Price paid: $ 2104.5
Purchased from: Sounds Great Music
Sound — 9
The PAF Pro's in this guitar are absolutely wild. I play with a Marshall TSL112, and with the volume cranked up there's no stopping me, even when the neighbours complain. The neck pickup provides an excellent tone for playing leads, as well as providing plenty of bite for meaty riffs. Rolling down the volume reduces the gain considerable so strumming lightly distorted chords or playing twangy overdriven solos like Jonney B Goode. Unlike my old guitar, the tone remains bright and sharp, without degrading into a mush mess. Although the bridge pickup is the same, the variation in tone is incredible. It offers a smooth lead tone, excellent for shreddin', legato, or slow smooth bends. Roll down the volume on this pickup and get some cool blues tones. The middle pickup is not very good for distorted settings, but it's not meant to be right? This makes an astonishing clean sounding pickup, with its single coil construction mirroring the bell like tones of a Strat. I mentioned that this pickup is not very good at distortion, well, I lie. Roll down the volume even on high gain settings, whack the middle pickup on and enjoy the funky tones. However, watch out as on high gain settings this pickup squeals like a pig.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar makes playing the guitar a dream. I have been suffering with a Les Paul Copy for some years, trying to master Paul Gilbert licks and Vai runs, but now I can practice comfortably. Unfortunately I have started getting more into jazz so a hollow body would be nice, but I don't think I'll ever get bored of playing rock. I have been playing around 6/7 years now, so having a guitar that is good for practicing technique and genuinely sounds good is very useful. If it were to be thieved, which is highly likely as it looks so damm good, then I would buy another without a second thought, might go for the trans red version though, bit more lively eh. I have played by guitar teachers Suhr, made custom for him, and I think that my guitar is better. I suppose he has got an arch top whilst mine is only flat, and that he has grade AAA maple in, but for my style of playing and the sounds that I want, I feel that I have spent a lot less on my perfect guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't played this guitar Live yet, well, apart from a school production of 'Joseph', but that is barely a gig. However, with its hard case, I see no problem of it getting damaged in transit. Although the finish is beautiful and I will hate the day when it gets scratched, it's going to happen some day. However, unless it's a fairly hard knock, then the finish can withstand small 'scrapes' on buttons or belts without a sign of damage. The Edge Pro is fantastic, and I don't think it will ever let me down in a Live situation. I have been learning the beat it solo with the mad whammy bar dives in at the start, when I came to do a recording today, only one string was out of tune by a fraction. The strap buttons are really big, so there's no danger of the guitar falling off, but just to be safe I have the rubber bits off Grolsch bottles. The only part of the guitar that is wearing a little thin is the finish on the Edge Pro system. It comes in a rather cool blacky chrome colour, but it is wearing off leaving the chrome undercoat. I suppose this is probably only natural when you play ever daymaybe I just have sweaty hands.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar came with a bit of a warped neck, but that was from transit from the guitar shop I bought to my school (as I bought it through school VAT free). However, they are nice guys at Sounds Great and are going to set it up again free of charge. Saying that, I have tweeked the settings to get rid of the bend in the neck and all is well at the moment. The pickups have obvious signs of ajustment with the pole pieces being at different heights. This is a good thing as there is a smooth transaction when swapping strings. The quality of the wood is good, I am no expert but I do not think it is the best of all, however, with any natural wood guitar, it has a certain character that is unique to my guitar, and I like it. The guitar came with a dint in the underside, however, along with the set up, the guys at Sounds Great said that with the varnish, they can easily melt it and polish it to as good as new. Everything else was spot on.
Features — 9
I am unsure about when this guitar was made, as details are no longer listed on the Ibanez website, and from the conservations I have had with staff members in Sounds Great Music, the guitar has been discontinued. However, it is still possible to purchase this guitar off GAK (www.guitarampkeyboard.com). Being a Prestige model, this guitar is built to a very high Standard of Precision and accuracy, and I do believe that it was made in Japan like the J Custom series. In fact, on the GAK website it is advertised as a J Custom, but comes with a Prestige headstock, and after I researched a little, some places say that on the continent guitar was marketed as a J Custom, where in Britain it is marketed as Prestige. Prestige or Custom, it is still a fantastic display of engineering. It comes with 24 jumbo frets, rosewood fret board (with option of maple being the RG3270 M), and being an Ibanez, a wafer thin maple neck. The body of the guitar is made out of mahogany which is topped with flamed maple, giving a blend of warmth and a crisp top end, as well as looking stunning. I bought the 'deep black' model, which features a slightly translucent blackish varnish over the mahogany, that turns purple is brighter lights. The mahogany top is varnished the same colour around the outside but lighter in the middle, giving the 'burst' effect. The body has a binding round the edge, well; a clear varnish has been applied so that the edges look a shiny pale wood colour. Edge Pro Bridge installed for whammy bar frolics (obviously a locking trem system too), and loaded with Dimarzio 2 PAF Pros in bridge and neck position and a Dimarzio Blue Velvet in the mid position (5 way selector to access all these sonic possibilities). Finally, a rather nice case included that can be locked which is great for taking it to school so the little brats can't touch it.