Price paid: A$ 650
Purchased from: South Coast Music
Sound — 10
I play Coldwave-ish industrial/metal style stuff, every now and then venturing into "nu-metal" territory so that probably kills anyone taking me seriously. But still, it's a great guitar, the pickups are a little noisy, but that's to be expected with high output pickups. Honestly, I actually expected it to be more noisy given my setup. Being put through a Randall Vmax head and Warhead 4X12 cabinet. Sounds like a car wreck, but in that good way. Kinda scooped, and really really grinding distortion, but very clear. Sounds a lot like Fear Factory (I discovered the other day that they were actually designed with/for Dino Cazares of Fear Factory, so I suppose this has something to do with the sound). Nice clean sound, though I wouldn't really use it for a crystal clear clean. Good for effected and edgy clean sounds. Perhaps a little cold though? I would definately reccomend the guitar be used more for aggressive styles of music, but I would not discount the idea of using it as a cleaner style. Not for blues though. The other reviewer said that the sound was muddy, I think it boils down to what amp you are using, what gauge strings you are using, and how good you are at playing, as it definately amplifies ANY mistakes you make. Personally, I found them to be fine, even with slightly more intricate riffs/leads.
Overall Impression — 10
Its a perfect match for any kind of heaviosity, and the Blackout definately gives it a really unique and amazing voice. Definately sounds better with tube amps (my Randall has tube and solid state in one, and it brings a new life to the tube channel! ) If it were stolen, I'd cry, then find the person that stole it and beat him to death with some oversized and disgustingly heavy Gibson beast. I like how simple it is, perfect for what I needed!
Reliability & Durability — 6
I feel like it's a great guitar, and Ibanez make awesome stuff. I own another 7 string Ibanez, and it's lasted years. The hardware, whilst not big brand stuff definately feels solid, and it's just so easy to play. haven't gigged with it yet tho, so it gets a 6 for now.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
So easy to play. Had a small chip on the bottom, but I was made aware of this at the time of purchase, and it got me a 30% discount, so I can't complain there. The piickup was set up fine, the strings were set up great, tuning was a little off, but not too bad for something that had been sitting on a shelf for 2.5 months. Everything generally felt really tight and good. Plays like a dream. The single volue knob and killswitch may turn people off due to lack of versatility, but for the price, and for what it was intended to do, it's perfect and obviously, if you aren't happy with it, buy another guitar (like the Mick Thompson Slipknot Signature, basically the same, but an Alder body I think and 2 blackouts). I take 1 point off purely because of the slight chip. Other than that, perfect.