Price paid: $ 480
Purchased from: Albany Music, Albany, OR
Sound — 10
This guitar plays amazingly both clean and distorted. The powerful SZ1 and SZ2 pickups push every note through with stunning clarity. I play rock and punk, and for both, the guitar astounded me. I also play some Green Day, "Good Riddance" (a completely acoustic song) on the split setting, and it is almost as if I am playing on an acoustic guitar. For humbucker pickups, I have noticed almost no noise coming through.
Overall Impression — 10
Due to the nature of the rock/punk music I play, this guitar is perfect for someone like me. I know I treat my guitars like they're made of steel, and I know that I can expect this one to perform. If this guitar was stolen from me, I'd buy another one. I know, also, that even if it isn't stolen, I may buy another one of a different color somewhere down the line. I was surprised the price was so low for the quality of the product. Thanks Ibanez, and keep up the great work! You've made me a loyal customer.
Reliability & Durability — 10
As I have mentioned before, this guitar is build like a Sherman tank. The finish isn't going to wear off, not even with years of playing. The through-body neck design ensures that it will last you forever. I wouldn't be afraid to take this guitar to a show without a backup. Not even close. I wouldn't do this with either of my other guitars (Fender Satin Strat, Ibanez GSA60); they're just not built with the same quality and care that this guitar was constructed with.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I am uncertain as to wether or not Albany Music set the guitar up or repaired it in any way, but when I got my hands on it, I discovered that the action was perfect! I was stunned. The pickups are spaced perfectly from the strings (to the millimeter). The body, controls, and the tuning pegs, I am certain, will last forever. This guitar is built for the road.
Features — 10
My new favorite guitar has a beautiful quilted maple top and a "Black Berry" finish. It also includes the flame inlay at the 12th fret. Made with a through-body style neck, the guitar is built like a rock. It's design also provides throbbing bass while still allowing for screaming lead licks. The classic dual humbucker pickup combo allows for surprisingly clear clean sounds, as well as stunning distortion capacity. I am in love with the Gibraltar III bridge, and the strings passing clear through the body. 3 controls given: top pickup volume, bottom pickup volume and mix. This unusual control scheme allows for great sound control and tone adjustment.