RG4EX1 review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (75 votes)
Ibanez: RG4EX1

Price paid: £ 120

Purchased from: eBay

Sound — 10
This, to me, is the ultimate in versatile guitars. The configuration of two humbuckers and a single coil that can work together is just sublime. I'm looking to install a piezo pickup on here, but for now this does just fine. I've got amazing metal sounds, Strat sounds, a brilliant 'Yellow Ledbetter' sound, something that's quite similar to 'Layla', a great Punk/Brit rock crunch, Blues, Acoustic, it just does it all. And I try and play it all. Well, you have to get your money's worth don't you? The bridge is superb, divebombs, harmonic Dime-style squeals (put loads of Reverb in there, lovely! ). Heavy yet gentle humbuckers, a creamy middle and neck pickup, my only qualm is that Ibanez could have rounded the tone on the neck pickup a bit more, Michael Angelo style. The bridge pickup is bright and twangy, but not so much that it sounds like a Telecaster, and that's just fine! This guitar has been used with Line 6 Spiders, cheap Laneys, Matamps (the guys Who used to build Orange amps), through Cubase and it all sounds great. Strange, really. There is a little bit of buzz from my surrounding area (I Live on a farm, so there's electric fences, lights everywhere, and my room is an electronic cave so there's plenty of interference to get in the way). Despite this, it works. I know this guitar retails for around 250ish and I can't think of anything that'll do all this for that price. I'm a happy man. Later, I may get some new pickups in there. Maybe a Fender Texas Special for the middle and some Seymour's for the crunch. I'll have to see. I'm very picky about pickups.

Overall Impression — 9
If it's like a car, lets think a mid-range Porsche. Not the full-on Carrera GT, but an accountants Boxster. It gets you where you want to go, quicker. Not top-end, but does what it's meant to do better than anything else for the price. This guitar is something to behold, and it's not even the top of the range model. Ibanez have done it, a guitar for everyone, just like the Model T Ford. Inexpensive, reliable and does exactly what it says on the tin. I'm thinking of this guitar as a V8 Range Rover. Solid, reliable, fast, comforting and practical. With a great sound. It has everything you want, exactly where it should be. No nonsense, but it has an underlying insane split personality just waiting to be unleashed the moment you turn up the gain. Buy this guitar, and you won't be disappointed. Top notch value for money.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Again, the headstock joint will knock the marks down, but it's as reliable as the Swiss rail service. Can't really fault the sheer strength of it once its all together and working. It'll do more than withstand Live playing. It'll go out to war, crawl through mud, get shot, get gassed and still come home clean. And then it'll do your housework. I did what I do with all my guitars once I've set them up, and that is take out the strap buttons, put a bit of wood down there to make it solid and screw them back in again. And it's held. The neck heel joint is great, solid, and it fits in your hand for easy access to high areas. This guitar will last longer than me. I've already described the amazing finish, and I'll say it again. It's the best! But I'm afraid an 8/10 will pursue as that headstock joint is weak.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Well, from the start we know that the headstock joint can't withstand shipping. Which is as bad as an SG. So Ibanez, thicken it up. I know it COULD ruin the feel of the Wizard II neck, but it's worth a try and any critcism should be accepted. Apart from that, the action's as low as it'll go (very low, so we're all happy), but Ibanez, again there's a problem! I've read about the same/similar problems and that is that around the 14th fret, there is horrible fret buzz and a note just won't hold there. Mine is on the 14th fret on the A string area, still looking at getting it sorted. Will have to call in Super-Luthier and get HIM to look at it. Hmph. You've damaged your reputation Ibanez! Where were quality control when this happened? Eh? Well, after getting the neck fixed, I set it up, set up the Floydanez and gave it a whack. The bridge is phenominally good. Needs a little more routing when you want to bend the pitch up, but I'll sort that later. It's easy to restring, not that I have to very often as I use rustproof Elixer strings that stay bright after 3-4 months. Constant use. Yes, it was a plug and you should go out and buy some. Ditch your Ernie Ball and d'Addario's, get some rustproof strings. You won't go back. The bridge stays in tune even after constant whacking and diving, the fine-tuners are accurate as ever and the locking nut is just amazing. It's like Fort Knox up there. Nothing gets past without my say-so. The paintjob and laquer is like nothing I've ever seen. It's thick (although Fender think that thick finishes are the Devil's work, but they last longer! ) it hasn't chipped once even though this guitar lives with it's bottom end on the floor (wooden, not carpet) and there are minor MINOR scratches that disappear when they come into contact with car scratch remover (the best thing for your guitars finish). The flame top is perfect. Perfectly bookmatched. Perfectly aligned. It just looks so delicious. Almost edible. It looks as good as it sounds. Although, in the back where the springs are, that cavity is crying out for a sand-down. It's as rough as a tramps arse in there. The pole pieces on the pickups has rusted from my sweaty mitts, but it's only superficial. Nothing a wire brush won't fix. The pickups are fine where they are. And that is where they were when I got the guitar. Other than all that, the guitar is how you would want it. Solid as a rock. No microphonic feedback amongst the pickups and the electronics. Nothing.

Features — 8
Right then! Review! This is my Ibanez RG4EX1 that I purchased off eBay in April '08. It has a bit of a story, so it's not just 'a' guitar, it has character from the start! I bought it off eBay with the headstock snapped off right behind the locking nut (so, weak neck joint, a bad point) but it was salvagable, so I decided to buy it. I sent it to my luthier friend Who, in a week (! ) managed to get the original headstock glued back onto the original neck using the break. And it's never felt weak since. It's like new! You can't even see the crack. Anyway, it's a 2006 model made in Indonesia, in transparent grey with a gorgeous flame maple top (I got the pick of the bunch, as everyone says when they get a flamed maple top). The super-Strat shaped body is also bound with a cream binding, as is the neck and the headstock (yes, he managed to save the bind! ). Maple neck with beautifully set-in sharktooth inlays on a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard. The fingerboard looks great, there's some lovely dark lines in there that are parallell (sp? ) with the edges of the neck, they make the fingerboard look like a landscape with mountains and hills, etc. 3 Ibanez pickups, the Inf4 in the bridge, the single coil InfS3 in the middle and the Inf3 at the neck with the humbuckers surrounded by metal (not the plastic crap they use on 1500 Les Pauls... ). One Volume and One tone, metal knobs and a 5-Way pickup selector with a black plastic tip (there is such a thing as too much metal hardware! ). Die-cast Ibanez metal tuners at the top, above the amazing locking nut, and to finish, the crown jewel of this guitar, the famous, the faithful Edge III IBZ Floyd bridge. Which never goes out of tune. Ever.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This guitar is my baby. I play all my Metal with it: Metallica to Judas Priest and Warrant to Winger. I love it.. Love it.. love it
    this guitar is amazing!! ive had it for a less than 2 weeks now and wow, its better than the tele that i have. or at least thats just my opinion. but dang, Ibanez has once again surprised me
    I have owned this guitar twice now, and wouldn't trade it in for anything else i have played. It suits well for all styles of hardcore/metalcore/deathcore. Anything in those genres perfectly. Holds tune exceptionally well with a few minor adjustments and gets none or close to no feedback on even the highest gain levels. In one word - Amazing. :]
    Mine's brilliant. I'm replacing the stock pickups with DiMarzio Evolutions and the bridge with an Edge-Pro. With that change, it'll fix any problems this has. Playability is a 10 out of 10. I can easily get a 4 semitone bend at the 24th fret of the high e (standard 9-42 set) without breaking.