Price paid: $ 1199
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
If this guitar can't suit your style, I don't know what style you're playing. The neck pickup reminds me of a Les Paul, the middle is a no-hum Strat, and the bridge is a screamer. Noise is minimal. Playing through my Line 6 modeling amp or my RP350 modeler, there's not really a sound I can think of that this guitar can't do very well.
Overall Impression — 10
Seriously impressed. I am a big fan of the bridge system and the versatility of the pickups. I've been playing for close to 20 years. I currently own 5 guitars, but generally play my American Standard Strat most often. My only concern now is that I'm not sure I'll find many occasions where I feel like playing my beloved Strat anymore. If anything happened to this new guitar, I would be seriously upset and would replace it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
All of the hardware feels very well made and durable. I've heard warnings that the wizard necks are easy to break and I don't really doubt it -- it's quite thin. As long as I don't drop it or anything like that, everything looks like it will hold up very well.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The fit and finish is impeccable. This is one the highest quality guitars I've ever seen. The action was a little high and I found the sound improved a bit by bringing the bridge pickup a touch closer to the strings. But these were definitely both preference issues -- the out of the box setup was perfectly usable and clearly done with care.
Features — 10
The guitar is a 2009 Prestige series from Ibanez's Team J. Craft in Japan. Thin, arched top mahogany body with a transparent black sunburst. 5 piece maple wizard neck with 24 frets on a rosewood fingerboard. The three passive pickups are in a hum-sing-hum configuration with each pickup having it's own unique sound. The bridge is one of the newer ZR bridges, so it pivots on ball bearings instead of knife edges like a Floyd Rose would. The spring system in the back keeps it steady during tuning or even string breakage, so it stays in tune. Under normal playing conditions (no tuning change or string breakage), I think a Floyd Rose actually holds tune slightly better, but the ability to Switch to dropped D tuning quickly is a huge plus. Also, the bridge is simply better enginered and manufactured than the original FR bridges I've seen. Hardshell case (with Ibanez Prestige logo) is included.