Price paid: € 680
Purchased from: Local music store
Sound — 9
Take one look at the Xiphos and you'll instantly know what it was built for: Screeching, blazing, insane metal. It's not that you can't play anything else with it - it's just that you'll look silly in a jazz band with an extreme-shaped guitar like this. I play all kind of metal, along with hard- and classic rock, and the Xiphos deals with all of the styles rather fluently. Somewhat surprisngly, the guitar is excellent for clean tones, too. Flipping the pickup selector into the middle position gives the guitar almost Strat-like, single coil-ish sound qualities, making it perfect for blues and 80's rock sounds. The only problem seems to be the power of the pickups. The D-activators are a pair of very nice sounding pickups, but to get some good distorted sounds out of the guitar, you'll really have to crank the distortion up. I play the guitar with my Fender FM212R and Peavey Valve King 212. With both, I use my Boss ME-20 for distortion, for neither of the amps can produce enough gain with the Xiphos on their own. I've also played the guitar through Engl, Marshall and Crate amplifiers, and the Xiphos was left behind by other guitars when played without external distortion-producing units. But make no mistake! If you have some nice hardware, the Xiphos will turn into the perfect metal guitar in an instant.
Overall Impression — 9
Playing whatever I play, this guitar is an overall great match. The playability, the sound, the feel - it's all just what I want from a guitar. The flawless build of the thing still kind of amazes me to the day. I've been playing for around 5 years now, and during that time I've come across dozens of guitars. I'd have to say that the XPT700 is at least in the top 3 of what I've played, dropping many Jacksons, LTDs, Deans and ESPs behind it. I've actually been thinking of buying another one exactly like this so I could keep the other one in a straight tuning while the other one would be in a dropped tuning. Overall, despite the factor of the pickups' power, this guitar is so damn good that I don't think I ever want to get any other guitar again.
Reliability & Durability — 9
As said before, the XPT700 hundred is a high-quality, professional level guitar. I've had it for about a year now, with no signs of the guitar wearing down. I would absolutely play it Live, even without a backup if I had to. There has been general talk about the placement of the strap buttons, as the upper one is somewhat unconventionally placed, I didn't really find it a problem, as I got used to it in a matter of days.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This is where it really starts to get good. Straight from the box and after a quick general set-up, the guitar was perfect. I'd say that any shredder would be satisfied with the playability of the super-thin Wizard II neck. There was no fret buzzing or other extra noise, and the guitar was overall well set-up and carefully constructed. No sharp fret edges or other flaws to Drive you crazy.
Features — 10
Crafted in Indonesia in 2007, Ibanez once again proves that a guitar doesn't have to read "Made in USA" on the back of the headstock in order to be a very high-class, professional level guitar. The XPT700 has fabulous features that suit a wicked metal best. An Ultra-fast, 5-piece walnut/mahogany wizard II neck-through neck and 24 jumbo frets on a rosewood fretboard are sure to keep the shredder happy, and a big, heavy mahogany body to guarantee excellent tone and sustain. Add in an Ibanez Edge III tremolo system and two awesome DiMarzio D-activator passive humbuckers, and we'll have the makings of an instant classic in our hands. The icing on the cake is the hard case that was included in the price, and is made for the Xiphos exclusively.