Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: C & M Music Center
Sound — 10
I play metal, hardcore, death metal, a little blues and ambient stuff. This guitar, by way of my amp (Randall 120RHS) and the pickup selection I have, can handle anything I throw at it. Blues licks, heavy distorted dissonant chords, or searing solos all come out of this guitar sounding very bright and with a good bit of sustain. The tremolo is classic Ibanez durability, standing up to dive bombs and herman-li style "lemme hold my guitar up by the tremolo arm after a high pinch" with absolutely no tuning problems. The chording on Pouring reign by As Blood Runs Black, for example, with the pickup selector in between the neck and middle pickup and a little reverb sounds better than the album version. Heavy riffing, palm muting, shredding and tapping are clear, never muddled or distorted.
Overall Impression — 9
For metalheads, of course this is a good match. Its and Ibanez RG. But even my friends that play blues or Indie music have played it and loved it. You can get any sound out of this thing, not just heavy distorted brutality. I've been playing for about 4 years now, and own an ESP/LTD MH 53, a Fender Starcaster, and a crappy Lyon starter guitar. If it were stolen, I'd use my lyon to club the dude to death and get it back. If it were lost, I'd cry myself to sleep, then buy another one. I compared to Jackson guitars, other ESP's, and even an Epi. None felt as good, sounded as clear and defined or looked as awesome. Idve paid 5- or even 600 for this guitar, easy.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar was absolutely built for live playing. Whod get one this color to stay in your room and jam? The finish, the hardware (tuners, strap buttons, bridge, etc) are built to last. I know I can depend on this thing for any show, any length of time. I'd never use it without a backup, just in case the strings break (our last show was interrupted by me tearing a broken E string off my guitar to stop from muting the strings... Not cool). Its already fast becoming my workhorse guitar; detuning, retuning, trying new styles of playing or even guitar flips, nothings too tough for this guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Factory action was low, but I had the store set it up for me with a nice high action and Ernie Ball Power Slinkys, which work great in Drop C, btw. I've used emf or years and any thicker just doesn't feel right to me. Anyway, I didn't have to touch the pickups at all, and the finish is beyond tough. Its been dropped already, a few times, but the paint hasn't chipped or even dented the wood. No flaws that I could find, and it feels like playing an 800 dollar guitar instead of the 400 I paid for it.
Features — 9
This guitar was made in 2009 in Korea. It has 24 frets on a thin Wizard II neck with fisheye maple on the fingerboard, which was the main selling feature for me. Its a classic Ibanez superstrat bodystyle finished in bright, bright yellow paint. It comes with Ibanez's Edge III tremolo bridge with passive INF pickups and two controls, volume and tone, with a 5 way pickup selector. The pickups are in a HSH configuration, which a new setup for me. (my LTD has SSH, as does my Fender.)