Hey everyone, I'm actually a little overdue for a NGD - earlier this year I got myself a new Squire CV Tele that I've modded the crap out of and should probably get to writing about that - but I recently just picked this thing up at a steal from Musiciansfriend's b-stock list. I sold a 6505+ on my local craigslist about a month ago and literally took the money, put it in my bank account, and ordered this right when I got home: SO YEAH! First 8 time playing an 8 string setup to my liking! Let's get onto the review of this thing shall we? Initial Impressions: 1. SUPER light. Like, holy-crap light. But it sounds huge, is a riff monster, and has great playability in the upper and lower register. 2. This guitar is THIN! You'd think it'd have a negative effect on the the tone....nope, it's great. Really comfortable. 3. The Nitro-wizard neck isn't too bad, but I took some steel-wool to it and now she's smooth as ice. Really, I recommend everybody doing this to their guitar's neck. It gets rid of that dry-wood feeling and really smooths things out. 4. The D-activators are pretty awesome high-gain pickups. They make my otherwise dull-sounding OD channel on my Peavey Classic 50 sound pretty passable. The neck pickup wasn't too bad either on clean, but I dropped a PAF 8 in there and it's even better. I was a little skeptical of this guitar at first seeing as I'd had mixed experiences with certain Indo-Ibby's. The last one I owned was an RG321MH which, after much modification, was badass, but never quite exactly played as slick as I wanted it to...I eventually sold it to a good buddy of mine, as I have an RG2570 Prestige and my Universe that frankly, blew that thing out of the water playability wise (but honestly that mahogany RG sounded massive). There's also not many reviews on this particular model, and some of the specs on Ibanez's website were a bit confusing. For instance - there's no fretboard binding on this model, but there is on the 7 string and the Burl topped version, which runs for $400 more. Which is a bit of a bummer because I really enjoy neck binding, but it's not that big of a deal. Playability: The most important part of a new guitar...how well she plays! I'm still tinkering with the neck angle, saddle height etc. right now but I've got her set up with .010 D'addario's with a .074 from an Ernie Ball set. Ordering a GHS .076 and .080 set to try out soon. .074 in F" isn't bad, mildly floppy, but Drop E could probably benefit from an 80 on there. Stoked to try it out. I honestly really like how flat fretboard is, I can do fast legato runs on the lower and upper register and with the way I have the action set, it's pretty consistently low - minor fret buzz on the lower bass strings, but nothing to be upset about. Tapping is a breeze. Chords really shine with the long scale, the Mahogany makes notes super loud and pronounced both plugged in and unplugged. The neck is a really nice shape, smooth shoulders. The carved body is honestly a bit more comfy than my RG's, no idea what took me so long to try out the S shape. Fit & Finish: The only thing wrong with this particular guitar finish wise, was this: On the back of the upper horn. Looks like some strange unfinished part of the paint that got clearcoated over, there's also a slight finish crack, but nothing that I believe will get worse over time. The fretboard is a pretty darn clean looking cut of rosewood, and the Iron Pewter is honestly pretty badass looking. It reminds me of a darker Galaxy Black, sort of sparkly when you look at it up close. The hardware adds to the nice color scheme going on in this guitar. The fret edges on this one aren't so bad that it cuts my hand, although I can see some cuts into the edge of the fretboard where the guys took the fret file and accidentally hit the rosewood...there are quite a few of them, which is a bit annoying, but again, for the price I got this for, not complaining. The only playability flaw in this guitar is a high 11th fret, that only causes the high E to choke out when I bend it downwards - it frets, but chokes out before the string even falls off the edge of the fret. Probably won't be too expensive of a fix - I eventually will take this to a luthier to deal with soon. Sound: I've never owned or played extensively a guitar with a 27" scale, so the longer length was decently noticeable. But man, does it really make a difference. Bends are a bit harder to do, but the trade-off is increased sustain, tension and overall taut-ness of the strings. Add that into the fact that this guy is made of Mahogany and wow, it really is resonant. Playing a G-chord on this thing sounds nearly identical to an acoustic guitar, it really is beautiful. The 5 way switch is awesome - I can nail those split-coil AAL tones perfectly. Other things of note: For whatever reason, this guitar came with a literally split-down-the-middle bridge pickup: It's hard to notice, but in the space between the two coils, it's literally cracked open, and bent downwards. It also came set up super close to the strings and the screws are too tightly turned in the wood to adjust it any lower, which is a bit annoying, but hopefully when I go to eventually replace the bridge pup I can somehow get the screws out and put new ones in. Has anybody else had this problem before? To conclude, i'm really enjoying this guitar, despite its minor drawbacks that knocked a good fraction of the price down. Practicing two handed tapping and double-thumping on this is awesome, really gratifying - the neck isn't too wide and honestly makes other guitars feel puny in comparison now! The longer scale has also made me fly down a 25.5" neck scale, which I can only imagine to be a good thing. The new low-profile Gibraltar-II is really good too - I used to own the previous one with the high shoulders and I'm happy they corrected that in this version of it. So far, so good with the Iron Label series. There are still a few things that don't make it as good as a prestige, but they are really stepping it up IMO. Feel free to ask any questions that I might not have covered. Now to go play this thing!