only once hard enough to chip the finish, and the wood remained unharmed. Hell, it's lasted this long, I don't expect it to flake off on me any time soon. I would have no reservations on using this thing without a backup, it is a tank. I could smash an angry audience member over the head with it and just keep on playing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought this guitar used, and I had no idea what to look for. It came with a bowed neck, needing a fret dress, locking nuts, and a bar for the tremelo. I doubt it came like that 19 years ago when it was made. I've fixed up everything with it except the frets, have to find someplace around here that'll do it up right, or maybe put some jumbos in. I don't know fret sizes, but I'd guess these are medium or small, it's nearly impossible for me to raise the pitch of a note at all by putting a lot of pressure on the string when fretting. The pickup wires were left a little long, but it gave me plenty of room to work so I'm not complaining there. It used to be a bit noisy, but I managed to mess up a few things inside when putting the coil tap Switch in so I ended up resoldering all the ground connections and now it's fine.
Features — 10
- Manufactured in Japan (1986) - 22 frets, ebony fretboard on 1-piece oiled maple neck - Mahogany body, standard strat-style shape - Passive pickups in S/S/H Configuration, Ibanez Super 7FT single coils in neck/mid positions, Ibanez IBZ humbucker in the bridge (with coil tap) - Ibanez Edge TopLok III tremelo with locking nut - 5-way selector and 5-button preset system, allowing user to toggle between the 5-way Switch and whatever combination of pickups the user selects with the buttons (coil tap is selectable as well) There are times when I've thought "okay it's time for a better guitar" and I go shopping around and I play everything. Other Ibanez, Gibsons, Fenders, Schecters, Jacksons - absolutely nothing I've tried in any price range feels as right to me as this guitar does. The neck is thin and fast and the ebony fretboard is smooth as silk. The tremelo stays in tune perfectly, but there's no routing to allow you to raise pitch with the bar, but that can be easily fixed. I rarely use the present system, but it's well-located, intuitive, and it actually makes replacing pickups a bit easier IMO. I replaced the stock humbucker with a DiMarzio Evolution (my first guitar mod ever) in no time at all, and later removed the tone knob (also a push on/push off coil tap Switch) and replaced it with just a toggle for the coil tap. My only gripe is that the machine heads are a disappointment and went out of tune pretty easily. It seems like they decided that since they've got the locking nut (which works well enough) then they could cut costs by throwing some cheap tuners on. No matter to me since I have locks now, but I didn't when I first got it and it was pretty damn annoying. They're still better than most low-end beginner guitars though.