Nothing quite prepares you for your first glimpse of the new Ibanez GRG010LTD. We haven't seen so much yellow since we raided Bananaman's wardrobe.
In classic Ibanez fashion, this is no mellow yellow that bashfully avoids eye contact - this guitar's parts are about as subtle as radioactive banana custard. The design was apparently inspired by comic books. Let's take a closer look at the little marvel.
"This guitar's parts are about as subtle as radioactive banana custard, but underneath it's a real rock machine."
Wasp-like aesthetics aside, the GRG010LTD is your classic Ibanez rock machine. That familiar RG body shape comes loaded with a double-locking Edge III vibrato and a pair of PSND (aka Powersound) humbuckers packing ceramic magnets for maximum output.
Build quality is everything you'd expect from a manufacturer of Ibanez's calibre: the frets are well seated and dressed, and all the hardware works as it should.
Ibanez has a reputation for producing ultra-thin neck profiles (much loved by shredders), so you might be surprised to find a deep C-shape on a chunky neck that feels more Les Paul than lollipop stick. We like the extra beef and, believe us, you don't need a thin neck to play fast.
Plug into an amp and the combination of the ceramic magnets and hard fingerboard finish produces a lot of clarity. Heavy bottom string riffs really pop, and false harmonics are a breeze.
The Powersound pickups don't impress quite so much on a clean setting, though. Some guitars equipped with ceramic magnet humbuckers can be tonally versatile. The bridge 'bucker on the GRG010LTD lacks character; we had to combine it with the neck unit to add some depth to the tone.
It's a bit disappointing to find a regular three-way switch and not the coil-splitting five-way job that makes other Ibanez guitars so versatile. It would've been the tonal icing on what is already a pretty decent little cake.
The combination of black and yellow usually signifies scary things best not tangled with: wasps, poisonous frogs, '80s Christian metal bands… In the case of the GRG010LTD, it's just a unique finish on a great guitar.
The question of whether or not you'll be able to live with that finish is up to you. It's a valid question: guitars with unusual paint jobs can be tough to sell on.