Price paid: C$ 1100
Purchased from: Music City
Features — 8
I won't highlight too many specs as you can find them else where easily, but I will certainly commend the neck thru design with Duncan Ibanez pickups. This combination makes for great sustain. Would also mention that the bridge is very smooth and comfortable to play and also very easy to adjust the intonation on. The tuning heads are the only reason I'll give this section an 8 - they are good and hold tune well, yet locking tuners would be better. The neck has a profile that I would describe as a cross between a Les Paul and an RG, not too thick or thin, somewhere in the middle, nice and comfortable.
Sound — 10
I use this guitar for any style of music at all, that's not an overstatement, it's really that versatile. I normally play metal, but I've brought it to numerous blues jams at clubs and people constantly tell me what sleeper of a blues guitar this is. Despite it's aggressive looks, it can really pull off such a huge range of tones. With the two volume knobs - one for each pick up - the color and depth of tone you can achieve with various configurations is near limitless. The 500k volume and tone knobs really help to pull a wide variety of tones out of this guitar. With volume changes alone the pickup tone morphs dramatically with the slightest adjustment. HUGE tonal pallet!
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When I got this guitar, I set the action the way I wanted it and did the intonation, not because I needed to, purely a matter of preference. Out of the box, this thing was pretty well ready to go! The construction seemed flawless. The finish speaks for itself, in my opinion. It might look a bit too aggressive for some people with the flame inlays and throw off their initial impression, but I strongly suggest you don't judge a book by it's cover in this case... this is why I've had people call this guitar a "sleeper." Looks are very deceiving in this case.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have owned one of these for about 10 years now and have put in at least 15, 000 hours of play on it and I still have not needed to adjust the action or neck tension from my initial setup. I've only had to set the intonation 3 times I think - it holds really well. I've never had any wiring issues, pickups are as good as new, the fret wires even have minimal wear. I've even unfortunately dropped this guitar once or twice and I still don't even have so much as a scratch on the finish. The bridge has the chrome coating worn off slightly from palm muting but I consider this normal wear and tear and it just adds character in my opinion. This guitar is a warrior!
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing guitar for almost 25 years now and I've played a LOT of different guitars and I have yet to pick up a guitar that's as comfortable and versatile as this one. When I say versatile I mean this thing doesn't just play any style of music, it plays it extremely well! Rock, metal, blues, country, ... you name it, this is your go to axe! I'm very sad that Ibanez stopped making these before I had a chance to buy 2 or 3 more. If you have a chance to buy one, take it. There is next to no chance that you will be disappointed!