Instruments Review

Xiphos is All Looks and Solos

You want a guitar that has the pointy look? A guitar with a thin, shredder neck? A guitar with a shape that screams heavy? A guitar that changes colours? A guitar with low action? A guitar that you can dive bomb?

Well, look no further than the Ibanez XPT700, also known as the Xiphos. Built with the Necrophagist guitarist, Muhammed Suicmez, it is essentially a signature model guitar that spawned an entirely new guitar line for Ibanez. Unfortunately, the line is no longer produced, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pick up a used one for the right price. Just be aware of what the guitar is and isn’t.

The Xiphos looks like a metal guitar should.

The Xiphos is a beautiful X-shaped guitar sporting Dimarzio D Activators, the Ibanez Edge III tremolo system, a killer, colour changing, “chameleon” paint job, and includes a hardshell case. It’s a beauty to look at. The paint will change from red to green to gold depending on how you’re looking at it. Reverse Ibanez headstock and shark tooth inlays. Everything about it screams metal.

Xiphos Headstock

But, you want a metal guitar? This may not be it.

Sound

The pickups leave a bit to be desired when playing metal, especially for death metal or other similar subgenres that the guitar was originally designed for. They are missing the deep crunchiness that most people expect out of those genres and may leave guitarists wanting more. Hitting the low chugging notes seems to be missing the heavier, bass sound expected. However, the pickups are great for soloing. Notes are crisp, clear, and sing while playing. I’ve never had to worry about the guitar sounding too shrill when playing higher on the fretboard like some of my other guitars.

But for how good the sound is for soloing, it lacks significant sustain for those long drawn out notes. With that said, the guitar does well in progressive rock instead of the metal genres it’s designed for. The sound seems to be built more for acts such as Joe Satriani than for metal where the full length of the fretboard can be taken advantage of. It plays and sounds perfect for that style. Too bad it looks too aggressive for many of that style of players.

Tremolo

Xiphos Edge III
The Edge III tremolo system on the Xiphos.

Setting up the Edge III can be a hassle when compared to a proper Floyd Rose as there is little room for error. The system must be nearly perfectly parallel with the guitar body and if it’s not, the strings will go out of tune quickly. When set up correctly, there will not be any issues when performing dives or those harmonic screeches. Wham on that bar to your heart’s desire.

Dive Issue

The biggest problem on the Xiphos is not the sound lacking for metal, but the neck dive. Standing and playing this guitar can be bothersome as the neck will want to drop to the floor. You’ll find yourself holding the neck up with your fretting hand, taking away from your playability. Some guitarists have found workarounds by wrapping some of the strap around the point nearest the bridge. Others have moved the strap button to a different position and that has seemed to fix the issue. I don’t recommend drilling a hole in the guitar unless you know what you’re doing.

Obviously, if you play sitting down, the neck dive issue isn’t going to be a problem. Sitting and playing is comfortable in any position. The shape of the guitar provides easy comfort in the classical position or resting on your leg in the standard position. Access to the higher frets is easy and the neck is comfortable to play. It’s not quite as thin as the Wizard series of Ibanez’s necks, but still thin and designed for soloing and shredding.

The Xiphos leaves a bit to be desired for a metal guitar. As a soloist guitar or playing a genre outside of death metal, this could be a great guitar. However, the looks and the sound do not match each other leaving this in a niche market.

Ibanez Xiphos
The Ibanez Xiphos with the chameleon paint in effect.

Overall

This one gets 4/6 strings.

The Good

Beautiful looking guitar with sharp points and colour changing paint job.

Sound is clear and doesn’t have the shrill sound that some guitars have.

The neck is thin and fast.

The included hard case is shaped to fit the body.

Edge III will keep strings in tune for long periods, even after wailing on the whammy bar.

The Bad

Neck dive is a serious issue if playing standing up.

The sound lacks the oomph to make it a metal guitar and that doesn’t quite match the look of the guitar.

Lacks sustain.

Edge III is a hassle to set up compared to other tremolo systems.

About

Kyle is and avid music lover. He is always listening to music and has seen concerts that number in the hundreds! You name a band and there's a good chance he has seen it.

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