RG520QS review by Ibanez

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.8 (40 votes)
Ibanez: RG520QS

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: private seller

Features — 10

  • Manufactured in Japan (Fujigen) 2001
  • 24 Jumbo frets 25.5" scale
  • One piece wizard maple neck with bubinga inlay rosewood fretboard standard dot inlays.
  • Standard RG shape Mahogany body AANJ neck joint) quilted sapele laminated top.
  • Ibanez Edge vibrato with locking stud posts. hardware is almost a gunmetal in color.
  • Passive V7 V8 humbuckers, 5-way selector switch, 1V 1T.
  • Standard Ibanez non_locking tuners made in Japan.
  • Purchased with original hard-shell case. All tools & original instruction manuals included, even the original QC tag.

Sound — 9
Suits any music style you want. The bridge pickup seems to be a bit hotter than V8s I've sampled before. The neck pup has good note definition playing chords. Don't know if this is a function of the tone woods used or not. The 2 & 4 positions on the selector switch make pretty decent strat tones, but with a little more bite. The middle position puts the 2 middle pups in parallel, & it sounds close to a PAF, although tone snob purists would probably turn their noses up. There is no noise because no matter where you put the selector, there is always a noise cancelling pup. The bridge pup is the most impressive. Sounds close to a DiMarzio Super Distortion. Maybe I just happened to get a hot one. Any rating on this aspect is highly subjective, but I like the sounds coming out of it. I currently have it running through a Line 6 X3 live into a crate RFX 120 which is set on the clean setting, only using the X3 live for effects.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action on this beauty is extremely low which is great since I have considerable tendon damage in my left index & pinky. Has no fret buzz. This guitar is 16 years old, but doesn't appear to have been played much. Okay this is a Fugijen build, enough said. Pick-up adjustment? Really? If they're not adjusted right pick up the right size screwdriver & adjust them already. Guitar has no flaws that I can find. The pup selector is smooth, with no noise, The Edge trem with locking posts was properly set up. No slop anywhere

Reliability & Durability — 10
Once again Fujigen build. In case you don't know the Fujigens are the Ibanez everyone wants. For this model year there were no RG1520 prestige this was the top of the line for this model, & it shows. The hardware finish appears quite durable, although I don't think it has enough playing time to know for sure. Of course you need a back-up. Strings break, accidents happen. As far as the actual guitar itself you wouldn't need one. The strap buttons are extra large, so that shouldn't be an issue. The pick-up rings are metal instead of plastic, the knob are metal, the fit of the locking nuts are better than most I've seen.

Overall Impression — 10
I'm playing just about anything under the sun, except for hip-hop/rap which doesn't exactly require musicians to perform. Been playing steady now for about 3 years. I have a whole lot of amps, mostly solid state for the reliabilty. I use a line X3 live for modelling & effects. I have an HD500 but haven't delved into it yet. For guitars I have an Ibanez Roadstar II RG440, (of which I have posted a review) an RG350 DX, A Jackson DK2 eerie dess swirl, an LTD M-255 which I'm resurrecting from a previous knuckle head owner. If lost or stolen I would cry & then kill. I have have been searching for a high end Ibby for a while, & got a killer deal on this one. My favorite feature on this is the neck especially with aforementioned tendon issues, fingering is so much easier than even my 350DX, especially barre chords. If you find a deal like I did buy it. You will not be disappointed. I'm not sure how to rate something as subjective as this it's all opinion

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i bought mine new in 98'. i still have/love it. the blue version (the one i have) does cloud which is a shame, the sapele is beautiful. 
    9.8? What a joke. A custom shop ESP / Mayones / Ormsby are worthy of that. A $300 guitar is not a 9.8
    ive owned a custom shop ESP and played a few mayones. this guitar in new condition is every bit as good and a lot cheaper, it was $700 give or take, in 98-99. remember this was made in japan pre-prestige. the author is spot on with his rating, ive had mine for amost 20 years.
    Thank you for not being Ibanez hater. I don't believe that price is always a good indicator of quality. Hell I have a cheap Fernandes hss strat that plays & sounds great. Not super star great, but still fun to play. Seems to me a lot of people get hung up on image & have forgotten what's important, PLAYING & ENJOYING YOUR DAMN GUITAR!
    An ESP custom shop M III for $3500.00 plays & sounds 1000 percent better than my RG520qs? I'm not thinking so. But hey, buy on my friend somebody has to prop up the guitar companies.
    The guitars you've pointed out cost over a grand. For a $300 guitar, isn't it near perfect? The price point is much relevant to determine a score, as it gives an idea what to expect from that price point. If you have a gem for $300 I don't get it why wouldn't you give it a near perfect score, neither I would get it if you gave such a score to a $1000+ guitar that, even if great, can be compared to a much cheaper one.
    Some people just look at the price I paid for it & think there's no way $300 guitar can be that good. Hey I practically stole it. It's 16 years old, & damn near factory fresh, so I could get a good indicaton of how well it was built in the first place. There are just a lot of ibanez haters out there anyway. Hell I even have a couple of GIOs I've compared side by side to squire strats & Epiphones give me the GIOs please.