RG120 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 7.4 (194 votes)
Ibanez: RG120

Price paid: $ 150

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 6
I play mostly punk rock and thrash. So the wizard neck is more suited for shredding. Keep this in mind if you are starting out as squires and juniors tend to have more rounded necks more suited for playing chords (9.5" I believe). However, This is the guitar I've started with and have been playing for about 2 years so a thin-wide neck is easier for me to play all around because that's what I'm used to. As for sounds, I mainly use distortion pedals however, I rarely use more than one at a time. I run this guitar to a Boss NS-2 "Noise Suppressor" >send> TU-2 "Chromatic Tuner" (output) > Barber Tone Press "Compressor > SD-1 "Super Overdrive" > BD-2 "Blues Driver" > MT-2 "Metal Zone" > DS-1 "Distortion" w/ 2 diode clipping mod >return> NS-2 "Noise Suppressor" >output> Blackheart BH-5H (Little Giant) w/ BH-110 cab. All the pedals are connected with self-made 5" evidence audio monorail patch cables. This guitar only gives off no noise when clean but gives off a little with distortion added, hence the NS-2. I usually play with the Tone Press, NS-2 and SD-1 on. I've raised the bridge pickup about 2 full turns to give it a snottier, more abrasive punk sound. It is very bright while also retaining the rounded out sound that humbuckers give vs. single coils. I would like to add a coil tap to be able to cut off one coil to get that "crashing against a metal trash can" sound that I can get from two spaced single coils but I haven't dove that far into it and it doesn't really bother me. The neck pickup seemed kind of harsh for where it was located so I lowered that about three turns and it now is noticeably quieter but gives a more mellow sound. When paired with the SD-1 I can get that "The Ballad Of Lizzy Scout" sound out of it. Just what I was looking for but I did have to adjust this myself. The killswitch is, after all, a killswitch and does give a noticeable clip on clean but cuts the sound nicely on distortion. But, this is something I've added myself so you won't get this with one you would purchase. All in all, this guitar is more suited to for playing more abrasive styles of music such as hard rock, metal and punk. It has a lot of crunch to it so keep that in mind. For me it is mostly what I want but not as versatile as my GnL.

Overall Impression — 9
This guitar has scored very low due to me putting aside my personal feelings and trying to give an unbiased review. I hate how the top strings get bound at the nut but that can be fixed with a graphite nut. I hate how it comes out of tune all the time but that can be fixed with locking tuners. I hate the generic FAT 10 floating tremolo but I can lock down the bridge or dremmel out the cavity and fashion in a Floyd Rose. I started out with this guitar about 3 and a half years ago. I sold it after a year and bought one about a year and a half later. This one is the one I fashioned a killswitch into. In between that time I have owned a Schecter Damien FR, an Epiphone Les Paul Classic, and a GnL S-500. None of those guitars were able to make me enjoy playing guitar as much as when I play this one. Every day I get home and I am excited to play this thing. It plays exactly how I've always wanted and I have only been able to get this out of this guitar. This is, by far, the cheapest guitar I own and it Still Remains my favorite. I still own all of the above mentioned guitars but I play this one almost exclusively. I do play the GnL from time to time because I have that tuned to Eb standard and the pickups are fantastic. I play the Schecter sometimes because I have that tuned to drop C and I can't do that easily with 11-50s. I NEVER play the Les Paul, I hate that thing. If this guitar was stolen I would definitely buy another (white) one immediately and possibly a second (4th) one in Black. I absolutely LOVE playing this guitar. And it is not perfect by any means but all of the above mentioned problems take a back seat to what really matters with a guitar; HOW MUCH I ENJOY PLAYING IT. I can overlook those things because I have so much fun with it. When it come down to that it doesn't matter what it sounds like, what kind of hardware it has, what kind of features it has or anything like that. I can change all that relatively easily. My only gripe is that it doesn't come in yellow...

Reliability & Durability — 7
This guitar is a freakin' tank. I feel like I could beat some with it and then play an epic song of victory, maybe slightly out of tune, afterwards. All the hardware on this thing seems solid but it does come out of tune often. Every time I play I have to tune it first. The nut on the top also binds the unwound strings (G, B and e). I never use the floating tremolo because it goes out of tune so much. That is a lie, I don't use it because that is just not how I play. I would prefer a fixed bridge but I can "fix" the bridge if I want to. I have No Doubt that I COULD use this at a gig without a backup (although a tuning pedal is a MUST), I wouldn't because that is just not smart in practice. But, if you don't have the cash then feel free; just don't forge the tuner! I have been playing this guitar exclusively for a year (I'll cover this later) and still no signs of wear other than where my belt rubs the back. This guitar would have scored very low for reliability but I would've given the durability a very high rating. My rating will reflect this. Keep in mind though, reliability is something you can, somewhat, forecast and incorporate measure to reverse and improve upon but durability is something that you are, relatively, stuck with.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I don't know if I can really give an accurate rating on this because this category means nothing to me. Even if it was setup well by "standards" I wouldn't care as I am very in tune with how I like my guitars to play. I am very meticulous with how I setup my guitars and I don't trust that to anyone else. However, I will try... The action from the store I will describe as "playable". I was able to find out that the guitar worked and that was all I needed. I was looking for a cheap guitar to hone my DIY skills (killswitch) so this was perfect. The bridge was not setup properly and was resting against the guitar body making this a Strat style bridge. The string height was also a little high for my tastes. I will say this though. After I put in the killswitch, took off the 9s and put on 11-50s (standard E tuning), I fooled around with the bridge height, truss rod and bridge springs for two hours when I brought it home and I was able to get this guitar to play exactly how I've always wanted a guitar to play. This is the only guitar I've ever been able to get this done on. I would have given this category a 5 because that is how it came from the factory (it was also a floor model). However, I gave it a seven because how well it is setup at the factory doesn't mean as much to me as how well I can GET it to play when I'm done setting it up. For that it will be rated higher; but you can keep the former in mind if you are not a DIYer.

Features — 6
The RG120 is the the base model RG. It has a rosewood fretboard with a 14" neck radius and 24 jumbo frets, a Fat 10 floating tremolo, and an agathis body. There are no locking tuners or locking nut on this baby, only the basic package. It has two Humbuckers, an INF3 in the neck and an INF4 in the bridge. A three-way pickup selector, one master volume knob and one master tone knob. That covers just about everything that is on this guitar. There is a nice square red killswitch right between the volume and tone controls fashioned in by yours truly. Unfortunately, this does not score points in features as it is not stock. It is the perfect beginners guitar. It is less expensive than a similar squire plus you get 3 extra frets to learn with.

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