Price paid: £ 350
Purchased from: GuitarGuitar
Sound — 8
This guitar is great for all schools of rock and heavy metal music. I'm running through a simple rig of a Line 6 Spider 3 2X12 120 watt amp with a Dunlop Cry Baby (for gigs I normally rent a Marshall JCM 800 combo amp which it sounds great through as well). I've never been one for lots of effects so if someone is looking to use this guitar with effects and wants advice I'm afraid I'll be no use, but if you are one of the few like me who like simplicity and still love great rock tone then this is the guitar my friends. There is very little sustain which drags down the guitars mark a little but it makes up for it with the greatness of its natural voice and lack of feedback. I don't know about how this guitar would handle many styles outside of the rock schools, you'd need to ask someone else about that but in terms of rock music there's very little the guitar can't do.
Overall Impression — 7
As you can probably tell I have very mixed opinions about this guitar. I do love it I just feel that there was some what of a lack in quality control at the factory where it was made. The only major problem is the huge number of loose screws but I feel that my guitar may just have been a one off with this as I have 2 friends that have this guitar and neither of them have had this problem. The guitar is a great match for me though. It's very comfortable to play and meets all my tonal requirements for rock and heavy metal (despite it's severe lack of sustain). I really wished I'd asked about the life-span of the hardware as I feel the tuning pegs on mine are drawing to a close end. If it were stolen or lost I might consider re-buying this guitar. However, I would definitely look around at other options first (probably an S series of some sort, still an Ibanez though because I love their guitars). I love the neck on this guitar and the general feel of it. It feel's like a rock instrument. When you pick it up you feel ready to rip out great songs in jams with your band. I compared the guitar with a lot of Ibanez RG guitars, as well as a few Jacksons and a couple of Dean guitars. I chose this one because at the time I wasn't interested in another guitar with a floating tremolo but now that I have a guitar without one I realise how much I do miss them. I also wish it had 24 frets simply because I like having them there even though I rarely use them, it's a comfort thing. All in all it is a great guitar but don't say I didn't warn you about the hardware issues and lack of sustain.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have gigged this guitar and not had any problems during a gig. However before gigs and when playing at home the strap buttons have come out like I said as well as the loose tuning pegs. Amazingly enough though, even with the low quality tuning pegs the guitar stays solidly in tune. I would definitely bring a back up to a gig. The finish however is incredible there are no blemishes at all on this guitar and it looks great. My only regret about the finish is that I didn't get it in white.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
Unfortunately the guitar lacks in score compared to the previous 2 segments here. The set up was fine for me because I never venture further in tunings then Drop D. However, this guitar will go no lower, so sorry to the extreme drop tuned guys but this isn't your instrument. For standard tuning and Drop D it is fine though. The springs in the back of the guitar for holding the tension of the bridge rattle around quite a bit. This however is probably due to the fact that I use 8 gauge strings and don't need much tension down there. However wrapping an elastic band around them will solve this problem. The strap lock has come out hundreds of times and the tuning pegs are forever coming loose. Replacing the hardware will do this guitar the world of good but very few people ever actually bother to do it, like myself, and unfortunately I have come to pay the price.
Features — 9
I think the guitar was made in either 2007 or 2008, I can't be sure but I do know it was made in China (thank you back of headstock). The scale is 23.4 and this guitar has 22 frets. The neck is very round and not the thinnest of necks however it is very comfortable for shred as well as rhythm work. The body and neck are both mahogany with a set in construction. The fingerboard is rosewood with very unique looking mother of pearl inlays. It bears proudly the Ibanez SAT Pro II tremolo system which is non-locking. The pick ups are passives which a lot of people may dislike but I generally prefer. There are also coil taps on each humbucker, but I'm really not the guy to go to about how good the things are considering I don't use them. All in all, quite a high score for features although 24 frets and a floating tremolo would be nice.