Price paid: € 770
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Features: According to Thomann.de, the guitar is a limited edition, 60th anniversary model. It was "proudly" made in Ibanez's Premium facility in Indonesia in late 2011. I'm not quite sure of the month. According to Ibanez, under the supervision of it's Japan Prestige department. It is a European distribution exclusive and apparently limited in number of stock.
The guitar is a 25.5" scale 7 string. It has a 5pc Wizard 7 Maple/Walnut neck w/KTS TITANIUM Reinforcement. The fretboard is stained rosewood and features offset mother of pearl dot inlays. The frets are Jumbo size and feature Ibanez's "Premium Fret Treatment". Meaning they are crafted and fitted absolutely perfectly. The fret edges are as smooth as silk with NO sharp edges anywhere.
The neck dimensions are slightly slimmer for the European market. It has a 400mm radius, as opposed to the equivalent US models, which have a 440mm radius (correct me if I'm wrong). The headstock has a glossy finish with natural binding. The neck is a natural finish. The body is American Basswood. Which is kind of ironic, because the US models only feature regular Basswood. It has a gloss black finish, over a flamed maple top with natural binding. So essentially, they have taken a RG827QMZ-RDT (the red one) and painted it black all over. Which is fine by me, since I don't like flashy guitars in the first place.
The bridge is an Edge-Zero II w/ZPS3Fe. As Ibanez themselves put it: "The Zero Point System in the Edge-Zero II makes tuning easier and faster as well as providing stable tuning for long performances, all while maintaining smooth tremolo playing. Engineered to remove all points of friction, ZPS is the smoothest Ibanez Back Stop ever. Even when a string breaks loss of tuning is minimized. For players that prefer a full floating system, simply remove the stop bar. The innovative use of an additional outer pair of springs provides easier tuning and noticeably greater tuning stability than the traditional floating tremolo."
The pickups are Ibanez's passive CAP-VM17 (H) neck pickup and CAP-VM27 (H) bridge pickup. Although, I am told they are actually DiMarzio's, without the label.
The hardware is Cosmo Black colour. The controls are one volume and one tone knob and a 5 way selector switch. The selector switch is configured in a rather clever way. It goes from (back to front):
- bridge humbucker
- front bridge and rear neck single coils together
- both pickups together in humbucker configuration
-neck humbucker parallel connected
- neck humbucker
The electronics are beautifully done. Clean and well soldered. Very tidy indeed. The tuners are Ibanez's own non-locking Grovers. The guitar comes with it's own Premium soft case, Premium milti-tool and Ibanez's Premium guitar strap. All of which are very well made and high quality. // 9
Sound: The guitar suits my style of music quite well. I use it in combination with my RGA8, in which I have recently installed a Lundgren M8C bridge pickup. I use it predominantly for Djent. Although, because it produces such a wide variety of tones, I think it's going to be equally at home in many other styles and genre's as well.
As I have mentioned before in my RGA8 review, I use the guitar with:
- Laney LH50R 50W tube head & Laney GS412P 4x12 cab
- Line 6 HD500 Pod
- Roland Cube 15
- various computer modeling and recording software
When unplugged, it resonates beautifully on it's own, with no dead notes or lack of sustain.
To get the most natural sound as possible, I ran it through the Laney amp for tone testing. On clean, the guitar produces a very wide variety of tones. From a very trebly, bright tone on the bridge pickup, a single coil like Stratocaster sound on the split single coil position, a similar, deeper tone with both humbuckers together, a lower output, warmer Telecaster like tone on the parallel neck position and finally a very Gibson like warm deep tone on the neck humbucker position.
When distorted, the only useful position is the bridge humbucker position. The pickups are very high output and a bit too sensitive to gain and distortion. They seem to peak a bit too much on the high frequencies. But I do plan to replace the bridge pickup with a Lundgren M7.
The other pickup positions sound too muddy and unclear to me when distorted and I can't really find use for them, except for the second, single split position for some leads and effects. But I would imagine others might find the stock pickups adequate enough for other genre's, such as death metal, thrash, etc. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: Out of the box, the guitar needed quite a bit of tinkering because of the tremolo system. The bridge was out of balance and needed adjustment after I replaced the stock D'Addario strings with a thicker 09/54 set. The intonation was nearly spot on and did not require adjustment. The neck and action were set perfectly, with low action, but surprisingly almost no fret buzz, even on the low strings. The pickups needed a bit of height adjustment, because they were a bit too low for my liking. But were otherwise very well placed with no wobble or play.
The guitar itself was absolutely spotless when it arrived. Not a single mark or scratch on it. The only complaint I could think of is that the tone knob is a bit rough when spun and turns a bit too fast. Also the tremolo spring adjustment wheel at the back of the guitar requires quite some force to adjust by hand and will leave your thumbs pretty sore. // 8
Reliability & Durability: Will it withstand live playing? Absolutely! The fit and finish on the guitar are bomb proof. The bridge might be a bit of a bother when changing strings and tuning, but to someone with experience, that is not much of a problem. The hardware seems very sturdy indeed. I am yet to see or hear about one failing when needed. The strap buttons are extra wide and deeply inserted, so there is no risk of the strap coming loose. // 9
Impression: The guitar is a very good match for my style of playing. Although I plan on replacing the bridge pickup with a Lundgren M7, the stock hardware is up to the task of providing a satisfactory platform for tone sculpting.
I have been playing guitar for nearly 12 years now and own a wide variety of guitars. From an LTD Viper, Les Paul Custom, Gibson Flying V, RGA8, and two bass guitars (4 & 5 string). The RG827Z fits nicely into the collection and plays well into expanding the range of my playing. I play mostly Djent for more than 4 years now, but also dabble in Classic Rock and other styles of Metal.
I bought this guitar on a bit of an impulse, since I already own an 8 string. Initially I bought it as an excuse to use it for leads on my recordings because of the tremolo, but have subsequently found the guitar to be great for many other styles. If it were stolen, I would most probably want the thief to suffer an excruciating and humiliating death, since my guitars are MY PRECIOUS! But seriously, I would buy the guitar again because it is definitely worth it's price. If anything, I would say Ibanez could have charged A LOT more for it. But don't tell them, ok?)
What do I love about it? I love that it is a very well made instrument. A lot of care and Precision has been put into it and one can feel the hand of a craftsman on it, much like more expensive Prestige models.
What do I hate about it? I am not too keen on the pickups. As mentioned before, I will replace the bridge pickup with a more responsive and evenly voiced Lundgren. The only other thing that drove me up the wall was the tremolo system. Since I have been used to and preferred Gibson style TOM bridges, the floating trem caused some frayed nerves when changing strings and tuning. But I bet with time I will master that with ease.
Compared to other products in it's category and price range, I think this guitar is an absolute bargain. I am a big fan of Ibanez, but even when trying to be impartial, this guitar is head and shoulders above the competition. As I have mentioned before, due to the quality of the materials and construction, this guitar could have easily been priced MUCH higher, so grab one before they wise up to that!
The only real competition in it's price range are the Schecter Damien Elite, ESP LTD Viper 417 and ESP LTD MH-417. After previously trying out all of those, the only other guitar I might have bought instead was the Viper, but that is more personal preference, which has since changed dramatically. While pickups (active vs. passive) in the other models are a much debated subject, value for money wise, the RG827 is a much better option than all of those. But I'm sure there will be no shortage of commenters raging themselves into stomach ulcers about it. // 9