Price paid: $ 528.2
Purchased from: Steve Forrest Music
Sound — 10
I bought this guitar as a thrash around plank of wood to use at band rehearsal sessions. My band playing metal, I couldn't have asked for a better guitar in the price range. It handles metal tones, like high gain and maxed out treble, like a dream, while still being able to crank out a gentle, sweet tone, a'la Red Hot Chilli Peppers and SRV. I'm currently playing all my guitars through an Ashton solid state 200 watt half stack, with no effects. I like simplicity. I mainly play guitar with gain at 7 or 8 and treble all the way to 10, mid at around 4.5, and contour at 4, with bass always varying. With these settings, the guitar blows even my les paul away. There isn't a great deal of noise at these levels, unless you get too close to the amp. Here the sound is bright and punchy, with just enough bass to blow your brains out. As previously said, this guitar can easily match a good Red Hot Chilli Peppers tone, with a little adjustment to the amp settings. I've played Californication and Can't Stop with it, and it sounded just as good (if not better) than the neck humbucker and middle single coil setting on my Washburn.
Overall Impression — 9
I play heavy metal, and this guitar was made for it. No Doubt about it. I have been playing guitar for over 4 years now, and I own an Epiphone Les Paul, and a Washburn X40Pro, with an Ashton 200 watt half stack, among some other guitars and equipment, and this one is definately worthy of rocking with my other babies. The one thing I wish I had asked when I bought this guitar would be 'How much for this puppy with real EMG's'... But these pickups are just as good as EMG HZs. If this guitar were stolen, I would bring out the hunting gear and night vision goggles, then go Optimus Prime on the poor bastard. Failing to retrieve it, I would definately buy a new one. There's nothing I hate about this guitar. Not a single thing. My favourite feature is the playability of the neck. A coat of instrument oil and this baby shreds. I compared this guitar to an Ibanez S160, and an Ibanez RG350DX. This guitar stood out to me because of it's fixed bridge, and the finish of the body, as well as the great EMG design pickups. One thing I wish it had is all around white binding. I love my binding on the Les Paul, it's a very attractive feature.
Reliability & Durability — 9
No Doubt at all that this guitar will stand it's ground in a Live environment. It made it's debut at rehearsal today. At first I was skeptical about going nuts with it, but after an hour or 2 of perfect performance, I went ape. The hardware should last a long while, everything seems stable, the strap buttons are great and hold your strap quite well. Although I plan to install a set of strap-locks for peace of mind anyway. As a musician, it's probably wise to bring a back-up guitar, just in case. But I would have no problem grabbing this baby and gettin up on stage with it as my sole instrument. I can't tell if the finish will last or not. My guitars are knocked around quite a bit. I did buy a hardcase with the guitar, so it might last a little longer.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
When I first got the guitar, the set up was very poor indeed. The action was'nt too bad, but all across the neck there was nothing but fret buzz, due to the neck having too much back bow. After playing around with the truss rod for a good 20 minutes, it had enough relief to let me adjust the action without any fretbuzz occuring. It now plays great. The pickups were set up very well, but fact being that the whole thing played terribly, it didn't make a difference, as I adjusted them anyway. After some adjusting of the truss rod and action, guitar's parts were aligned perfectly, with no flaws to be found. Score given was taking into account the first impression, before any adjustments were made.
Features — 8
The guitar was made mid to late 2007, in Indonesia. It has 24 Jumbo frets, with a 3 piece Wizard-II neck. It has a very beautiful Flamed maple top, with absolutely no faults in it. It's got a Mahogany body, and a rosewood fingerboard, with white binding around the edges of it. The finish is a red flamed top. The style of the guitar is Ibanez's famed Super Strat style. Can't go wrong. It has a fixed Ibanez, Strat style, string through bridge. The guitar came Standard with passive EMG designed, Ibanez produced pickups, which really whale. To harness the power of these puppies, you've got a master Volume and a master Tone knob, with a 3 way selector Switch, and the pickup configuration is a dual humbucker layout. The tuners are Ibanez produced, but hold tuning extremely well with the correct string gauges for the particular tuning you would be playing in. I received no accessories for the guitar, not even a cardboard box! Although to be fair, I DID buy an Ibanez hardcase to go along with it. but a set of wrenches or something would have been nice, as mine are old and rusty.