Price paid: C$ 450
Purchased from: Axe Music
Sound — 8
This guitar suits my music style (metal and hard rock in various forms) perfectly; the 3 different configurations of the two active humbuckers provide a relatively wide range of sounds, which sound fantastic with any amount of distortion ranging from light blues rock overdrive to skull crushing death metal distortion. Only complaint is the amount of fiddling I had to do to achieve a sparkling clean sound, but once you've found it, clean tones can Shine as well. Perfect for music with large amounts of distortion. Pickups are not noisy at all, and have quite a high output for stock.
Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for about a year, and this guitar is an excellent match for me. I play mainly metal and hard rock, ranging from Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Savatage, Children Of Bodom and Circle II Circle. This guitars fits me perfectly both sound and stylewise. I would definately buy this guitar again if it was stolen, it's amazing for the price I paid. My favorite feature is the Wizard II neck; it's extraordinarily fast and comfortable to play for hours. The stock pickups are surprisingly good; not EMG 81/85 level but better than the "made by EMG" actives I tried in a number of LTD guitars. I tried out a number of others guitars, including other Ibanez models but chose this over an Ibanez tremolo equipped guitar because of the ease of tuning (and changes to drop tunings, which I do quite frequently) and the far superior sustain. I kind of wish this guitar had sharktooth inlays, but that is simply an aesthetic quibble which does not change how excellent this guitar is.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar is extremely solid and would have no difficulty playing Live. I would play it without a backup, as the fixed bridge drastically reduces the chance of string breaking. All the electronic components work perfectly. Strap buttons are solid, but I would still add straplocks to make sure it doesn't drop. Finish is very tough, but being high Shine black it shows every fingerprint, which is just something you have to sacrifice for such a beautiful finish.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Guitar was set up quite well at the factory, just had to fiddle with the intonation a bit. Pickups were adjusted just like I like them; low enough to not interfere with my picking technique yet high enough to create good sustain. No flaws were evident, and the tuning heads are especially precise for stock tuners.
Features — 9
Made in 2009 in Korea, solid mahogany body. It has a 3 piece Wizard II bolt on neck which is exceptionally fast and comfortable. The heel is designed very well, which allows easy access to the upper frets on the bound rosewood fretboard with 24 jumbo frets. Fixed bridge and string through provide endless sustain. Superstrat style body, but with trademark Ibanez cutaways (much sharper and deeper) and a gently arched mahogany top. Finished in a high Shine solid black with "Cosmos Black" (burnished chrome) hardware; this beautiful guitar has a distinctly metal feel without an extremely radical body shape. Equipped with a very comfortable fixed bridge, 1 volume knob, 3 position pickup selector, onboard active EQ (Bass boost/Treble Cut and vice versa) and two active Ibanez humbuckers.