Price paid: $ 549
Purchased from: Sound Control
Sound — 7
I mainly play poppy rock and alternative/post-punk stuff in my bands, but often play other things (a lot of RATM, Muse, neil young, + other stuff). I've tried using it for most genres (bar metal, because I just don't really like it) and I haven't found anything it doesn't sound good doing. In the future, I would like to upgrade the pickups, but for stock pickups they are pretty good, except for the neck pickup, which sounds very muddy and muted. Another bad point is that it has virtually no sustain.
Overall Impression — 8
I play lots of things, and this guitar is a great match for everything I do, because of the ease of playing, its weight and size. I've been playing for 4 or 5 years and I use this with a Boss OD-3 bass overdrive pedal, an Ibanez PT-5 multi-effects pedal and a DigiTech Whammy pedal. If I lost this, I would definitely get something else, because there are undoubtedly better guitars around, and I could afford more now, but this is a great guitar. When I bought it I tried a lot of other guitars, but this just felt the best instantly.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar is great for playing live. I use it all the time and have never needed a backup. Nothing has deteriorated at all since I bought it (about a year ago) and it was second hand then, so I'm sure it can take a lot. The strap buttons were reasonably solid, but they were coming a bit loose so recently I removed them, filled in the holes and put in some new Schaller ones, with strap locks. The finish scratches fairly easily when I use a metal plectrum, but it's hardly noticeable and I don't really care. Otherwise, it's fine.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I bought this second hand, and the people at the shop restrung it for me (it had been out in the shop for a while). They set the strings up perfectly (although I must admit I'm not at all fussy about things like that). The humbuckers don't stay in place at all, and always drop down, which is a bit annoying sometimes. The guitar had one chip in the finish when I bought it, but since then has not sustained any damage at all. It seems very solid. The tone knob does crackle a lot when turned, but that hardly counts as a problem. Also, when playing without an amp, something rattles, but I like it, because it boosts the volume, and because of the guitar's size, it is very quiet otherwise (I hardly ever use an amp at home).
Features — 8
This guitar has 22 jumbo rosewood frets, which, combined with the thin Wizard II neck, make it very easy to play. The finish does get fingerprint marks very easily, which is a little annoying, but not really important. The body is mahogany and the neck is maple. The Ibanez ZR tremolo system is great, with that and the locking at the nut it doesn't go out of tune for about a month or two. When I first bought the guitar, I had a little trouble palm muting, as I used to rest my hand on the bridge, but that just took some getting used to. The guitar has two humbuckers and a single coil (too many pickups for my taste, I just don't find it necessary to have 3) and a 5-way pickup selector. I like the fact that the volume and tone knobs are far enough away from the strings so that I don't hit them while playing, which I do with a lot of guitars. Also, it is very light and thin, which is great for playing live.