Price paid: A$ 1500
Purchased from: Ellaways in Brisbane
Sound — 9
I play metal and only metal and the D activator delivers, excellent bottom end for chugging and bright rich highs. To my ear it sounds like a quitter EMG 81 although the D activator is passive, so it doesn't need much gain when setting you distortion level. This is by far the quietest guitar I own. The Air Norton-S sounds full and very smooth bell like tones. Plenty of sustain, I'd say about 7/10. The tone knob doesn't do much but dulls the sound like throwing a blanket over your amp's speakers. (I never use them on any guitar, set it on full and forget)
Overall Impression — 7
I play metal so the shape of the guitar is killer as is the pick up choice. I've owned this guitar for over 6 months now and here are the things I've noticed about this guitar 1. The paint is flat and kind of rubs off the top layer of skin on my thumb of my fretting hand and makes it feel kind of numb after playing for a while. 2. It is VERY neck heavy IF you set you strap for a low slung position like playing a V guitar. Apparently you can fix this problem by repositioning the top horn strap button to under the top horn (research this on youtube or google) 3. The edge 3 tremolo really sucks. I'm used to a original or licence Floyd Rose. My main problem with it is the bar's diameter (its way too thing), and how you torque it up. To tighten the bar you have to insert the bar and depress the strings and using the small Allen key supplied you insert it into the base of the assembly where it goes and tighten as required. Now this would be ok IF it didn't come loose but oh no it comes loose all the time with the amount of torque I put on the bar (stiff but not immovable so I can knock it out of the way without too much effort), it is a really dumb idea. I tuned it to Eb with 10-46 gauge strings and while doing this I came across another couple of annoyances. The springs are too weak (I'm using 4), to remove the springs you must remove a strip of metal (locking the springs in place) held down buy 3 Philips head screws which use the holes to add more springs so that's now in the case never to be refitted or used again not that a care about that. The 2 Philips head screws used to balance the tremolo's angle doesn't go deep enough into the body, although you could easily fix that but this is just using 3 springs and 10-46 hence why I'm using 4 springs for Eb tuning. And to set the right angle of the tremolo you have to look at the diagram in the booklet and guesstimate the right angle they describe in the book. 4. The pick up selector switch is in a crappy position (below the tone knob) because the tremolo bar gets in the way. It should be on the bottom front horn like my Razorback for better access. So it's a great guitar except for the Edge 3 tremolo, and the neck heaviness. If it were lost or stolen I wouldn't get one again. But having said that it's a great sounding guitar that has a few annoying flaws in its features.
Reliability & Durability — 7
If you look after your guitar it will last, its just common sense. The tuners don't seem to be all the great as they are your average Ibanez tuners. The black paint is rubbing off on the E and A string locking Allen key bolt but this is to be expected. The strap buttons are solid and in a nice position on the guitar for a standing Fender Strat guitar position (high and close to your chest) but more on the strap position later. Like all the guitars I own I've replaced the standard buttons for Schaller locking ones. The green flat paint used seems like it would scratch easily but I've haven't managed to do that yet, but you can't use polish on it and it requires a bit of pressure with a microfiber cloth to get rid of finger smudges or dried droplets of String Ease (aerosol string lube) so it might get thinner over time and expose the wood underneath.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
It was set up nicely with 9-42 gauge strings in standard with comfortable action. Guitar's finish is great although the flat finish can be abrasive, (More about that later) and I can only see a slight ripple in the finish about 5mm square, like the paint found water while being painted and cause a bit of wrinkling on the back of the neck (think of your finger tips when you have been swimming for a while for the shape comparison) but having said that I only noticed because I was looking for problems and you can't notice it when playing. Access to the 24th fret is amazing due to it being a 27 fret but access to th 27th is very tight due to the lower horn not being wide enough for your hand. Now about the extra 3 frets, I've never learnt or wrote a song that uses the extra ones, they are also a bit thinner in comparison to the last 3 frets of a 24 fret guitar so very presice playing is needed to play those extra frets. So very cool to have them but I very rarely use them when playing.
Features — 9
Indonesian built Comes with a Ibanez case and usual tools, generic lead, and instruction booklet 5pc Maple/ Walnut Neck 25.5 scale Wizard II thru-neck Mahogany body Jumbo 27 frets Bound Rosewood fretboard Sharktooth inlay Edge III bridge NeckPU: DiMarzio Air Norton-S BridgePU: DiMarzio D Activator Flat Green (Ibanez calls it Green Shadow Flat) 1 volume, 1 three way, 1 tone