Price paid: $ 140
Purchased from: Little Rock Jams
Sound — 8
Here's where I get back to the pickups. The Ibanez pickups that come with the guitar are decent. They have a clear sound and have a nice high output. The problem is that they have no balls on the low-end. I play thrash metal, where most of the time is spent at the lows, tremolo picking and chording on the 6th string. The bridge pickup definitely had the output, but it did not contain the lows that were needed. The sound was pretty heartless. However, soloing was no problem for any of the pickups, and a clean sound was easy to obtain. The neck pickup had a very nice Vintage tone, and the middle pickup was a traditional single-coil, and like traditional single-coils, it was a bit noisy. But not bad. The guys at Ibanez did a good job with the grounding of the pickup wires, so most pickup noise was gone. This is pretty much all I remember from the original pickups, though, because shortly after I got the guitar (about 3 months, maybe), I replaced the pickups with EMGs. An 81 in the bridge, an S in the middle, and an 85 in the neck. This REALLY gave the guitar a new character. The amount of output was not changed THAT much, but it was upped a bit. The really good thing is that the lows I wanted were given. There is a lot more attack in the EMG pickups, and to be honest, I like the look of the plastic covers, but that's just me. But now that I look back at it, it really didn't change THAT MUCH of the tone. The tone of the guitar originally was pretty fair for metal rhythm, and VERY good for solos. If I were to buy this guitar again, I would probably only replace the bridge pickup with something like a DiMarzio Tone Zone or D Activator, because it was only the bridge pickup I didn't like. However, I am very happy with my EMGs and I'm keeping them now that I have them, LOL. So, to sum it up, this guitar has great tone for solos, with high output and quick response from the pickups, but is missing some low-end, and when you get a bit of pocket change, it would probably be wise to replace the bridge pickup. Unless, that is, you are an EMG man like me and want to go active. I must warn you, this path is very pricey, though.
Overall Impression — 9
As I've said before, I play thrash metal and melodic death metal. This guitar is great for my style, especially with the EMGs I put in it. As far as playability, NOTHING beats this guitar for the price of 400 dollars. And if I had to pay the full price of this guitar to get it again, I would in a heartbeat. Now, with all the upgrades and crap that I put on this guitar, if this thing were stolen, I would not get another RG370DX. I would get an RG Prestige of some kind, or an XPT700 Xiphos. But this guitar, even stock, is the perfect guitar for me, for the price. I just should have known better about the tremolo, so I could have taken more care of it. It is a real bummer that Ibanez had to ruin the Edge-III by using "affordable" metals in it. However, I hear the Edge-Pro is just as good as the Edge-III but made with better metals, so an RG prestige model with the Edge-Pro tremolo would be a great buy, should I ever decide to sell this black beauty. Oh, I forgot to mention, before I even saw this guitar, I was thinking about double-locking guitars for a while. I was mostly drawn to Schecter, for their pickups and hardware (Schecter gave me the idea to put EMGs on the guitar). The down fall of Schecter is undoubtedly the neck, which is as thick as a 2x4. The Ibanez neck is half as thick, and twice as shreddable. It is my favorite feature of the guitar. There is nothing like the Ibanez neck. A sure winner? I think so.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Now for the bad points of this tremolo. It is made with really cheap metal, to save on price. This is a problem because if you adjust the string action the way common sense says you should, (turning the allen screws on the trem studs, while the strings are under pressure), you will dull the knife edges AND the studs in half a turn. I have ruined my tremolo because of this n00b mistake, and I plan to get an Original Floyd Rose once I get some pocket change. The moral of the story is, before you adjust the action, unlock the nut and loosen the strings, get the tremolo back into its cavity where it's not touching the studs, then adjust the studs. This is VERY time consuming but it will save you from the headache of NEVER keeping in tune again, whether from a divebomb or a half-step bend, when your tremolo's knives are dull, you will be thrown out of tune. So BE CAREFUL. For this reason, I give this category an 8, because although the action, fit, and finish was very good, the tremolo is not trustworthy anymore, in my opinion. Ibanez needs to change the metals it's using in its tremolos because this is just unacceptable. The finish and everything else will go through nuclear war, and survive, trust me. I've never had the strap buttons come out on me (I use strap locks, for the record). I've hit this guitar on a thousand things, being clumsy, and it does not have one scratch mark. (the poor wall does, though... Hehe don't tell Mom.) I would not play this thing live with the existing tremolo, because I just do not trust it to stay in tune. If I were to get a new tremolo like a Floyd Rose Original, that would be a different story, but I do not have one yet. So this section gets a 7. It would be a 10, except for the tremolo which takes it down considerably. The rest of the guitar is a tank, though.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I must say that the fit and finish, even on this used guitar, was EXCELLENT. However, the owner, I assume, was either an idiot, or never got the guitar setup by a pro, because the neck of the guitar was bent erratically inward, because the truss rod was tightened an insane amount. Obviously, Ibanez kinda threw this guitar together and expected the user to set it up to their liking. Now, there is nothing wrong with this, in my opinion. I see the logic behind it, and see the financial advantage of getting a guitar out of the factory easier. Needless to say, I took it back to the guitar tech I bought it from and he set it up gladly, and taught me a little on tremolos. Oh yeah, here's where I get back to the Edge III tremolo. The feel of this tremolo is amazing. It's low-profile, gives good tactile feedback on the palm, and does not raise in pitch as quickly from palm-muting as a Floyd Rose does. It feels very solid, if a LITTLE stiff, when you use the bar, but nothing bad. It doesn't flutter that well, but I don't do that kind of stuff much anyway. Also, a simple design change from Floyd Rose, that makes a ton of difference: the allen screws that lock the string down, are on top of the saddles, not below them. If you've ever changed strings on a Floyd Rose, you know why this is a good thing. Also, I almost forgot to mention, the neck of this guitar is unreal. It is just so thin. I have played my guitar teacher's original Ibanez Roadstar, and I know that the ORIGINAL RG necks were a bit thinner, but they lacked the all-access neck joint, and it was literally impossible to reach the 24th fret. So needless to say, I actually like my guitar a little better than his, other than the fact that he has the original Edge tremolo, which is considered the unrivaled winner in locking bridges.
Features — 9
After some research, I found that this guitar was made in the year 2006 (the first 2 numbers of the serial number) in Indonesia (I think... I haven't looked in a while). It has 24 frets, shark-tooth inlays, 25.5" scale, and a bolt-on neck joint. This neck joint is also called the AANJ by Ibanez (All-Access Neck Joint), and for good reason. The neck joint is very low-profile, and as out-of-the-way as possible with a bolt-on neck joint. It's not a solid block of wood like on the Jackson and Fender models. So it's REALLY easy to get to the high frets, and there are no awkward hand positions required. The body wood is basswood, the neck wood is pure maple, and the fingerboard is rosewood. It is a superstrat body style, of course. There is an Edge-III bridge on it, which I'll get to later. The pickups are INF series (Made by DiMarzio for Ibanez), which are passives. They're made to be high-output and very versatile. Again, I'll get to these later. There is a master volume and master tone pot. The tuners are of an unknown brand, probably just generic 2-dollar Ibanez tuners. They do work, and they don't need to be fancy, because it is a double-locking guitar, after all, and the tuners will rarely be used. I got mine used (which explains the low price) off the wall of my guitar tech's shop, so all I got was the guitar and the tremolo arm, and the rusty strings that were on it.