Price paid: $ 199
Purchased from: MusiciansFriend.com
Sound — 9
This guitar suits my playing style perfectly. The light, fast neck is perfect for playing blistering-fast leads, and the great (but noisy) pickups are great for metal (my playing style). I use the bridge for just about everything. Occasionally, for more soulful leads, I will use the neck pickup and roll the tone back, for the trademark "woman tone" that Eric Clapton and Slash love so much. When palm muting, the pickups sound very chunky, which are great for those metal breakdowns! The selector Switch is very noisy and tends to make the body springs vibrate. On a clean setting (through my Marshall MG10CD amplifier), this guitar sounds very bright and shimmery, great for Acoustic-like tones. The neck pickup is very full and rich. This guitar is pretty versatile, sound-wise. You can use the bridge pickup to play fast leads and rhythm chunk, or Switch to the neck pickup and roll the tone back for a beautiful Slash-like tone.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, I LOVE this guitar. It's a great match to my playing style. I have been playing about a year and a half. I own a Marshall MG10CD amplifier and an Ibanez WD7 Weeping Demon Wah-Wah Pedal. I didn't buy the product myself, so I guess there wasn't much to ask before it was purchased. If it were lost or stolen, I would probably pony up for a much higher quality guitar later on (I've had my eye on the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR guitar). I love this guitar so much. I love the sounds I can pull out of the stock pickups, although I will probably upgrade to EMG pickups or a better guitar before this thing croaks. I can't stand for the life of me, the FAT10 tremolo. If I were ever to change anything about this guitar, I would either put a fixed bridge on it, or route a new cavity and install a Floyd Rose. My favorite feature of this whole guitar is the pickups. The sounds are so versatile that I can use it for everything from soft rock, to REALLY HEAVY METAL. I did not compare it to other products as I didn't make the purchase, it was kind of a surprise thing. If there's anything I wish it had, it would be locking tuning heads, an Edge tremolo, and active pickups. Other than that, this is probably the best bang for your two-hundred bucks!
Reliability & Durability — 5
Personally, I've never played it live (soon though, soon), but I don't think this guitar would stand up to a Live gig, especially for the genre it's been designed for. I have No Doubt that something would come loose and fall out (the intonation knobs) or the tremolo would break. The guitar seems very likely to break in some way. The hardware seems to be leaning towards the "I'm not going to last very long" side. The tremolo is very crooked, the pickups are crooked, and the tuning knobs don't hold tuning very well. The strap buttons are solid, however. I can depend on this guitar when playing at home, but on the road, I would definitely play this guitar, but I would probably have another as a backup.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The action was great right out of the box. Pretty much as close as you can get to the fretboard without getting fret buzz. The pickups were set up a little low on the body for my taste, so I raised them later for a little more kick. The pickups did become crooked over time. The one thing that really bothered me about this guitar was the tremolo. It's almost impossible to get from one tuning to the other without wonking your tremolo (or your tuning). The intonation knobs (with the allen wrench holes) came loose and fell out pretty quickly, never to be found again. The bridge was properly routed, although the bridge, when looking at it properly, was cocked to one side of the body. The controls were nice and tight, although the pickup selector is quite noisy and tends to vibrate the body cavity springs.
Features — 8
This particular guitar was manufactured in the year 2000 in Indonesia, according to the serial number. This guitar features 24 jumbo frets, a rosewood fretboard, and a 25.5" neck scale for that trademark lightning-fast RG neck feel. It's top is laminated. This guitar has a comparatively lightweight agathis body and a maple neck. My model was purchased in solid black, with what appears to be a shiny lacquer on top. The body style is typical of all RG-series guitars, the trademark Ibanez Super Strat style. The bridge appears to be an Ibanez-designed Fender-style tremolo, named the FAT10. Not a Floyd Rose or Edge tremolo by any stretch of the imagination, it causes the guitar to fall out of tune VERY easily, as it is a non-locking tremolo. The electronics are all passive. With this guitar, you get a single volume knob, a single tone knob, and a 3-way blade pickup selector switch. The pickup configuration is double humbucker, featuring two noisy, but chunky Ibanez-designed pickups, an INF3 in the neck, and an INF4 in the bridge. The tuners appear to be Ibanez-brand and are non-locking. This guitar came with a tremolo bar, allen wrench, tremolo springs, and a guitar cable.