Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
I play Prog./Metal/Rock/Classical/etc. You get the picture. This guitar fits my style more than anything I've picked up thus far. I play through a Mesa Boogie Mark IV and my effects loop consists of a Visual Sound LIquid Chorus, Ernie Ball Volume Pedal JR., and a Boss DD20 gigadelay. Honestly you could put just about any pickups through that setup and make it sound pretty damn good but with me it's all about the subtleties. The pickups are the stock infinity series which, unfortunately, blow. No problem though. I've already got a set of Dimarzios that I'm about to plop in this beautiful guitar. Liquifire and Crunch Lab. Mmmm... The deadly duo. Of course with the five-way it's one versatile instrument. You can get pretty much any sound out of it that you want, and, with the mahogany body, that sound is gonna be good. I also own an RG4 and RG350 which both have basswood bodies. Mahogany wins hands down obviously. That's why the RG4 shall not keep it's pickups for long.
Overall Impression — 10
I can finally say that I've found the guitar series that is perfect for me. I thought that the RG's would be my bread and butter but this thing blew me away. The necks are the same, super smooth and super fast. Legato lines are really fun to play on this guitar as well for some reason (maybe it's just the look that makes me wanna play smooth). Once I get the other pickups in, this thing will be unstoppable! The ZR trem is so smooth and the ZPS2 is a life saver. The quilted maple w/red burst finish will make you cry because you don't have it and I do. I will definitely stay in the S series of guitars from now on. The bodies are just so well fitting both while standing and sitting down playing. Lighter than my RG's and with mahogany tone! I don't see what could make this a better guitar other than it coming from the factory with good pups. Great guitar guys. Don't hesitate to try one out.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The Zero Point System 2. A GOD SEND! I read a lot of reviews on this tremolo, and I heard a lot of negative feedback for the ZPS. I can honestly tell you that I dive bombed the hell out of this guitar. Dropped it as far as I could and strummed the floppy strings at the bottom for a long time. Then I let it back up and without wiggling it to get it back in tune I played a perfect G chord. Then I checked the tuning. Amazingly still dead on. I was so freakin excited. Even on the pull ups (I did the Herman Li thing and picked up the guitar in front of me by the trem bar) stayed in tune. I was amazed. I can't see why people give this thing a bad rep, or maybe they don't stretch their strings out first in which case no tremolo will keep your strings in tune. STRETCH YOUR STRINGS DUMMIES! I could see it being possible to break a high E string or the B string and stay in tune, but a low E or an A would most likely throw it off by a bit. Still, a gigantic improvement over the Standard floater. Sure it's a bit stiffer to dive with but hell if that's the price I have to pay for stability then by god I'll live with it. Probably the only guitar in my collection that I would gig without a backup (still wouldn't though but that's just me being overcautious). As with most of the finish on Ibanez trems it probably will wear off eventually. That doesn't bother me that much. Btw keep your trem covered with a light coat of WD-40 and you should be good in that department.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Out of the box: Action was good. A little high on the high strings. A little too low on the low strings. Minimal buzz but it was easily removed. The neck pickup was a bit high which made for excessive picking noise, also easily solved. I noticed that one fret had a little bit of what looked like an impurity in the metal but it's not causing any problems. Just a tiny speck of discoloration. The main issue is the volume knob. About half way through the sweep it becomes stiff then as you continue turning it it loosens up toward the end of the sweep. So if it had numbers I'd say between 4 and 7 it's pretty stiff. Very odd but I'm sure I can fix that I just haven't gotten around to it. The jack is a little difficult to get a cord into. Everything else was great.
Features — 8
New 2011 model. Indonesian Ibby. 24 jumbos of course, maple fretboard on a Wizard 3 maple neck which is SWEET as usual. Mahogany S series body which is thin around the edges and fatter in the middle for tone. Quilted maple top with the new finish-Trans. Red Burst. I cannot adequately express with words how beautiful this guitar is. The combination of the brilliant red and that maple fretboard with black Dot inlays is to die for. ZR trem with the ZPS2 (I'll get around to this later) Pickups are the usual INF-1, 2, and the single in the middle. 1 Vol. 1 Tone control. Five-way (giggity) HSH configuration. Double locking of course for the trem. Came with the wrenches and that cheap ass cable they always throw in. What drew me in to this guitar at first was the maple fretboard w/black Dot inlays. There aren't enough Ibanez models with maple fretboards in my opinion. Also, the tremolo is one that I've been wanting to try out for some time now. What sealed the deal for me, however, was when I saw a picture of the Trans. Red Burst finish other than the stock photo on Ibanez and Guitar Center. I don't know what they were thinking, going with that photo, but it doesn't do it any justice at all. This thing is RED. Brilliantly red! I decided to go through with the buy and oh how glad I was that I did. The great features on this guitar just keep stacking up the more you look at it. I'll give this an 8 though because the pickups will, of course, have to go. Not much of an issue though. I've definitely seen worse in this price range.