Purchased from: 6 String (off of Reverb)
Features — 9
I purchased a 2013 Ibanez S7521 from 6 String for $369. Other retailers sell the same guitar for $550-$600. I'm not sure why 6 String is selling them at such a discount, but the one I purchased was brand new and does not appear to be a "factory second."
The body is mahogany and very comfortable. The finish is black and very shiny. The neck is a Wizard II neck with Rosewood fretboard, jumbo frets and 25.5 inch scale. The neck is thin and fast. My hand will occasionally cramp because I am used to a thicker strat-style neck. The guitar has a fixed bridge (with strings through the body). The bridge is easy to adjust. The pickups are 2 Quantum humbuckers. The purchase did not include a case, but it included a few allen wrenches, a cloth for the body and a 2 or 3 foot cable. The tuners are not locking, but they hold a tune well.
This guitar is definitely made for drop-tuning. The string tension is too tight when playing in standard tuning unless you are playing 9's or 8's. However, drop tuning relieves some of the tension and then it is very easy (and fun) to play. However, you will want to increase the string gauge, when drop tuning, to prevent fret buzzing (more on this below).
Sound — 7
This guitar is for dark metal. Not '80s butt metal, but for dark doom-type metal. It sounds okay playing other styles. The mahogany body nicely resonates, although a thicker body would be even better. The neck pickup is nice clean (but is sometimes flat). The bridge pickup is shrill and I find myself turning down the tone knob to remove some of the shrillness. Overall, the pickups are good when drop tuning, and generally accommodate the darker tones that you are looking for out of a 7-sting. At some point I will be replacing the pickups.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The finish is beautiful and well done, but there were some issues with playability. The action was higher than factory specs and the intonation was sharp. The pickups were way too low. Those issues are easy to fix. However, there was a lot, and I mean a lot, of fret buzzing. It was so bad that I had to take it into a shop and have the frets leveled and dressed. Now it plays like a $1,000 guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is a tank. I have no concerns regarding reliability or durability.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this is a great guitar for $369. I would hesitate paying more than $500 for it unless I bought it from a shop (rather than online) and was able to test out the action, fret buzzing and overall playability. Also, be prepared to change the pickups. Ibanez cheaped out on the pickups so it could have better features elsewhere on the guitar. With some adjustments, this guitar has the potential to be a face-melting, doom-bringing, machine!