Price paid: £ 800
Purchased from: GAK
Features: - 2005-2009 Team J craft Ibanez Prestige
- 24 / Jumbo Frets
- Wizard Prestige 5-Piece Maple/Walnut
- Solid Top, Galaxy black paint finish.
- Basswood Body, Rosewood fingerboard, Maple neck
- Strat Style Body
- Edge Pro Bridge
- Passive V7 and V8 pickups and Piezo.
- Two Volume controls, one for Passives and the other for Piezo. One tone knob for passive. Bass and Treble equalizer for Piezo.
- 5 way Selector. 1=Neck, 2=Split Coil Neck, 3=H+H, 4=coil tap H+H, 5=Bridge.
- 3-Way selector. 1=Neck 2=Humbucker/s + Piezo 3=Bridge
- Gotoh Tuners
- Ibanez Team J.Craft case. // 10
Sound: As you can probably imagine by looking at the amount of selectors and knobs this guitar has, it's a very versatile guitar even with the stock pickups. I currently have installed one Custom 5 bridge pickup, and a hand wound Kent Armstrong "rock"-esque pickup in the neck. And the guitar is able to match any genre from rock to metal and blues and jazz.
The Piezo sounds nothing like an acoustic whilst played on its own, but it does have a characteristic sound. If I would compare it to anything it would be similar to the sound produced from an out of phase pickup. The sound is tinny/sharp and accurate. The addition of the Piezo Equalizer is a great feature because with the guitars ability to combine piezo and humbucking sounds, the piezo equalizer can be used to transform the sound of the humbucker. For example with the selectors in position one for the 5 way switch, and position two for the 3 way switch. This will combine piezo with the neck pickup. To acquire more bass on the neck pickup but not treble, then simply turn the bass up on the piezo equalizer and turn down the treble. The volume can then be altered so that the piezo can either over-take the humbucker's sound or reduced so that it only compliments the humbucker.
Some other useful methods I've found for the piezo are using different picks, metal/bone/plastic etc. All seem have an added effect on the piezo's tone. The guitar also features two output jacks, one for Piezo and the other for Piezo+Humbucking. If using both ports this allows the gutar to output two signals. The guitar features an Edge Pro bridge. I have no complaints with this bridge. When using the whammy bar It stays in tune 95% of the time with 09 strings. When it does go out of tune it's typically only by about ten or so cents.
Some negatives in terms of the sound. There is one major negative I have found with this guitar and that's on the higher frets. On the frets over 12 it simply doesn't have the sustain on the treble strings. The guitar is much more likely to have a "wolf tone" after fret 9. I recommend a sustainer of some sort with the use of this guitar because I'm fairly sure it's not setup/pickup height adjustment related, but more of a build issue with how Ibanez makes some of their guitars. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The action is good. I recommend only using 009 gauge on this guitar if you want good action. I played with 11s but really the guitar didn't seem built for it. It would keep up-bowing even after a truss rod adjustment and the Edge Pro tremolo wouldn't stay in tune as efficiently. I went back to the 9s, and adjusted the neck and lowered the bridge and it was evident that the guitar simply doesn't handle higher gauge strings nearly as well as lower strings. The guitar didn't have any flaws when I acquired it. Everything seemed to be as expected for an Ibanes Prestige model. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This guitar feels solid but I don't believe it would withstand live playing whilst still keeping its good looks. The finish is solid but the body is basswood and easy to put a dent into. I would use this guitar more for recording and home use. But if you don't mind damaging the aesthetics of the guitar then there's no reason not to gig with this beast as the hardware is all solid and well built, weighty premium quality. I believe with the hardware this guitar has it will always work, or at least work for a very long time. But will it always look good? Probably not. // 8
Overall Impression: Good guitar, expensive for an instrument but not expensive when compared to other higher end quality guitars such as ESP/Gibson etc. The guitar feels like it's worth quite a bit, it has a good weight to it for a basswood body guitar.
I think this guitar with all its features is very high maintenance, this is a good and a bad thing. The bridge for example is a Floyd Rose, so it takes more time to fiddle with than a hardtail. The second issue which requires maintenance on this guitar are its features which namely boils down to the Piezo being the main maintenance hog. The piezo construction on this guitar is sort of mind boggling. The wires which connect the Piezo to the saddles are so thin and short and flimsy that they can actually be broken quite easily by a saddle popping loose out of the bridge (which is not uncommon). It's an easy fix as long as you have a soldering iron and some skillz with electronics. But the question is if you have this knowledge and if you're prepared to spend time flaffing about with a guitar which potentially requires a soldiering iron every now and again. If the answer is no then don't buy this guitar as you will spend more time down the Luthiers getting the electronics fixed than on the guitar itself.
Apart from this issue (and the sustain issue) I think this is a insanely full featured guitar for the money. It plays well and has a good Floyd Rose and Piezo system. And is an enjoyable guitar to manipulate sound with. // 9