STM1 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 5
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (36 votes)
Ibanez: STM1

Price paid: £ 580

Purchased from: Second hand

Sound — 9
The guitar is very versatile is terms of sound, with minimal gain on a clean channel it can growl out some very tasty blues, but crank it up with some overdrive and the DiMarzio Evolutions really scream out. If it had to be given a set genre it would be rock/metal, but don't be fooled by the somewhat aggressive shape of this guitar, it can and will play anything you want, and sound amazing. I use this guitar with a Marshall DSL40C (1x12 valve combo) I play classic rock, blues, metal, jazz, all sorts. Using it with effects pedals just opens up the sound even more. The number of sounds you can achieve with this guitar are limited only by your amplifier and your creativity!

Overall Impression — 9
While this guitar may have been designed for Sam Totman, it does everything and more. You don't have to play songs about dragons and fire to make this thing sound great. Due to being discontinued, they are getting somewhat hard to find, so I'd suggest if you're considering buying one to get one fast. My favourite features are: - The pickups, which sound amazing. - The colour scheme, white as snow. - The lack of branding, no one has ever come up to me after a gig and said 'Wow is that a Sam Totman signature guitar?!' Which is a great thing, I've always wanted a white Iceman with a Floyd Rose, this fit the bill perfectly.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have gigged this guitar numerous times (without a backup). The finish has yet to develop any imperfections, and the chrome hardware is still as shiny as it was when I first bought it. As with any guitar, I'd recommend installing a set of strap locks immediately, it only takes one slippery guitar strap to cause an accident which could end up being very costly. I am hoping that over time, the Arctic white finish will mellow into a creamy colour akin to Randy Rhoads' Les Paul Custom. I would never sell or trade this guitar, it has changed my opinion of Ibanez being just for metal. More versatile than any Strat or Les Paul.

Action, Fit & Finish — 5
The previous owner had set it up to play metal, the action was far too low for my liking, a few small adjustments with the supplied allen key easily fixed this. As mentioned above, the black binding appears to be painted on, which isn't ideal, but if you care more about the sound than the looks then it shouldn't matter too much. The white finish is flawless, and feels like it could last a lifetime. A great feature of an all white guitar is that finger prints don't show up easily, I rarely have to clean the body. The black/chrome/white colour scheme is very uniform looking, a real show piece. Unfortunately, due to the 'fake' binding, I'm going to have to knock the score down to a 5, a shame since everything else finish wise is excellent.

Features — 8
My guitar is a 2009 Indonesian model. I bought it second hand but with the original hard case and all of the accessories. Included in the case was: a set of allen keys, an Ibanez booklet and the tremolo bar. The case itself is linted with black fur and holds the guitar very securely. The cut-out shape should hold any type of Ibanez Iceman, not just the STM1. This is the most ergonomic guitar I've ever owned. The way the body curves and the position of the "belly cut" makes it very comfortable to play, standing or sitting. The deep cutaway where the horn is makes even the highest frets easy to reach. The body is constructed of a very solid and weighty mahogany, with a flawless white finish and black binding (which looks painted on, sadly). The thru neck is very fast and thin, as mentioned in the official specs it is a 5-Piece Maple-Walnut neck with a 25.5 Scale and 400mm Radius. The bridge style is an Edge III tremolo, which gets a bad rep for its tuning stability. This is only the second guitar I own with a Floyd Rose type of bridge, and I haven't had any problems with it going out of tune, the locking nuts keep it very stable with only minor tweaks needed every now and then when I've been going crazy with the whammy bar. The controls are the only thing that brings the score down from 10 to an 8, as I like to have one volume knob per pickup when using a three way toggle switch due to my familiarity with Les Pauls. It was very easy to install a second knob, so now the volume of each pickup is controlled independently, allowing me to blend the sound of each one with more control. Plus it looks like it was there all along!

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i just bought this guitar secondhand,replaced strings,polished the frets,adjusted truss rod-(not enough relief!)i adjusted pickups to a lower position(too much noise!)--it now plays and sounds fantastic! ....fretboard is very fast,edge3 gives no problems at all!..pickups are amazing,the response/sustain is incredible,the best 350 euro i have ever spent!! is my best guitar i have now---i have 12 others--different makes/types..including deans,esp ltd,fender,epiphone....