Price paid: £ 260
Purchased from: eBay
Features — 10
My particular model was made in Indonesia, in 2010. It features a 24 fret 25.5" scale length - bound rosewood fingerboard, 3 piece maple neck. Very thin neck - what else would you expect from an RG? Fat, tall frets - almost a scalloped neck feel. The guitar has a 4 piece solid ash body. The finish is an open pore oil finish. The body style is what you expect of an RG - Strat style, but less curvy, more edgy and pointy. I personally find it really comfortable, both with a strap and sat down.
Mine came with an Edge Zero II trem system, like a Floyd Rose, but it doesn't poke out of the body as much. Also included is the Zero Point System, which ensures that it returns to the correct position every time the trem is used. Instead of removing/adding springs to adjust the tension (as with an original Floyd), a small metal wheel is used to adjust it. This is excellent and makes adjustments a million times easier. Passive electronics are used on this model, with volume and tone controls and a 5 way selector. The pickups are Ibanez Infinity pickups, in a HSH configuration. This model has non-locking, no-name Gotoh-style tuners. I got an aftermarket gig bag with mine, but I bought it used.
Sound — 6
I play alternative rock, grunge, punk, and ska, as well as some standard singer/songwriter solo stuff - this guitar copes well with all of them (though it doesn't look like a guitar that most people would use for ska music or singer/songwriter music...) Stock Ibanez pickups are notoriously awful - this guitar is no exception. At the earliest opportunity, the Infinity pickups were thrown out and a vintage DiMarzio Super Distortion was put in the neck, and a Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis Trembucker put in the bridge, as well as a Fender Tex Mex in the middle. I've used this guitar with a Roland Micro Cube GX (with a Dunlop Crybaby), a Laney VC-30 (the 2x12 model), a Line 6 Spider IV (with a Dunlop Crybaby), a Roland Cube 60XL with a Boss ME80 and a Peavey Bandit 112. The stock pickups are designed for high gain and didn't sound bad under those conditions, however with cleans, the stock bridge pickup sounded tinny and downright awful. The stock neck pickup is better, however still performs awfully with a clean tone. The stock middle pickup isn't bad for cleans but doesn't cope well with distorted tones. If you want this guitar, change the pickups. You'll thank me later.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
My tech set it up before I played it - therefore it was perfect for me. The pickups are adjusted to my liking - this is of course a personal preference and I like the bridge rather high and the neck slightly lower. This was fairly similar to what I liked when I got it. The grain on my guitar's body is very pretty in certain areas and rather ugly in others - the has had wood chipped away from pick wear underneath the pickups (from both me and the original owner), etc - this may be a common occurrence with these models. The body pieces aren't exactly bookmatched - it's very easy to tell where one piece ends and the other begins. But I sort of like that. No flaws as far as I can tell apart from a slightly noisy pickup selector. I think it just needs cleaning.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I would gig with this, as it is a sturdy guitar and plenty good enough for live performance - the electronics (as far as pots and switches go) will want to be replaced in a few years - they're cheap ones but that's not too much of an issue for me. The strap buttons are fine but I will be replacing them with straplocks within the next month. Definitely a dependable guitar, sounds great and the trem system is excellent. The finish is an open pore oil finish, and in certain places it will wear away with time. In a few years I can see my self sanding the body down and re-oiling it.
Overall Impression — 9
As someone who plays alternative, grunge and punk rock, this matches me well. As someone who also plays ska and singer/songwriter music, this shouldn't match me well, but you know what? It does! It's really versatile - an excellent guitar for anything (now that I've changed the pickups). I've been playing for a year and usually I play acoustically, I own other, less "metal" guitars and it is just as good as them, if not better. If it was stolen, I would probably save up and buy a higher-end model but for now, this suits me perfectly.