Price paid: $ 768
Purchased from: MusikbÃ¶rsen (Sweden)
Sound — 7
I play a lot of death metal, especially modern high-gain metal, and the EMG 81 really does its job for that, especially when put through my Bugera 333XL combo. I find, however, that I only play clean on my neck pickup. The bridge just sounds thin and nasal. Overall the sound is very full, and a lot more complex than my ESP LTD Viper-407 which also has EMG 81 pickups (albeit the seven string version). The clean tone on the 85 is really deep and mellow, great for Jazz. I'm giving this guitar a 7 because the pickups are kind of a one trick pony; bridge is only good for distortion, and neck is only good for clean.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing guitar for 1 year now, and I played 1 years of bass guitar before that. I own a Sandberg bass, a cheapo LTD EX-260 and a Bugera 333XL-212 combo. I also own an ESP LTD Viper-407, so you can say I know a bit about guitar gear. I also spend a lot of time reading about stuff, so I'm pretty knowledgeable on this. And I can say that this guitar is really really good. I tried my friend's Gibson Les Paul Standard, and my Ibanez simply felt A LOT better in every aspect. I'm not sure if I would buy it again if it was stolen or lost, but that's just because I think there are a lot of other guitars out there thay may be better for the price for me. I really love the fast neck on this guitar, but I think it is too wide if you want to use standard strings honestly. I would also really like a coil tap or something, just for versatility. I give this a 9, since it is actually really good compared to other guitars I have tried,
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have had this guitar for about 5-6 months now, and it seems very sturdy. The finish is rock solid. I have used this guitar at several gigs without a backup, and I really like it with the new strings. This is definitely a great guitar. I have to give this a 9, because you can never know. I haven't had it for more than 5 months, you know..
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I bought the guitar, the action was really low, and all strings buzzed from 4th fret and upwards. I had some trouble getting it better, but one of my friends almost solved the problem for me, so I still had a bit of buzz. I found, however, that the strings felt as if they were way too far from each other, and that they felt too thin, even when I had .11's on them. So I ended up buying a set of Ernie Ball 12-56's and had the shop where I bought them set it up, including filing down the nut to make place. Now it feels really good, however I am limited to tuning at or below D-standard, as the strings become too tight if I tune up. Fine with me. It has to be tuned low anyway. METAL! \m/ this is just a warning however. If I had knew this would be an issue, I would have bought an ESP instead, my EX-260 feels just fine, even with.10's on. For this reason I have to give it an 8.
Features — 8
This guitar was made in 2007 in Korea. It has a 25.5" scale (I think) neck-thru 5 piece maple/walnut neck with 24 frets. The fretboard is Rosewood. I was pretty confused regarding the body wood, some places said it was Mahogany, other places said it was Basswood. I have come to the conclusion that the new version in Chameleon Green (or whatever it's called) is mahogany, while my older black version is basswood. It's definitely lighter than the Chameleon one. The finish is very shiny, i would have preferred it to be satin black, since this one really shows fingermarks and so on. The bridge is a standard stock Ibanez String-Thru fixed bridge. A Tune-o-Matic had been a lot better imo. It has crushing EMG 81/85, and they sound incredible. The tuners are stock Ibanez and work fine, however the g-string tends to go a bit flat on big bends. The guitar came with a stock bag. I'm, only giving it an 8 because of the cheap bridge and tuners. Rest is taste.