Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
This is my main guitar that I play metal on [thrash and power metal]. I use this guitar with my Roland Cube 15X amp on the Metal Stack channel. The pickups sound great through this amp and the tone definitely works well for the styles I play. I can get a fat, dark sound with the treble at 5 and with the bass at 8. A nice, punchy, bright sound can be made with the treble at a high setting and the bass turned down. The cleans are OK, but sounds too electric, even on the neck pickup. They are the best with the amp EQ at 120 o'clock. The lead tone on the neck pickup is brilliant. I really like the mellow sound I get from that while soloing.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar definitely suits the styles of music I play [metal]. I've been playing for 4 years now and I also own a Stagg L350 and a cheap Strat copy. I play both of these with my Roland Cube 15X. Before I bought this guitar, I wish I played around with the tremolo more, as it goes out of tune easily [not much of a problem for me, considering I don't use tremolo bars much]. If this guitar was stolen, I would probably buy the same model again. My only wishes are that there would be a better tremolo, more volume/tone knobs and a black scratchplate.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I think this guitar would withstand live playing. It has endured an 8 hour flight and long car journeys, so it should be able to withstand gigs. I do not think I would need a backup at a gig with this guitar. The strap buttons are fine, but I put on some straplocks just to be on the safe side - I will not risk damaging this guitar. I've had this Ibanez for nearly 2 years, and the finish still looks great. I do clean it now and then to keep dirt away.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I do not think this guitar was set up very well. The intonation was out and the pickups were too low. I had to get out my screwdriver after purchasing to fix this. Everything else, including the action, was fine. The red finish looked great. Definitely eye-catching. The hardwear was fine too. I did not find anything wrong aesthetically.
Features — 8
This red superstrat guitar was purchased from Guitar Center when I was on holiday in the US and has the following features: - Agathis body - 24 fret 3 piece maple neck [Wizard II neck] and rosewood fretboard - 2 humbucker pickups [INF3 in the neck position and INF4 in the Bridge position] - 3 way pickup selector switch - 1 tone and 1 volume control - A FAT10 tremolo bridge I would have liked a black scratchplate and another volume and tone knob, along with a better tremolo. A different Bridge would have been nice, considering everytime I use the bar the guitar goes out of tune. Not much of a problem, considering I don't use tremolo bars much.