Price paid: £ 700
Purchased from: Merchant Street Music
Sound — 6
The pickups- disappointing. I love Ibanez, but every guitar I've owned has had poor stock pickups. The neck pickup was alright, but for faster playing like Paul Gilbert material it was too cloudy-sounding and didn't cut through/have enough presence. Likewise, the bridge pickup wasn't crunchy enough for my liking and as such I had to replace them. They were comparable to the INF pickups found in entry-level RGs, though thankfully not quite as thin-sounding. I have since swapped them out for a DiMarzio Air Norton in the Neck and Evolution in the bridge - massive improvement! This is also a common pickup combo for this guitar. Now my leads have utmost clarity whilst soloing, and my rhythms have a satisfying crunch that really brings that low B-string to life. I will be rating the STOCK pickups in this section, however. I play a lot of metal and I'm slowly venturing into the instrumental shred styles such as Paul Gilbert and, dare I say it, Rusty Cooley. I won't bullsh-t you with the "I also play jazz and blues" line that I see a lot around here.. I bought this guitar for crunching metal, and that's exactly what it does. In coil-splitting mode it'll sound half-decent for some clean or lightly distorted leads, but it's no substitute for a good ol' Strat. The coil-splitting mode does somewhat redeem the pickups. I'm playing the guitar through my Peavey Vypyr 75 (usually the 6505 model) and Roland Cube amps. As mentioned, the stock pickups were poor and so unfortunately the rating will reflect this.
Overall Impression — 8
I like to play heavy metal (Trivium, Lamb Of God) and the instrumental styles like Paul Gilbert/Racer X and Joe Satriani. With the new pickups, this guitar handles them superbly! It also allows me to use drop-tunings due to the Tremol-No (Drop D and/or Drop A!) and stands up to tremolo-heavy usage in the vein of Steve Vai. I've been playing for around 4 1/2 years and this guitar was something of motivation for myself to take my practice to another level.. Nothing like spending a ton of money to make you use something. I had never played a 7-string prior to this so initially I was comparing it to my RG350. It has similarities, but the instant I touched the RG1527 I knew my RG350 was a mere toy in comparison. I feel that it isn't well-suited for gentler styles, but I knew that when I bought it... It was made for metal, and metal it does. I wish this guitar had come with better pickups installed, and perhaps a matching headstock. If it were stolen or lost, I'd be heartbroken But I'd definitely save up and buy a similar model.. Albeit with superior pickups. As repeatedly mentioned, the pickups are the letdown of this guitar but it is still a magnificent addition to any metal-players arsenal and I am confident that I will rely on it for many years to come.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The most impressive thing about this guitar is the feel- it FEELS professional. I've passed it to metal-hating strat-lovers in college, and even they were impressed by the quality. It feels very substantial to hold, and after owning it for 6 months it has STILL not developed any flaws. I think I've had to make some SLIGHT fine-tunings less than 5 times since then.. Once this guitar is locked in tune, it STAYS in tune! I expect the Tremol-No contributes towards this somewhat, but even when I leave it in fully-floating mode it stays in tune well. The trem is somewhat stiff as a result of having 4 springs and an extra string, but it is easy to control and feels reliable. I'm repeating myself a lot already, but the hardware all feels well-built and solid. This Prestige guitar is undeniable quality! I would have no fears about using this live without a backup and I expect this guitar to last me a LONG time without any problems. The finish did however chip in the tremolo cavity when I accidentally lost my grip on a spring, but this was my own fault.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar arrived in seemingly great condition and setup- nice low action, trem perfectly level and almost spot-on tuning. Intonation was also correct. There were no visual flaws and I honestly found no faults what'soever in the hardware - until a few hours later. While playing, the neck pickup suddenly died. No reason that I was aware of, it simply refused to make any sound from then on. It could have been a simple soldering job, but for 700 you should not have to be fixing a brand new guitar on the first day. The shop I bought from was more than helpful however, and sent down a new one the following day free of charge. This second guitar was setup equally as well and developed no flaws. As mentioned I replaced the pickups soon after, and the tech actually managed to lower the action even further- sweet! As I'm not a heavy trem-user I also had a Tremol-No installed so that I could "hardtail" it but still have trem-use when I crave it. One thing you will love or hate about this guitar- the neck is WIDE and non-uniform, that is it's considerably narrower at the headstock end than the body end. Personally I like this as it feels like a natural progression as you go further up the neck. The fretboard is also VERY flat, which makes for great shredding but somewhat difficult bends I'm going to score this section based on the 2nd guitar, as the 1st was hopefully just an unlucky model.
Features — 9
My guitar is a 2010 Japanese-made (Team J-Craft) RG1527 in Royal Blue colour. It has 24 Jumbo Frets on a Rosewood fretboard, mounted on a maple Wizard-7 neck which has two reinforcing strips running along the back. The body style is of course the RG super-strat style that Ibanez is known for, and is made from basswood. I don't know if this is the correct term for the finish, but would describe it as satin with subtle blue sparkles, somewhat like glitter. The guitar came with passive Ibanez "Vintage" pickups installed in H-H configuration- more on those later. These are controlled via the Ibanez standard 5-way switch, and a volume and tone knob. I'm unsure of the tuner brand, but I believe high-end Ibanez tend to use Gotoh. The bridge is a Ibanez Edge PRO 7 locking tremolo. This guitar was supplied with a deluxe Ibanez Prestige Team J-Craft hardcase with a luxurious lining, various tools in a J-Craft bag and a Prestige manual.