Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Private Seller
Sound — 6
I play progressive metal and this guitar hasn't let me down yet. I would say it isn't perfectly suited, but it has no problem coping with this genre. It is pretty good for shredding though. I use it through my practice set-up which is into a Zoom G2 effects pedal then straight into the input of a Crate GT212 transistor amp. Using the pedal, I have gotten the sound down to an inch of what my perfect tone would sound like. I get glassy cleans like I would on a valve amp and rich, full-bodied distortions that function equally well for both rhythm and lead parts. The pickups are alright, but not what you would call great. I would change the configuration to a Pearly Gates in the neck and an Invader in the bridge position, but that may just be enough incentive to move on to a higher quality guitar altogether.
Overall Impression — 7
I play progressive metal which is a bit more graceful than generic heavy metal or the like and this guitar is a good match, if not great. I've been playing for the better part of 6 years and I own a Crate GT212 and Zoom G2 and soon to be Ibanez RGA7. If this guitar was stolen I would be very unhappy and I would try to procure another like it, if that was out of the question, I would look at Jackson Dinkies or I would stretch my budget for a Ernie Ball Music Man Silhouette. What I love about it is how comfortable it is to play. The molded neck joint fits my palm perfectly when playing on frets 21-24. I also love the tuning stability. There isn't much to hate about this guitar, except the pickups (if you're so inclined) but I make it work for me. My favorite feature is the fast Wizard II neck. I only compared it to a friend's Ibanez SA120FM and this guitar shone through in all areas. I only wish it had a kill Switch and coil tap and perhaps one of those nice Gibraltar bridges instead of the Edge III trem.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have played this guitar live and it survived unscathed. The hardware is extremely solid and after a year, the tone and volume pots still feel like they did when they were new. The strap buttons were very solid, but as a precaution I changed them to Hennesey strap locks (which I do NOT recommend). I have since changed these to Schallers which work like nobody's business. I can definitely depend on this guitar to be with me every step of the way. I have not broken a string on it since I got it (haven't broken a string for 4 years come to think of it). The finish seems very sturdy and it only becomes shiny in the places where my arm and little finger rests.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I received the guitar, I had to get used to setting up the Floating trem first (wasn't that hard). After a few dive-bombs and motorcycle sounds, I decided to lock down the trem because I don't like the instability. The feel of the guitar is great. It felt really solid and the neck was a breeze to play on. The pickup height was great. The only flaw, in that sense, that I saw with this guitar was that the very last fret was a bit high so I filed it down. After that the feel improved a bit more.
Features — 7
Mine was made in 2006 in Indonesia. The neck is the 24 fret, 25.5" scale Wizard II with Rosewood fretboard. The body finish is what Ibanez calls "Road Rage Black" which is basically matte black paint with a pseudo-tarmac finish. The body is made from Basswood and the neck is 3 piece maple. Body style is that of a super-strat. It comes with the Ibanez Edge III bridge, of which I myself am not too fond. My blades have dulled slightly which results in tuning not staying the way it should. I have blocked my trem with 3 wooden blocks in the back. I love the tuning stability the locking nut and bridge gives me, and coupled with the fine tuners, it really hits it well. It has passive "Design by EMG" H1 pickups in bridge and neck positions. It has a 3 way Switch and a tone and volume pot. It has the normal Ibanez tuners which are non locking. I got this guitar with 2 extra springs and a hard case. That's about it.