Made In: Japan
Specs: Mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard
Electronics: Ibanez QM1 & QM2 humbuckers, L.R. Baggs piezo
Controls: Volume, tone, five-way switch for magnetic pckups – Volume, bass & treble cut & boost for piezo pickup – three way switch for magnetic/piezo selection
I had such grand plans when I bought this. I much prefer the S shape to the RG and it had a more conventional sized Ultra neck. The possibilities offered by the piezo and magnetic combination were inspiring. It was also, and remains, one of the prettiest guitars I can think of.
As you’d expect from Ibanez Japan, the build was superb. Everything felt solid and high quality. The way the S gets really thin at the edges is really comfortable and the action could be set nicely low. The chunkier Ultra neck really worked for me too, it had a really thick slab of rosewood for a fretboard.
The piezo sounded really good, especially when run into a P.A. or direct input. The switching allowed you to send the piezo and magnetic pickups out through separate jacks or use the mini-switch to blend or select individually through one output. If anything, the guitar exceeded my level of talent by some margin.
My only gripe was that I couldn’t get a tone out of the bridge humbucker which I was truly happy with. I tried several different pickups as the QMs weren’t that good, to be honest. Nothing I tried in the bridge position worked for me, not even a trusty JB and, as a result, I eased it on out the door.
I do think of it from time to time, wondering if I would get along better with it now. It was a guitar which offered almost limitless possibilities but I never felt truly at home on it at the time.