Sound — 8
play fusion and battle metal for sport but know and appreciate many other styles of music. I tested the VBT through through my Krank Revolution loaded w/ 6L6's my Peavey Triple X loaded w/KT77s and my Marshall Mode 4. I had no gripes or difficulty obtaining the tones or sound I was trying to achieve. I purchased the axe the day before a gig and decided to pair the Krank with the VBT. I had no issues with feedback because I know how to gate properly, so that was not an issue Live. However, w/the selector Switch in the rear pickup position I had to tweak the tone control down a bit because it seem a bit "high endy" for me. Outstanding variations in tonal shapes to include superior cleans.
Overall Impression — 6
I've been playing for about 20 years and own every V shaped model there is. I will continue to collect and play em as long as I can. The VBT700 is a great guitar for the price and I welcome it into my arsenal. It plays as good and in some cases better than some of the other Vs I own. To bad production was ceased on this model but hopefully Ibanez will canvas the reviews here and elsewhere to highly consider production on a more advanced model soon.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The axe stood up to the first gig with no problem. I use it for several tunes and pick up several other Vs during a show, so it works just fine for what I use it for. OBTW, the company I bought the axe from didn't have a case for it, so I purchased a Gibson V case instead. I modified the case so the wings would make it in the case and added foam to the bottom of the body portion for stability. I was offered a Coffin Case but declined because their so freakin huge to the point of ridiculous. Cases are getting hard to come by for the VBT since production has ceased. I also modified the rear strap position on the axe as I do with all my Vs but care should be taken here when drilling the hole in the v portion of the VBT body due to routing of the pick selector wire. This is where I give the company an 8 regarding construction. All companies should know by now to put the rear strap hole in the middle of the v wing for better and equal strap positioning and body hang. Shame on all of 'em! Other than the aforementioned, durability is decent.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The rosewood fret board is smooth and definitely set for speed. All 24 frets can be accessed with ease. Action works well especially for staccato runs, sweep arpeggios and the like. Ibanez always excels in that department for sure. I credit the company for employing the D Activator pickups on the mahogany body because without em, the tone would not meet my specs. The bridge is awesome. I love the fact that it's adjustable by using a hex Tool to tweak it and tighten it down for dead on intonation, which by the way is easier and faster to zero than conventional systems. The decision to modify the machine heads with Sperzals was negated because the orgignals are good-to-go for now and work fine. I do take issue with the bindings. Attention to detail was not demonstrated here on a black one I was going to purchase and the one I did purchase (inconsistent i.e., slightly wavy striping). Come on Indonesia, raise the bar!
Features — 10
Purchased the VBT w/white finish and black bindings. I play various V shaped axes and this one met most of my personal specs, especially the neck through design, jumbo frets and the passive DiMarzios D Activators. Overall, the axe contains a decent set of features for me.