Sound — 6
I tested this out at the Guitar Center through a Line 6 Spider Valve. I couldn't really say much about it there though, as strings needed to be replaced and I needed to set it up to my spec. Once I got it home, I ran it through my Fender Mustang 1, and haven't gotten a chance to use it through my Peavey XXX yet. At the moment, I feel like it's a one-trick pony, as the stock neck pickup is nowhere close in out-put to the D-Activator, and I've only been satisfied with that when playing metal. The D-Activator, however, is very responsive and will pick up any mistakes.
Overall Impression — 9
I play everything from modern pop to djent. This Ibanez seems to only be of use in the hard rock/metal categories, but that's what I mainly play. I picked this up by returning a Fender Strat I had gotten 2 weeks prior because I just couldn't get what I wanted out of it. I was also able to get a gig bag for it with the return. Being only a 1 year production, I would be sad if lost/stolen, and would try to get another. I love the All Access Neck Joint and how easy it is to play, and it feels very similar to my Ibanez Universe. The only thing that I can say I really dislike about this guitar is the Neck pickup and uselessness of the 5-way switching. Once I get the funds, I'll be replacing those with a D-Activator neck and a 3 way switch, possibly push/pull pots for coil splitting. Overall, I'm very pleased with this guitar, and after a little bit of fixing up, it has quickly become one of my most played guitars.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I never had a strap on this with the original buttons, I had an extra set of Dunlop Strap Loks laying around that I put on right away. I've gigged with guitars of all price ranges and everything has held up fine, so I'm sure it will be with this. As with any guitar with a floating bridge, I will have a backup, although it has stayed it tune since I got it on October 29 after fixing the nut issue.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I can't really say much here because the first thing that I did was take this thing apart. The previous owner took pretty good care, as there's only a small chip in the finish and a few nicks on the neck. The main reason I got this guitar (I'm stupid for saying it, but it's true) is for the Arctic Burst finish.The third thing I did to this guitar while it was in my possession was to sand off the finish on the neck. Before it was sticky and hard to get around on and now it's butter. The control knobs are a little loose, but some plumber's tape will fix that easily. Also, the bar sits very loose in its slot, and falls out fairly easy. Again, plumber's tape will fix that, but it'd be better if tape didn't have to be used. (Tried adjusting everything to do with the bar on the trem block too, nothing helped.)
Features — 8
I picked up this guitar last week after being captivated by the finish back in September. 2008 & Indonesian-made, the Ibanez RGR420EX features 24 frets, reverse headstock, Edge III trem, and Wizard neck with rosewood fingerboard. When I brought it home and opened everything up, I found the previous owner installed a DiMarzio D-Activator in the bridge. Volume, tone control, and a 5 way switch, although I'm not sure what positions 2 and 4 do. I've never had a problem with any low-end Floyd Rose, and after the first re-string, it seems like the Edge III lived up to it's notorious reputation. It turned out that the nut lock is actually stripped. After filing down the block, it stays in perfect tune, and I've been abusive. I also got a gig bag and pack of strings included with it.