Ok, first a shitty cell phone pic:
I managed to hold out almost 24 hours after this was announced at NAMM. It's a 1527 with an ash body and a maple fretboard, and a pair of Dimarzio PAFs. It's pretty much all I ever wanted in an Ibanez, and they even did it in my favorite finish they're currently producing. That kind of intelligent model design needs to be rewarded in the marketplace, and I figured it was my duty as a consumer to support them so they would continue to make intelligent decisions like this.
I picked it up right at close (a couple minutes after, actually - huge kudos to Jay down at Matt's for hanging out for a couple minutes after close when I got stuck in I-93 rush hour traffic). They had ordered two and let me pick out which one I wanted - I barely looked at them, just picked them up, played a few licks, checked quickly for any dead spots or fret issues, and then grabbed the one whose neck felt ever-so-slightly more comfortable to me (they were both great).
I shot some video last night with this, but my camera died before I could get it onto my computer (actually died while I was recording, 4 minutes in), so I may take another crack at it tonight or over the weekend. So, that and better pictures are coming.
Short review - this thing doesn't really compare to my (similarly spec'd) Suhr, but when you get right down to it, it would be way more concerning if it did. There are a couple flaws an imperfections in the ash body and one on the fretboard, and while the fretwork is overall quite good - better than I'd expected, actually - the fret edges are a little rough (the perfectly rounded off fretwork on my Suhr has me spoiled). Then again, considering this thing has a street price between a third and a half of my Suhr's, expecting it to measure up in all aspects isn't a realsitic expectation, and had it I'd be having some pretty serious buyers remorse over the Suhr.
Overall though fit and finish is very good. You can barely feel the fret edges as you slide your hand up and down the neck, but the frets themselves are really pretty stellar - this will take lower action without buzzing than I'd ever want - and the neck carve is VERY close to my old 1527, which I loved. Upper access is exceptional, better than my Suhr, and I think the way the RG body positions your hand still works better for me, after a decade of playing RGs and a couple years with a Suhr. Acoustically, it's a good match for the Suhr, so I suspect most of the tonal differences between the two plugged in are due to the pickups. Which makes sense.
The PAFs are pretty good - I really like the neck, and while I think I like the bridge, it's a little thinner and snappier than I might prefer for leads. It's not bad though and I don't know if it's the strings (9s with a 52 or 54 B) or the PAF in the bridge vs a Tone Zone 7 currently in the Suhr, the bridge position rhythm tone is VERY good.
I feel like this needs some more play time to really break in, plus some "real" strings, but overall this is a pretty damned good guitar for a very reasonable price, and it's entirely possible that if this was in production back when I ordered the Suhr, I wouldn't have bothered going custom. Again, all I ever wanted was an alder or ash RG with a maple fretboard.
One of you guys should buy the other one at Matt's.
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