Price paid: $ 220.4
Purchased from: Melbourne
Sound — 8
This guitar sounds fantastic for the money. There is a lot of versatility with the pickup/switching system. The neck and bridge humbuckers are for high gain metal and suit this style well. The basswood body helps this guitar sound pretty bright. The middle three positions include some great clean sounds. The second position uses one of the bridge single coils in parallel with the centre single coil. This is arranged as hum reducing phasing. This is a nice clean bright sound with slightly suppressed bass. The single coil pickup is the centre position on the Switch and it is useful for crunchy rythym playing where you want to hear the notes a little cleaner than the humbuckers. The fourth Switch position is useful for rythym where the neck humbucker night be a little too dark. It uses the centre single coil paralled with one of the neck coils (split humbucker). This is arranged as hum reducing phasing also. The first and fifth Switch positions are for the bridge and neck humbuckers respectively. The bridge pickup has enough output to please most metal players. It is a god match for the basswood body. I measured it's DC impedance as 17k ohms, which is pretty high. The neck pickup is a little on the dark side, and has a 11k ohm impedance. The volume balance between the pickups is good, and the Switch and pots are silent. The Switch has a nice firm action. I changed the tone capacitor from 33nF to 10nF and this helps retain more mid frequencies as the tone control is turned down. You can definately get some good metal and rock tones from this guitar, and the single coil positions allow you to head into other styles if you like. This guitar is played either into a small valve amp or a DigiTech RP pedal into a solid state amp.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar is used for Linkin Park, System Of A Down etc. It belongs to my son, he has been playing for 4 years. I own a RG520 Japanese myself so know what is available in a great RG. If lost or stolen this guitar is still very very hard to beat for value for money so we'd get another one. It looks really nice, and sounds very good for the price. It would be good if Ibanez had more tremless models in this price range. We compared to ESP LTD and Epiphone.
Reliability & Durability — 8
If you gig with this guitar, make sure you block the trem, for tuning stability. Other than that it will stand up to Live playing as good as any similar type of guitar. Time will tell if the bridge post inserts stay put or move with time, since basswood is a fairly soft wood.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action came low, about 2mm at the 24th fret. The shop may have set this up. The nut is cut at the correct depth. Pickups were adjusted correctly, though how difficult can that be? There is some backbow evident between the nut and 9th fret, but it is not hindering playing at the moment. I'll wait a few weeks for it to settle more before I adjust the truss rod. The intonation was a long way off. I moved each saddle back about 1mm. There is plenty of adjustment either way though, so no problems. These bridges are not known for tuning stability so a put graphite powder in the nut slots, which helped a great deal. I also increased the tension on the spring claw so that the bridge rests onto the body in front of the tremolo block. This has left the bridge angled back a little, but it now acts more like a Vintage style bridge and keeps better tune if you use the whammy. At a later date I will block it properly with a piece of 3mm thick hardwood. The finish of the guitar is good. The paint is applied at an average thickness and levelling is not as good as higher end RG's, but you have to look really close to notice. It still looks the part though. The bolt on neck neck is smooth and fast, the headstock angled back so that no string tees are necessary. The neck joint allows good access to the upper frets. The frets are not polished well, but the fret ends are not unduly sharp. The strap pins are of a generous size and straplocks are not needed if the strap is nice and tight. The electronics cavity is not shielded but the plastic cover is, not that that will help any. No undue amount of hum is evident though. It is nice and light, won't cause back problems.
Features — 7
2007 candy apple metallic red. Made in China. 24 Jumbo frets. Nice dark rosewood fretboard with shark tooth inlays. White binding on neck. Solid basswood body. Ibanez floating chrome bridge with non-locking nut. Tuners (look like Gotoh style) about 15:1 with tension adjusting screws. Pickups Ibanez H2, S4, H1 H/S/H with 5-way selector switch. Chrome knobs. Came with 9-42 strings.