Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
The guitar suited my musical interests yet has shown surprising versatility as I play anything from metal to Acoustic. However I wouldn't recommend playing things like country as it is more or less the polar opposite of country. I mostly use it with my Line 6 Spider III 120 Watt but occasionally use my first amp, the Fender Frontman 15G 15 Watt. The tone on either is great for an intermediate player with a very bassy neck pickup and a bridge pickup that is somewhere in the middle ground.
Overall Impression — 9
I mostly play metal and Acoustic so this guitar really works for both. The Strat-style body is ergonomic yet sexy and the finish is simple and beautiful. The only real thing I wish I had given thought to is that the black finish shows every little fingerprint or smudge. I have only been playing 3 years and the only other gear I have owned prior to this is a crappy Squier Starter Kit so there is fairly little to compare it to. If it were stolen/ lost I would probably buy a better model as I have had it a while and am looking into getting a more advanced model. I compared it to a slew of other models but this provided the best fusion of functionality and price.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar seems like it could be dropped 10 feet and not break and the finish is thick enough that it would definitely take a beating and come out shining just as bright as the Ultra-reflective black was before that. The strap buttons seem like they used drywall screws to secure them and I can't see a failure happening ever. This is a very dependable guitar and while it isn't smart not to bring a backup, I could risk it and still feel somewhat secure about it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The first (floor model) one of these I got was a little worn as it had been being played for probably a year before I bought it. The new one I had to order in however had a perfect action for me, which is a bit higher than most guitars. The pickups needed a bit of calibration but didn't cost me anything and its to be expected in one fresh from the factory. Like all Ibanez's the craftmanship is impeccable and even after roughly 13 months nothing has failed in any way.
Features — 9
My particular model is an '08 and manufactured in Indonesia. 24 extra jumbo frets make playing intricate songs easy and the Ultra-wide, Ultra-shallow neck takes a while to get used to but ultimately gives you an extremely comfortable feel. The two "EMG" passive humbuckers don't really sound the best but even so, for the price I paid the tone truly is one of the best sounding and affordable in its price range. Originally I had to get a floor model and it had an irreversibly cross threaded washer on the input and this setup had no accessories. However Guitar Center was pretty cool about trading it in for a Brand New model once one was shipped in and even threw in a free strap and gig bag.