GRG170DX review by Ibanez

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Features: 7
  • Sound: 6
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 6
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.8 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.3 (754 votes)
Ibanez: GRG170DX

Price paid: £ 150

Purchased from: Muscat music shop

Features — 7
Basswood Body: Basswood is a comparatively lightweight wood, which makes it very comfortable for extended playing. With a good balance of highs and lows, basswood is right in between alder and mahogany in sound character. Rosewood Fingerboard: Rosewood offers a strong, bright sound and an attractive appearance with a long grain.

  • GRG neck
  • Maple Neck
  • Basswood Body
  • 24 Medium frets
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • FAT 10 bridge
  • PSND1 Neck Pickup (Humbucker)
  • PSNDS Mid PU (Single Coil)
  • PSND2 Bridge Pickup (Humbucker)
  • Sharktooth Inlay
  • Hardware Color: Chrome

Sound — 6
I got this guitar as a complete beginner, so I didn't know much, and the guitar was not set up. It played badly and sounded bad through my Fender Mustang 20w amp. It sounded ok through the Fender style amp options (Twin, Princeton), not so good on the others. The bridge pickup is weak. The middle pickup is ok if soulless, the neck pickup, which is supposed to be the best, was badly wired, so rarely worked. I really should have gotten it setup at the shop, but they weren't really interested, and it was the only left-hander available, that I could find, in the country, and I wanted something to play with. I suspect with a nice quality amp the pickups will get found out very quickly!

Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The neck was/is nice. The bridge is really poor which also makes the tuning pegs feel bad. The guitar needs regular tuning which takes time... The general finish was ok. I don't like the plastic look of the highly glossed finish, but the guitar was cheep... The action was really poor from the shop. There were no problems with the finish; it's a cheap guitar and it looks cheap but everything was there and ok, although it always felt like a Friday afternoon guitar (i.e. it was made in the factory in a Friday afternoon, and the staff weren't really interested in getting it right). The pickups were not soldered well; especially the neck pickup which didn't always work.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The hardware will not stand any tough test, imho, but I only play at home and it has always worked ok in that respect, so I'm not in a position to judge it as a gigger. The guitar is solid at the pricepoint. The strap buttons would need changing if you're gonna go out and about with this guitar. It has a very vinyl looking finish which some like and some don't - I suspect it's like that to hide the very average wood under it... The vinyl is like tank paint, so I don't see it rubbing off anywhere.

Overall Impression — 7
In retrospect, as a beginner, I was lacking in knowledge and should not have bought this guitar. The bridge/tremolo system is really poor - the guitar needs to be hardtailed. I would have been better off buying a basic SG from Epiphone or Vintage. I should also have gotten the guitar setup straight away. If you buy this guitar, hardtail it and get a professional setup then it'll be a good guitar at the pricepoint although more expensive than an Epiphone SG310 which would be a better buy, imho.

To improve this guitar, have it setup (on all guitars...), hardtail it, put a cheapish but decent pair of Gotoh tuners on it, new strings, and decent but cheap pickups (I paid 40 pounds for 2 Wilkinson zebras), and you will have a decent guitar. But, you'd have added 100 pounds to the price and you could have bought something like a Fender Tele '50s or SG 400 Pro instead; you're also close to the price of a discounted (but new from a store) Gibson SGJ. I don't rate this guitar highly, but my lack of knowledge when I bought it didn't help the guitar either. I never "loved it" or the look or the playing, so I shouldn't have bought this guitar, but it was the only left-hander available in Muscat at the time! I gave a 7 overall due to the low cost, but it probably deserves a 6.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    I have one of these along with an rg 120 with the same crappy trem. Blocked them both. I use them for alternate tuninqs along with my rg321mh. I have an rg350dx with an edge III. I kinda like that trem better than my OFR on my 270dx a lot easier to restring. Though both suck setting intonation.