Price paid: $ 377.91
Purchased from: GuitarCenter
Sound — 7
I'm running it through a Genz-Benz El Diablo 100 Tube head (amazing amp by the way), with my old Crate 4x12, with a MXR Fulbore for the distortion. On clean, you can get a really nice mellow tone with the coil splitting option, or a chimey ring with the full humbucker activated. The Bridge split sounds better than the neck period on clean surprisingly, in my ears anyway. With the overdrive activated I can pull off something as light as SRV or Led Zeppelin (Yes I realize they are different genres), to maybe a Sabbath ballsy crunch, though the Neck pickup doesn't do too well in this area, but I'll get to that later. On high gain, you need to roll the distortion up a little more than you normally would, because these pickups are pretty low output (think Air Nortons). Anyway on high-gain with the right EQ you can get some pretty devestating Distortion, perfect for that typical 'chunk chunk chunk' I guess. I'm not much of a Brutal guy so I pushed the distortion to it's limits just so I could tell you what it sounds like, and honestly it sounds pretty good, albeit a little muddy. Pinch harmonics are pretty easy, and naturals sound out pretty decent. The pickups aren't noisy at all, except for the fact that you have to roll the gain up for a good distortion, which of course will give you some buzz. Overall the pickups sound pretty decent for stock, DEFINATELY better than the Infinity series, but they're still stock. It does have a full sound though, very bright and tight. As for versatility, it can do anything really, maybe even country. Has a chunky sound for you heavy metal fans, but can do subtle gains settings for Alternative (Brand New, Blink-182, Foo Fighters), as for cleans, the Bridge pick-up did exceptionally well, and ironically the Neck pickup is useless in my opinion, for really anything honestly, it just doesn't sound good to me. I did end up replacing the pickups. The guitar itself resonates pretty well, and has about a 7 second sustain preiod on higher frets.
Overall Impression — 8
I play alot of Alternative and Metal, but have a genetic love for Blues. The guitar itself is high quality for it's price, and does suit my styles very well, but it doesn't really stick to one genre, it's more of a Jack of All Trades, even if it contradicts what I said earlier in my review, possibly making my opions questionable. I've been playing for 6 years, and have owned a fair range of guitars, including Jacksons, Gibsons, Schecters, LTD's and other Ibanez's. If it were stolen, I probably would not get it again, only becuase I can get a used Schecter Tempest or Hellraiser for the same price. (Around it anyway) I was originally going to buy a Jackson Dinky with EMG's for $100 more, saw this on the wall behind it, and picked it up for shits and giggles, and it ended up blowing the Jackson away in terms of playablity and craftsmanship. Honestly what I love about it the most is the Bridge. The Bridge is Phenomonal. Stays in tune INCREDIBLEY well, and is pretty low which allows for easier palm muting. I did compare it with the Artcore w/ Gatorskin finish, and a few LTD's including the Dinky I was originally gonna get, and obviously this won. Better quallity for the price, and overall more bang for your buck. It already has what I wish it did and it's the DiMarzio D-Activator and D-Activator X I installed, though a floating tremelo wouldn't be too bad. Overall, this guitar is pretty great for the $350-$450 price range, and with a swap of pickups, can stand shoulder to shoulder with some higher end Ibanez's.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've played 7 shows with it, 4 outside in the Texas heat, and 3 in a local club, with beer being thrown around and humidity filling up the room with the smell of alchohol and a-s, and it's stood it's ground, no warping, bowing, or even rusting occured, except maybe where my palm rests (I personally dress my guitars before and after every show). I put on Schaller strap locks, because I'm always paranoid of dropping any guitar I play live (you have to see me on stage to understand the severity of what I mean), but then again, every guitarist who even plays standing up will know the importance of strap locks. This guitar is very dependable, though nobody with half a brain would ever play a show without a back up, no matter how good your guitar is. I know you all read this often, but the finish is pretty much the same as when I first got it, and it being a floor model, it took care exceptionally well. Maybe in about 20 years or so it'll begin it's fading process, but by that time I will most likely have given it or sold it to someone for some absurd reason. Anyway, the point is it's a solid finish.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
As I said before mine is a floor model, so I don't know if it was set-up during a re-string or what, but when I got it the action was fairly high, which I dislike on string-thru guitars so I lowered it, and it's fairly low, with no string buzz. Pick-ups were adjusted just right, though I had to get used to them being covered, as this is the first guitar I've had with closed pickups, but I ended up changing them anyway. Techincally, the finish had a "major" flaw being the exceptionally brighter top, but it looks pretty sick to me. But besides that it is spot on, with normal wood grain patterns on the back. The frets are filed right, 2 years running and there are no mechanical flaws as to the electronics and Bridge are concerned, except the volume pot came loose, but I fixed that right away, and the tuning peg bolts come loose about every 5 months, but you can tighten 'em right then and there.
Features — 7
Made in 2009, in Indonesia. This solid bodied, solid top guitar sports 24 JumboFrets with a 25.5" scale length. The 3-piece bolt-on Wizard II Neck is made of Maple, with the fretboard made of Rosewood. The body is made of basswood with a Flamed Maple Top. Mine has the Transparent Grey flamed finish, but mine was a throwback because the finish was made too bright, so instead of the blue-ish grey of the other models, it came out to a GMG grey Flame, still with a solid finish though. It has a double-cutaway "Superstrat" body. Alot of people think the nut is some cheapy plastic, but it's actually a Synthetic Bone nut. Still cheaper than real Bone nut, but way better than plastic. It sports a HardTail thru-bridge, with individual asjustable saddles for each string, (Fender bridges come to mind) and is an excellent bridge, keeps in tune very, very well. It comes stock with Ibanez's V7 & V8 passive closed humbuckers, and Ibanez die-cast tuners. 1 Tone 1 Volume setup, with a 5-way blade toggle switch, that allows you to split the pickups (Same effect as coil tap). Mine was the last in the store, and was a floor model, so I just took it off the stand to the register, and walked out with it (No accessories).