Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: music123.com
Sound — 8
I was just starting to get into rock/nu-metal at the time (Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Muse, Feeder), so played everything with as much distortion as I could get out of my amp. I've now diversified a little bit and even dabble in stuff without distortion, but I still mainly play stuff with heavy distortion (Dream Theater, Megadeth, Satch, Vai, etc). The sound I desired at the time of buying the RG was the deep, throaty, Ibanez growl it made when playing heavy riffs with the neck pickup. Even today, there is still something in its sound that I identify as being distinctly Ibanez, and I haven't managed to find it in any other guitar: in that regard, the RG was very well suited to my style. I have a Vox AD50VT valvestate amp, used with the distortion up as high as it'll go whilst keeping other effects out of the equation. Nice and simple. The bridge V7 humbucker provided a clear yet not-too-bright sound ideal for upper-mid-fretboard soloing, whilst the bridge V8 provided a phat, warm yet slightly muddy sound. The tone control seemed to just make everything lose clarity when distorted, so I tended to avoid using that. Turning the distortion off however really shows the guitar's versatility. The bridge pickup provides some nice warm yet well-articulated notes all over the fretboard, which do a pretty good job of emulating a hollowbody jazz guitar I owned for a bit. The next setting (coil tapped V8-S1) provided a thinner sound with a slight increase in brightness on the higher frets. The S1 singlecoil pickup was surprisingly un-twangy for a single coil, although whacking the distortion on made it buzz a bit too much for my liking. Flicking through to the second coil-tap setting (S1-V7) brightened the sound considerably, whilst the clean tone of the V7 was sharp and precise without being intrinsically twangy. With the tone pot thrown in, the guitar was far more versatile than I will ever be able to do justice to as a player. Having sung its praises, there were a couple of noticeable downsides. The first was that it didn't produce pinch harmonics very well; they were always lacking in bite a little, compared to the harmonics I was able to create with (for example) more expensive DiMarzio-equipped guitars. The second downside was that at high volumes (for gigs), the guitar/amp combo became very bass-heavy. This may not be entirely down to the guitar, but I think that Ibanez growl doesn't behave quite so well at high volumes. For these reasons, I'm giving it an 8 for sound, although this is on the basis of comparing it with much more expensive guitars.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, I miss this guitar a lot. It was my first guitar, and it turned out to be a real diamond. This review is my tribute to my first ever guitar, which was mercilessly stolen from my room this summer whilst I was working in France. RG570 - you will be forever missed.
Reliability & Durability — 10
As mentioned before, in over a decade I've never had any problems with it that have required any work (besides someone dropping it and knocking a chunk out of the body). It has been gigged occasionally and had coped better than me with that! Not having any chrome finishing has meant it aged well; the matte finish on the trem and volume/tone pots is still matte, and nothing rusted or seized up over time. The fingerboard did have signs of wear, but nothing that was noticeable whilst playing. Overall, there was nothing more I could want from a guitar in terms of reliability and durability.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I would never, ever, EVER recommend for anyone reading this to buy a guitar as I did with my RG - blind, over the internet. Fortunately, my younger self struck gold with this purchase, as the axe arrived after a trans-atlantic flight in a cardboard box perfectly setup. I then ruined it the first time I tried to replace the strings by putting 10s on it (doh!). Despite my initial ineptitude, when I did get the 9s back on it, the guitar tuned up properly. I am no expert at guitar setups, so I will provide this anecdote by means of a testimony for the factory setup - in over a decade of owning the guitar, all I have done is change the strings. When I took it to a luthier to get a chip repaired, they commented on how nice the neck was and how well it was set up. From a playing perspective, the wizard neck is outstanding. If you have never played one, go out and try a Jem. The current Wizard III necks (on most current RG and RG Prestige models) can't, IMO, hold a candle to the original, which is surprising considering that there's only a couple of mm thickness difference. I have nothing bad to say about the tremolo either - I've never had to do anything to it, and it has always stayed in tune through all the mess I've thrown at it. Again, the new Edge III that's on equivalent-priced Ibanez's today is not in the same league - my Edge III Ibanez trem on my XPT wore down its knife edge after two years. The only place I can see where they appear to have cut corners a little is with the volume and tone pots. They were fine initially, but went crackly pretty quickly which makes violining a no-no. Again though, for the price I paid this is a small sacrifice to make to be able to own a guitar with a wizard neck and original edge trem. I'm giving it a 9 because I don't feel like I should give it a 10 if it's not perfect.
Features — 10
I've had my RG570 from new, purchased in 2001 over the internet (never normally a good idea!). It was Japanese made, 24 jumbo fretted beast with an astoundingly thin rosewood-covered wizard neck. The basswood body was painted a sort of metallic brown (called the "root beer" finish), and at the time of purchase the Super-Strat look was a breath of fresh air compared to all the numerous Strat copies my mates had. The stock pickups were Ibanez-made V7/S1/V8 pickups in a conventional HSH arrangement with a 5-way selector, volume and tone controls. The highlight at the time for me was the edge tremolo, and it didn't take long before I was divebombing all over the place. At the time of purchase, the dollar was pretty low against the pound (2:1 I think), so I ended up paying about 40-50% less than the RRP in the UK. I'm giving it full marks for features because, for the price, it contained some stonking kit on a well-made frame.