Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
I play various different styles, ranging from blues to metal, and for playing in my church band it works great, the extended range gives me possibilities that I never thought I could have. The stock pickups actually are my favorite thing on this guitar. Most people say Ibanez's stock pickups are crap, I tend to disagree after hearing these pickups. They are PAF based pickups, and I'm used to playing on high output Bareknuckle pickups. They give the guitar a very nice warm, responsive, natural sounding tone, even for ceramic pickups. I'm using this guitar with various amps, mainly my Valveking 112 with a WGS V-30 speaker. Effects are either just amp distortion with a TS-9, or my LiquidDrive distortion. The guitar is actually very quiet, even on high gain, responds very well, but to me it sounds like it's lacking low end response on the low B string. It's a pretty full sounding guitar, coming from a very bright guitar (my old Squier). It has some nice high end to it, but not too bad. The neck pickup is very smooth sounding, and gives excellent cleans, and it's not too bassy, unless you are under light distortion, then it gets a bit bassy. The 2nd and 4th positions are nice, but I can't really see a good use for them, maybe for some funk music, but other than that I see no use. I've managed to get almost every tone I've wanted to from this guitar, power tube saturated blues to heavy downtuned metal this thing does it.
Overall Impression — 7
Like I said, I play all kinds of music, and I think I'll have this guitar for quite a while, seeing as it matches what I play pretty well. I've been playing for 7-8 years now, so not too bad... This is my second electric guitar that I've ever owned, having used and modified the crap out of my Squier Affinity for 6 years. There was nothing to ask really before buying it. If the guitar was stolen, I would definitely try to get another, just seems like such a great guitar for the money. I love the playability of it, the neck seems so natural and the frets are just awesome. A few things I hate about it is the black finish... I hate black finishes, but this was the only one they had, and I dislike the satin finish on the neck, I don't like the fact that it gets dirty, and doesn't just wipe clean. The guitar only barely fits in my hardcase, the headstock is pushing against the lining. Favorite feature... The 7th low B string of course. I couldn't find any other 7 string guitars in GC, so I didn't really get to compare it to other 7 strings. I kinda wish it had another volume knob for the neck pickup, so I can kinda already have things where I want.
Reliability & Durability — 6
So far this guitar has withstood my abuse. I feel like it was designed as a budget 7 string for a beginner gigging player. The hardware seems like it will last, but I have seen black painted metal rust before, so we'll see. The strap buttons are pretty solid, but I think they are slightly small, but that could be due to my old worn out strap, since it keeps coming off. I'll have to watch it though since the strap button on the horn seems like it'll be the most likely to break off, mainly breaking off the horn itself. I think I can depend on this guitar without a backup, unless I pop a string, which hasn't happened yet either. Considering the finish is poly, I expect it to last forever. The satin finish on the neck on the other hand, seems like it'll wear off eventually, it also gets dirty quick, so I have to make sure my hands are clean before I play it. The neck also seems a bit to thin, since it's rather easy to accidentally throw notes off a few cents if you apply any pressure to the neck.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought the guitar right off the display self at Guitar Center, and it was set up almost perfectly. The guitar came stock with.009's, I don't know which brand, but knowing GC, they were most likely Earni Ball's. I put on Rotosound Yellows (.10's or light gauge) without any set up and the guitar's action and relief stayed the same. The action was perfect for me, not too high, and not too low, maybe 2.5-3mm action. The pickups were actually adjusted perfectly, which was a surprise, usually that's a preference thing. Everything on the guitar seemed in perfect condition, couldn't find any flaws other than the knobs didn't rotate perfectly, as in something wasn't straight, either the pots shaft or the knobs, they kinda wobbled. Finish was also flawless... But it's kind hard to mess up a simple black finish.
Features — 7
Just bought this guitar, so I'm assuming it was made in 2011 in Indonesia, which is not a problem. As with most Ibanez's, has 24 frets, basswood body, rosewood fredboard with their Wizard II-7 5 piece maple neck and the typical poly finish over solid black. Has the super Strat look to it, with the Gibraltar Standard 7 bridge, which is actually a pretty nice HardTail bridge. Has your standard passive electronics, one volume, one tone, and a 5 way switch for 2 humbucking pickups, which is interesting. With the selector switch all the way down towards the bridge direction, you get the bridge pickup, position 2 is the bridge's front coil and the necks rear coil together, 3ed/middle you get the full bridge and neck humbuckers together, 4th position is the neck humbucker connected parallel, and 5th closest to the neck is the neck humbucker. The pickups are AH27 in the bridge and AH17 in the neck, both ceramic humbuckers. The tuners are nice, very nice for stock tuners. They are non locking, but are very smooth, tight, and just work like great tuners. I bought this guitar as part of a trade in so no stuff came with it.