Gear Review: 2000 Ibanez IC300BK Iceman

By anders pearson 16 Jul 2009


I bought this guitar new in early 2000, so it might be a 1999 model, but it’s somewhere in that area at least.

The IC300BK was one of the lower end Icemen that Ibanez has put out over the years (but not as low as the ICX120 that they put out later that made me want to cry).

The Iceman shape is one that you will either love or hate on first sight. Conveniently though, whether someone loves or hates the sound of the guitar generally correlates with how they feel about the appearance. So it’s actually a useful discriminating factor. If you think it’s ugly, you probably wouldn’t be well served by this guitar anyway.

As you might guess, I find the pointiness and strange curves pleasing to the eye. I think when I got it I was generally unaware of the long history of Paul Stanley (of Kiss) with this guitar. I knew it as the guitar I’d seen Al Jourgensen (of Ministry) and J. Yuenger (of White Zombie) playing. More importantly, after picking one up and playing it in a music store, I knew it as the guitar with the most comfortable neck I’d ever played.

The IC300BK is a dead simple guitar, feature-wise. Black basswood body with cream trim, Maple bolt-on neck, Rosewood fretboard with cream binding, 25.5 inch scale, 22 frets, fixed, tune-o-matic bridge, two Ibanez humbuckers (AH-1 and AH-2), 3-way switch, one volume, and one tone knob. Nothing fancy about it aside from the shape. That wasn’t what I was necessarily looking for when I bought it, but I was still a college student and didn’t have a lot of money so I just got the cheapest “metal” guitar that I could find that felt comfortable.

I think I made a decent choice though. Nine years later and now owning quite a few “better” guitars, I still get plenty of use out of my Iceman.

I mostly play loud, angry, metal. The Iceman has served well as my basic workhorse. It can be pressed into playing blues or jazz or whatever else, but it’s really happiest playing north of “hard rock” on the heavy spectrum. I like to keep it happy.

The pickups are high output and stay sharp and defined with a lot of distortion. Pinch harmonics are easy. I like to throw thick strings on my guitars and tune down (the Iceman currently has 12’s and is tuned down to C). It handles it well (although I actually still haven’t gotten intonation on the 6th string quite right; the saddle is cranked all the way over and it’s still just barely off; I’m afraid that I’d need to move to a custom string gauge to fix it and it’s close enough and I’m lazy enough that I won’t bother). Action is medium. Well suited to heavy rhythm playing. I can’t get it very low without buzzing so it’s not a shredder’s guitar (that’s fine with me).

This guitar does have a few annoyances though. First, it’s big and heavy. Seriously. It doesn’t fit in a regular guitar case or bag because it’s just too long and the horn sticks out in the wrong place. It needs either a bass or one of the “extreme” guitar cases or bags. Carrying this guitar around in a bass case has almost ripped my arm from my shoulder a few times. The weight gets to you if you play it for more than an hour or so. The strap holders are terribly positioned and make it top heavy. So if you’re playing it standing up, you have to support the neck with your left hand or it nose-dives. Finally, the tuners are not very good. They feel loose and the guitar slides out of tune pretty quickly when you put it away (not as bad as the cheap strat copy I had before it though that would be out of tune within minutes).

These days I wouldn’t pay the price I paid back in 2000 (around $600, I think) for a guitar with the features and quality of this one. But I’ve gotten so much use and enjoyment out of this one that I still feel like it was a good investment.

Tags: gear review guitar ibanez iceman