I'd been looking for one of these ever since they were announced last year and was finally able to score one. Seems like there aren't alot of them floating around yet. Mine arrived early in the week, but I've been playing it so much I hadn't taken time to do an NGD thread yet, and man is it an incredible instrument! Not posting too many pics, just a couple crappy iPhone shots, but you can get my drift.
It's great to see Bare Knuckles coming standard in a major manufacturer's offerings, and once again Ibanez is ahead of the pack by doing so. Having order from BKP several times, I can't say enough about what a great product they make, what nice people they are, and what an outstanding level of service they provide. Tim is just a class act, and I'm incredibly excited to see them garnering the well deserved attention and respect.
For the past year and a half or so, I've really been on a big singlecut (largely Les Paul) bender. I always thought Ibanez had a winner with the ARZ shape, and had hoped they would one day give it the proper MIJ Prestige or, better yet J-Custom treatment and IMO opinion they really outdid themselves with these guitars. I hope this line sells well, and Ibanez has incentive to do a J-custom ARZ. If they came out with one that had a nice figured top (or an Edge! Give me one with an Edge!), and showed off some nice woods, I'd be on it like white on rice, and I think they could do well.
Though this particular instrument is clearly geared toward metal, it's almost like they perfected the singlecut design. In so many ways, it really is the best playing singlecut I've ever played. It's like someone finally looked at all of the super-obvious faults with more traditional single cutaway guitars, and just made one that gets out of your way and doesn't make you "fight" it to play. It's like Ibanez finally made that Singlecut I'd always wanted them too!
The neck profile is generally just about perfect. I think anyone who is pretty exclusively a Les Paul player would get along very well with it, and for those like me who tend toward slimmer necks, it's also not to fat, not too round, and not too "deep" at the shoulders. It's difficult to describe, but it's not too thick or thin anywhere on the neck.
They also took the 25in scale that I love on my PRS SC250, but got rid of the bulky neck heel that Gibson and PRS have and replaced it with an uber-awesome sculpted heel that gives upper fret access to your heart's content.
It's a weighty guitar for sure, though I haven't weighed it to get a precise weight, it's right up there with some of my 9lb-ish Gibsons, and has the chunk, sustain, and depth to the sound to go along with it. It came from the factory tuned in D Standard tuning, and between the BKP Nailbombs and the lower tuning, this thing is just a riffing MONSTER.
Though it's almost like comparing apples to oranges, I'll add that this guitar just destroys
any ESP Eclipse I've ever owned, include my Alex Skolnick signature, which is generally an incredible guitar, and for my purposes, it stands above all of my Gibson LPs as well.
I'll stop blathering now, but if you've got G.A.S. and you've been curious about one of these, I think you would be wise to give one a shot. It is an awesome, awesome guitar.
My only gripe is, I got it and somehow in less than a week I've lost my toggle switch tip!? Ah well, thank goodness for Rich!