Price paid: $ 175
Purchased from: Used
Features — 9
When I bought the Ibanez RG320FM used it was in a standard configuration and had a couple of minor problems. It was pretty far out as far as the intonation goes and had a couple of cracked string retention screws on the bridge. I took it to Elderly Instruments for a set up and intonation. They rolled the edges of the neck and dressed the frets as well as properly setting the intonation. I have changed the pickups recently to a JB and Jazz Seymour Duncan. Huge difference. I always liked the 5 way switching set up and the neck, but felt the guitar just didn't have a great sound. Now it may be my favorite guitar of the 6 I currently have. I like the way the body conforms to me when I am playing. Either seated or standing it is very comfortable and lightweight. I'm not a divebomber so I don't use the trem much. I leave it unblocked because I like that kind of "Springy" feel like I get with my strat. (I swear that is why so many players fall in love with their Strats.) The only downgrade is the cheap hardware and tuners.
Sound — 10
The Seymour Duncan Hotrodded Humbucking set ($99 on sale a Guitar Center) has literally brought this guitar to life. It just screams on the JB Bridge pickup and I can get all the squeals and harmonics I was looking for. The neck is rich and throaty with a kind of "woody" tone much like the sound of the guitar when it is not plugged in (which is very sweet and resonant). This is now the first guitar I reach for. I think the lightweight Basswood of the body gives the guitar very nice string articulation vs. The dark sound of a mahogany body. I can add the "Dark" back in with pedals and still get clear string resonance.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Factory action and set up was weak. Elderly turned this from a poorly finished model into an excellent and playable musical instrument. I have to say I love the Wizard III neck. Fast and flat. Wider everywhere than my '68 Tele, American Strat and Schecter Classic but kind of feels roomy and expressive. I have no problem making the transition from one to the next guitar, and I play all 6 regularly. Great access to the upper register. The cool thing is that once I had this guitar properly set up, it has remained rock solid ever since.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Finish appears solid. I have had this one about 5 years and the only dent is the one it came to me with where someone had dropped it pretty hard. The neck has a very light satin finish that I think is the best of all but my old Tele. It is rock solid electronically with OK 500K pots and the best 5 way switching configuration on the market. This is kind of my knock-around guitar that I drag all over the house. The finish is holding up well and the neck has remained straight and true. I have put straplocks or the oval strap buttons on my other guitars, but the large strap buttons on this one are pretty dependable.
Overall Impression — 10
Buy this guitar for the great access to the upper frets, wonderful fast neck and superb switching configuration. Then have the frets dressed and the neck edges rolled by a pro. Add a pair of Seymour Duncan's or other custom pickups and you will have a serious rock machine that can hang with any other guitar you run into. It is lightweight and fits into your body fluidly making it a dream after 45 minutes of playing. Tis has been a great investment. $175 for the guitar used, 99 for the Pickups and $92 for the neck work at Elderly. For $376 I have a rockin' guitar that I will never part with.