Price paid: $ 550
Purchased from: http://www.musiciansmall.in/
Sound — 9
Well, I play classic rock and a little thrash metal.Basically, the guitar has a warm tone especially if you don't use distortion, the Acoustic tone is amazing. The neck pick up sounds very nice & heavy. Bridge pickup gives a crisp tone. But what really blew my mind away was the mid pick up! It has a funky tone that's very unique. Also, the pickups have a decent sustain. I'd be tempted to change the pickups, but for now, I'm pretty happy with the stock pick ups. I currently run the guitar through a Zoom G1XN Processor to a 20-watt Laney Amp. I have also use it without the processor on the Laney amp, a 10-watt Cort amp and a 20-watt Marshall. It sounds pretty good on all of them, Although it sounded best on the Cort. The mid pick up maybe awesome but has a noise to it. It's a light buzz, but it's audible only on high gain. But the ZNR (Zoom Noise Reduction) on my processor can clip that off. Overall, it's good for almost any kind of music, but best for Hard Rock/ Metal.
Overall Impression — 10
For me, the guitar is a perfect match. It's just excellent for all styles. I've been playing around 2 years now. If my guitar was stolen (I'd never lose it), I wouldn't be able to buy it again, 'cuz my dad won't spend so much on another guitar. It's the sound that I'm totally in love with. Besides, the guitar does look beautiful, and I like the looks. I compared it some other Ibanez guitars, BC Rich, an ESP Les Paul, a PRS Les Paul, Jackson King V, but I chose this one because it was more versatile. If I ever switched my playing style, I could do so easily. Besides, it's the best you can get for the price. (And I won't lie, I also felt this one comes pretty close to Steve Vai signature JEM555, the only major difference being the pickups.)
Reliability & Durability — 9
Judging from what I've seen, the guitar is pretty sturdy and reliable. The finishing may suffer a little wear and tear, but no matter how rough you play, the guitar can withstand it. Ofcourse, there's a limit to how much it can, but I'm sure that if you don't (literally) fling it around, the guitar will last many years. I haven't broken a string till now, which is almost a miracle cuz I tend to over bend the strings. I guess you could pretty much rely on the guitar for live playing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action is low but it's a bit irritating cuz my pick sometimes hits the mid pickup. Otherwise, the guitar is well set. There is also a provision to adjust tremolo arm height, which I found useful. The pick ups look a bit sloppy, yet they seem study enough. I must add, I loved the finishing of the bridge and the locking nut. They are very convenient while changing strings compared to my previous Floyd Rose. Infact the bridge even has a velvet coating under it to prevent scratches on the body when changing the strings. Overall, it has a few flaws, but it seems pretty sturdy.
Features — 10
Made in Indonesia, not sure of the year. Rosewood fretboard with 24 Jumbo frets. Basswood body with the Wizard II maple neck (3 piece). Solid finish. Sports the Edge III tremolo (Floating bridge). Passive Ibanez Infinity pickups: INF3 (neck), INFS3 (mid), INF4 (bridge). H-S-H config. Front mounted, with pearloid pick-guard. 5-way selector switch. Volume and Tone knobs. Non-locking tuners. Came with a Gig case, audio cable, D'Addario Strings, Strap, Alen wrenches, extra sprin for changing spring tension.