Price paid: £ 300
Purchased from: eBay
Features — 9
This was a 2012 Indonesian model that I snagged on eBay for a mere £300; I'm guessing many buyers were put off by the fluorescent pink paint job, which glows under UV lights! 24 jumbo frets on a rosewood fretboard with pink sharktooth inlays and a 5-piece Premium Wizard maple neck, with two supporting walnut strips. Basswood body, Edge Zero-II tremolo with the ZPS3 system and passive Ibanez/DiMarzio pickups in HSH config with a 5-way switch. The guitar came with a Premium case, Ibanez all-in-one tool and a manual.
Sound — 7
I go through so many phases that I need a versatile guitar, and this suits that, need very well. You can get a variety of tones with the 5-way switch and the volume/tone knobs, and the DiMarzio/Ibanez pickups handle most styles very well. The neck pickup has a great tone for the highs, but the lows sound a little thin. The bridge sounds fat, nice for fat-sounding chords whether on clean or dirty settings. The middle single-coil is decent, but nothing to shout about. I am a big fan of the shreddy styles (Vai, Gilbert etc) and whereas the pickups can provide a respectable tone, they aren't high output enough for my liking. If it's a searing metal tone (Andy James, Jeff Loomis) you're after then these won't quite cut it. I am planning to upgrade them with the DiMarzio LiquiFire/Crunch Lab combo in the near future.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I bought this guitar pre-owned, so I can't comment on the factory setup. The previous owner had taken incredibly good care of it, and the guitar arrived in as-new condition (I really did snag a bargain!). The action was low and shreddy, though it could go a little lower. There were no visible flaws that I could detect, and I was impressed by the care it had received. My guitar tech said that the nut was a little high, which could affect intonation. The trem was set up well, but not perfect. As I can't entirely rate the factory setup, I will rate it mostly on the condition I received it in. The nut height is the only factory issue I can be sure of.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have yet to use this guitar live, but I regularly use it whilst teaching in college and often take it when I go for a jam. This is my go-to guitar because I feel I can rely on it at any time - it remains in tune, the trem is easy to adjust due to the thumbwheel and the ZPS3 system boosts tuning stability very well, at the cost of pullups and flutters and other crazy whammy-bar stunts. The ZPS3 is easy to "turn on/off" by simply pushing in or pulling out a small stop-bar in the back of the guitar, which you have easy access to due to the hole in the cavity cover. I have yet to inflict any damage upon the guitar in the past year of owning it, mostly as I am very careful with my instruments but I feel it could withstand light knocks without affecting the finish.
Overall Impression — 9
I've always loved the Ibanez RG series and I'm a big fan of early Steve Vai/Paul Gilbert, so the flamboyant fluorescent pink paint job really appealed to the wannabe '80s shredder in me. Under an ultraviolet light or in the fading sunlight it seems to glow, sometimes a blazing red and other times a vibrant orange. This is definitely one of my favourite things about it. The Premium range of guitars is a clear improvement of quality over the standard range, and feels very close to the Prestige line. I've been playing for 7 years and have owned a multitude of Ibanez guitars and this is definitely one of my favourites, second only to my RG1527. I love the sheer shredability (if that isn't a word, then it should be) of it, how effortless it feels to play and how the neck feels so smooth and inviting in my hand.
If it were stolen or lost, I might not go for another one. I paid barely a third of the market price for this guitar, and if I had the same money to spend I would likely go for a Jem Premium instead because it already has the screaming Evolution pickups installed. Overall, this is a fantastic guitar to play and I'm proud to own it. Many people are put off by the wild colours (also available in yellow) but if you're one of those who have always wanted a flashy guitar that sweeps like a neon janitor, then this is for you.