Price paid: $ 323
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
This guitar is perfect for the style I play, which is experimental fusion type rock, mixed with post hardcore punk. I'm currently using a Line 6 Spider III (and no I do not use the "insane" channel) with an Ibanez TS-9, Boss DS-1, and Dunlop Crybaby wah. So far I've really enjoyed the sound, though the single coil can be noisy (which is to be expected from stock pick ups). The IF-3 is nice and smooth and the IF-4 has a nice crunchy sound. The IF-3s is decent, but noisy (mostly with a decent amount of gain behind it), though it's nice and bright. This guitar is perfect for lead and rhythms playing. In a clean channel it can still get pretty crunch with the bridge pick up, but it can also produce nice clean acoustic-like tones with neck or the neck/mid pick up combination. In a distorted channel the guitar is perfect for some forms of metal and hard rock. Like I said I use it for fusion/progressive playing styles.
Overall Impression — 8
Like I said throughout my review, this guitar fills my needs for my style and wacky way of playing. I've been playing for four years now and I think this has been my best buy so far. I own an Ibanez IJX40 (a GIO model), a Line 6 Spider III, an Ibanez TS-9, a Boss DS-1 and NS-2, and a Dunlop crybaby wah. Also I used to own an Epi Les Paul std. I feel before I went and bought the guitar I did enough research, I looked at what I was playing and what type of sound I needed and this guitar has filled those needs. I don't think there was any looming question when I made the buy (I also compared it to a similar model, my friends RG350MDX). If this were stolen I'd cry myself to sleep and then go out and buy a new one. I feel this guitar is a step closer to the perfect guitar I've been looking for. As of now it's my baby and I wouldn't want to see it stolen. I think the things I love most about this guitar is just how well made it is and the finish. I'm not sure if there is something I hate yet. And so far my favorite feature has definitely been the Edge III tremolo, nice and close to the body and stays in tune pretty well. Before buying this I thought about several Schecter models and ESP LTD models, but overall the quality of this guitar and the fact that it had passive pick ups sold me. Also I really prefer the edge to a FR. I'm not sure there's anything I really wish it had, the guitar was built nice and anything I want in it I could just buy and add myself, which I plan to do. My final word on this guitar, is that it's great for its price and won't kill your wallet. I think it can be versatile or be made to be versatile and fit whatever genre you're playing. Ibanez never seems to cease to amaze me with the quality of work they do. Especially for how well this guitar was coming out of the factory (also I had the luxury of this guitar being at the top of the shelves at Guitar Center, so no little 13 year old punks had touched it yet). I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a decent guitar that can be frankensteined to become whatever instrument you desire it to be.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I haven't had the chance to try this in a live setting, but if it's like my first Ibanez (which was a GIO and I've had no problems with), it is definitely road worthy. Everything is solid, when I practice with my band the guitar holds up. I've never had my strap fall off (and that's the same with my cheap Ibanez too). I definitely would not need a back up (but I'd bring one anyways). I trust this guitar that much to not need one. I think the only small hit I might make against its durability, is th finish. Though I don't know yet, since I tend to protect my guitars like they're my children.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The factory set up was almost perfect (I'm still considering raising the actions just a bit). The action was nice and low, but didn't have problems. The pick up set up was perfect, no noticeable problems. Just to summarize this rather easily, the guitar was essentially pristine when I found it, I did not notice any flaws or problems.
Features — 8
This guitar features Ibanez's thin Wizard 2 maple neck with rosewood fretboard. Along with 24 frets, with Shark inlays. The body is double cutaway made from basswood with a white finish and beautiful pickguard. It also an edge III double locking tremolo system (which I've found so far to be superior to a Floyd Rose in some aspects). Also, I haven't had problems with my strings coming out of tune so far, which is a good sign. The edge III definitely does a good job of keeping in tune (and I use the whammy bar like crazy, kind of my Vai and Gilmour influence there). The stock pick ups are Ibanez Infinity series, Ibanez IF-4 in the bridge, Ibanez IF-3S in the middle, and an Ibanez IF-3 in the neck. And features a five way selector switch, also it is one Ibanez's H-S-H models. Overall I feel the stock features are pretty good for the price I paid.