The Ibanez Darkstone is a slightly unusual foray for Ibanez. The company has never been afraid to take chances, of course – after all, they did build the first production 7-string guitar – but the new Darkstone line takes a lot more of these chances than even the legendary Universe. The line is pitched at the metal market, a notoriously difficult egg to crack if you want to try something different. Does the gamble pay off? Let’s see.
The first interesting quirk of the Darkstone is that it’s built from Sapele, a wood which is tonally reminiscent of mahogany but is more commonly found in acoustic guitars. Both the body and the set-in neck are built from Sapele. The scale length is 24.75″ (ie: Les Paul-ish rather than the Strat-like 25.5″ of an RG), and the neck feels surprisingly beefy for a D-shaped profile. The frets are medium, but the slightly curvy 305mm (12″) radius and the pearloid binding (just like the binding on my beloved Ibanez UV777BK) makes the frets feel a little bigger. By the way, I reviewed the black model, but it’s also available in white. Get both and alternate them each night the way Jimmy Page alternated his black and white stage suits.