Price paid: £ 280
Purchased from: guitar.co.uk
Sound — 6
The pickups do the guitar no real favours, they're not bad for the price range, but be aware that its the norm for poor own name pickups to be fitted to a lot of Ibanez guitars. The basswood is ok for mid to high gain, again the pickups aren't helping much, but clean there is zero charecter to the guitar. The trem adds possibilities for playing around with divebombs and at really high gain (modern metal) you notice the lack of character less. For bluesy stuff it wasn't spectacular but seems to improve a little with gain. I've tried it through a line6 spider III... that didn't go too well, nice effects to play with but tinkering time needed that I didn't have. An OLD Marshall MG, which isn't actually all that bad although better options are available. Some studio/practice venue amp I can't remember the name of and a big Hiwatt stack that sounded great. But then, you're unlikely to spend 300 on a guitar and have that to play it on, and this guitar AB'd with others was found lacking (Dinky with similar setup among them).
Overall Impression — 5
I play a wide range of stuff, rock mainly but with ventures into metal, punk, blues and even drum and bass (yes that can use guitars...). The 350MDX has the potential to be versatile, but expect to spend some cash. The clean and low gain tones need some bettwer pickups and a more sympathetic wood to improve them. The Edge 3 could REALLY do with an upgrade (OFR and the EDGE PRO are direct replacements [check Jemsite]). My biggest concern is just how soft the basswood is. I'm dreading having to re-body the guitar not far down the line. In over a decade I've never regretted not saving for longer more. I didn't get chance to AB this with the Jackson's or ESPs I was also considering, but I think I might have spent my money better with them, even at the higher price. If it were stolen now and I could get the money back through insurance I'd have a long hard look around, and probably avoid anything below a prestige in the Ibanez line. A mahogany S might be a solution.
Reliability & Durability — 3
I have several freinds with similar 350's that have used them live. I personally wouldn't. The durability is questionable in these lower end Ibanez models. The bridge: about a month after getting the guitar one of the string clamps in the Bridge sheared. I wasn't overtightening them (actually i had problems with the strings pulling out as I brought them up to tension). Machined a small peice of decent steel to replace the clamp and all has been ok with the Bridge since. Having said that, it hasn't had much use. The basswood: Its ok in my Ibanez bass, but trem springs were a step too far for it. The threads in the body stripped pretty quickly (8 months ish from guitar purchase). The trem posts also seem to be slowly ovalising (although not enough to be a problem yet). The finish is a little easy to chip on the headstock, though this seems to be common accross Ibanez guitars with painted headstocks. Body finish seems ok, no obvious damage yet, and should be fine if my Ibanez bass is anything to go by. My natural Yamah is covered in buckle rash and studded belt wounds, so I'm not an easy test for the clearcoat.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The finish was ok, beaten by my older, cheaper Yamaha IMO. Action was in the ballpark but I adjusted it a little, routes are tidy enough with no chips and everything fits. The inlays on the neck aren't perfect, one is bent others are not aligned parallel with frets. Frets are reasonably finished with no sharp edges.
Features — 7
Either Korean or Indonesian build 25.5" scale neck, 24 fret maple fingerboard with black sharktooth inlays. The neck is slim but feels a little wider than it could be. Basswood body... I'll get to that... and maple neck and fingerboard. gloss black finish with black PG and matching headstock. Edge III double locking trem, again, more later. Passive Ibanez own pickups in HSH configuration, with tone, volume and 5-way switch. Tuners are black non-locking Ibanez units, but the nut locks anyway. Comes with a few allen keys and a pretty useless little booklet.