I happened to have some time on my hands yesterday and went to a few local music stores looking for a Dimarzio five-way switch. Neither chain store had one but as I was walking out of SA I noticed a gorgeous black and green seven string hanging high on the wall; beckoning to me. There was already one music store shredder going off in the store and I honestly don't like trying out guitars in music stores when that sort of thing is going on. But I had to try the UV70P; I absolutely had to!
The UV70P is a great guitar - without question. It's not like its MIJ cousin of course but it's still a quality instrument in its own right. Like all other Premiums it has a great neck and great fret work. For a guitar hanging on the wall it was in fairly good tune. Only a few minor tweaks on the fine tuners on the low side were needed; typical on a seven. The Blaze pickups sound great, particularly the middle single coil. The neck profile seems easy to traverse top to bottom. The EZII is good. I think in general they are a better sell with the ZPZ system. Without it they're pretty much a regular Floyd. The casting precision on the trem parts didn't seem that great. And are the saddle pressure pads plastic? Hard to tell. It seems the trem is the bane of any MII Ibanez.
Now to the ultimate question. Would I leave the store with it if I had the $1,400? Probably. Maybe I'm cheap in general but I think all Premiums are $100-200 too expensive; but that's my opinion. I think I've found a fair assessment of all Premiums: Any Premium seems like someone took a standard MII guitar and gave it to a pro luthier and said "make it as close as you can to an MIJ model." The quality is good (not great) from all the extra work but you can't get past the MII roots. $1,400 is a fair price for what you get and, yeah, you're paying a premium (pun intended) for Steve Vai's name. Any more than $1,400 I'd say would push it into the "no" category. But MAN it's too bad they don't make a non-sig HSH seven string RG; but that's pretty much what a Universe is, right?
As a "control" subject I picked up a nearby RG7420 to see the difference. It felt pretty much like my RG7321 only with a trem. The quality was lower than the UV but, as I saw it, not that much lower. The neck felt boxier on the 7420 due to binding and the profile I think. Obviously, the pickups on the UV sounded better. The trem's honestly felt the same. Is the UV70P better overall? Surely. Is it $900 bucks better? Not sure.
I guess bottom line on this matchup is that one should go to the store and try the UV70P before buying so that they can decide for themselves.
I will say the guitar that I tried out that I wished I could have walked out with was the RGIR20FE. For $600 this is a GREAT guitar! I've never been an EMG guy but this guitar sounded GREAT! The aforementioned store shredder was on a jazz kick and I started playing along with his chords with this thing and it kept up - no sweat. Oh yeah, and it's GREAT for metal! This guitar is as advertised! If I didn't have six guitars already, a two-year old, and lots of bills I would have walked out of the store with one.
Well, actually I would have walked out with the $600 RG1451 that's STILL hanging on the wall - but that's how life can taunt you sometimes.
I will summarize by saying that none of these guitars, UV included, can touch my '01 RG570. Maybe Ibanez should have their Premium factory build those.
I will try to put up formal reviews of each model later. Hope this was helpful.