As all bearded historians know, the xiphos was a double-edged sword wielded in battle by the ancient Greeks. Fast forward to the present and it refers to a double-cutaway axe wielded at gigs by modern hair balls.
Ibanez reckons “the Xiphos is like something out of a sorcerer’s nightmare”. We don’t know about that, but it certainly resembles a metal head’s wet dreams, with the spangly ‘flip’ finish and savage styling evoking a sharpened dodgem.
Look closer and you’ll question the £599 price tag: we’ve got a mahogany body, five-piece Wizard II thru neck, DiMarzio D-Activator humbuckers, an Edge III vibrato and drool running down our chin.
The Xiphos’ angular body makes a hell of a visual statement. Strap on and it feels like a less clunky Explorer, and the deep cutaways offer unhindered access to the top frets to keep shredders happy. We’ve seen the Wizard II neck a few times and it’s fast as hell - the thru format is a bonus - while the Edge vibrato handled hard bends in both directions.
Ibanez has played a blinder getting DiMarzio involved with this guitar, and the twin D-Activators ’buckers are the best feature here. These units aren’t just facilitators of moronic shred: the neck has body and soul when you play it clean, the bridge has a classy bite, and both respond to picking dynamics in a way that is rare at this price point.
Just a shame it doesn’t feature the coil-splitting feature of pricier Ibanez axes.
Pros: Physical comfort, classy pickups.
Cons: No five-way pickup selector.
BUY: Ibanez Xiphos XPT700 currently available from Andertons Music Co. and Thomann