Sound — 8
I play this guitar through either my Epiphone Valve Junior or my Marshall AVT150H. It sounds great through both and the sound can be shaped massively on the AVT as it has 4 channels and all the extra controls whereas on the EVJ it depends on the guitar controls and my pedals which also lets me manipulate the sound a lot (which is, in my opinion, better). I play a lot of different styles things like Guns n' Roses (Paradise City, Sweet Child), Black Sabbath (Paranoid / War Pigs), Velvet Revolver (Slither), all the way up to more recent pop-punk music like Blink-182 and Sum41. With some tweaking this guitar will play them all with a tone that's pleasing to my ears. The effects I use are: Boss OS-2 Distortion / Overdrive, Artec Blues Overdrive and a Jim Dunlop Crybaby GCB-95. The guitar is relatively noiseless apart from when just the central single coil is used.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar plays fine for any style of music, from Acoustic style songs (acoustic version of 'Hey-yah' for example) with the split coils to the powerchord-driven riff of 'Slither' by Velvet Revolver with the bridge pickup and onward to the high, fast lead parts of the chorus of Avenged Sevenfold's 'Beast and the Harlot' this guitar has the feel and sound to make playing any of them reasonably easy. I didn't ask anybody about this guitar before I bought it simply because I didn't. It came as part of a deal on ebay that included two Laney 2x12 cabinets and an old multi effect (Zoom GFX8; which I quite like). I was after the cabs and for the price I paid this guitar was an amazing freebie: turned out the cabs were loaded with Celestion Vintage Lead 80's! If I lost this guitar or had it stolen I'd have to save for new one: as I'm currently a college student I couldn't afford to go out and buy one outright. I love the neck on this guitar but hate the Edge III bridge on it (which I have changed out anyway to bring in an oldschool Jackson bridge) I wish this guitar had one of the higher end Ibanez trems like the Edge Zero or Original Edge because that's the only area it's lacking in.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will withstand live playing with ease, it's a great guitar and I'd happily go on tour with it(if I had a band), only taking a backup incase of string breakage. Other than the bridge the hardware will definetly last a long time. The strap buttons are quite solid but for peace of mind I use plastic straplocks on this guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar has it's ups and downs. I didn't get this guitar from the factory new but from what I heard the Ibanez factories (even the indonesian ones) do a good job of setting guitars up. The guitar's wood doesn't seem to be absolutely amazing: the wood around the posts has worn so the bridge won't balance in place like it's supposed to but I think this could be because the previous owner abused the trem too hard. The finish is very strong: I'm 6 foot 5 and dropped it from my back (good 3 foot drop) and there's only a small paint chip on the back to show for it. The other downside is that the bridge on this guitar had the 'Cosmo' finish on it which has worn in places and doesn't look too great.
Features — 9
not sure of the year of manufacture but it's not too old. 24 frets, 25.5 scale and jumbo frets Solid black paintwork, not sure how many pieces of wood but it's made from basswood Neck's made from maple with a rosewood fingerboard with the Ibanez styled sharkfin inlays. It's a Wizard II neck so it's flat and thin which is really comfortable for me. It's a superstrat body (which wasn't obvious at all was it; ) ) It has H-S-H pickup config (that's Humbucker, Single coil, Humbucker) it uses the "super fiveway" switching system which mean position 1 is the neck pickup, 3 is the middle, and 5 is the bridge. 2 and 4 are a combination of one of the humbuckers (split) and the central single coil. The other controls are a Volume knob and Tone knob. These are the INF (Infinity) Series pickups, they're pretty decent but by no means perfect, I intend to buy a set of Iron Gear pickups at some point in the future. It uses a Floyd Rose style Double Locking tremolo system. The Edge III bridge by Ibanez is given a mixed bag of comments; I believe this to be down to when the review is written: when the tremolo is brand new it's fine and stay's in tune but a few months down the line it wears out and won't stay in tune. When I got the guitar it was already worn so I swapped out for a 1986 JT-6 I got from ebay just because it was cheap and then I blocked it in place with a bunch of coins wrapped in electricians tape. The tuners on the guitar are Ibanez and since blocking the tremolo and taking the clamps off the locking nut I have realised that they really are good quality tuners.