RGA121 Review

manufacturer: Ibanez date: 05/15/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Ibanez: RGA121
The RGA121 has a 24-fret thin, flat and fast Wizard Prestige neck, a Gibraltar Plus bridge, and Ibanez pickups. Pickups and pickup placement provide the hard-edged cutting tone needed for heavy rock.
 Sound: 8.4
 Overall Impression: 9.4
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.7
 Features: 8.4
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (7) pictures (2) 42 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
RGA121 Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 31, 2006
6 of 8 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 948

Purchased from: LA Music

Features: This guitar is pretty basic when it comes to features. It's got a massive fixed bridge, 1 volume/1 tone control. The body is made of maple/mahogany, which provides some nice sustain. It's got the typical Ibanez 3 pc Wizard neck and thats about it. It's a solid guitar, but could have a few more features. // 7

Sound: This guitar is awesome sounding, I play all kinds of metal (Dream Theater, Rhapsody, Maiden). As I said, the sustain is great. My only complaint is the IBZ 7 stock bridge pick up, really muddy sound with no definition, but it can be easily replaced (once I get the money). The neck IBZ 8 pickup is great, awesome for shredding. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I can't really tell you how it was set up from the factory, the shop I bought it from set it up for me, and did a great job. Everything on this guitar was perfect. The finish is very nice, its like a solid hunk of wood. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This feels like a very solid guitar overall. The hardware seems like it'll last a long long time. I'd definetley use this guitar for a gig without a backup, it seems very well made. The finish looks to be very durable, though I worry about the wood getting stained after repeated use. // 9

Overall Impression: I play metal, and this is the perfect match for me, Ibanez knows their metal. I've been playing for around 4 years, and own a BC Rich Warlock and Squier Strat (crap) and this guitar blows them both out of the water. In the event that this was stolen, I would replace it. Its such a solid/good sounding guitar, and plays so well. // 9

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overall: 9.4
RGA121 Reviewed by: S0up, on march 01, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 899.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: I'm a simple person when it comes to guitars. It has just one volume knob, one tone knob, a 5 way selector Switch, low action, Gibraltar Plus bridge, the Wizard 1 neck, and DiMarzio made V7/V8 pickups. The body is made of mahogany, the top is made of maple, and the fretboard is made of rosewood. The hard shell case that comes with it is also very nice and form fitting. Probably one of the best cases I've seen. It's a pretty straight forward guitar with no gimmicks. // 10

Sound: I play strictly death, melodic, and progressive metal and in my opinion the pick ups that come with the guitar are crap, but I bought the guitar with complete intentions with putting active EMGs in it. Once I had the EMGs installed it sounds great. Yet, because of the pick ups that come with the guitar I'm going to rate this section low. The V7/V8 pick ups are muddy and have no bite. The guitar is not noisy at all though for a low action guitar. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: It's an Ibanez Prestige guitar which is hand crafted in Japan. So the factory set up is great. Have no reason to get it fixed anytime soon. Everything fits in the guitar well and the input jack sits inside the guitar, which is a big plus in my book. The rosewood fretboard feels amazing. It feels almost as if you're pressing down on something that isn't solid. The over feel of the neck and the guitar is great. Real smooth and very sleek looking as well. The bridge is also very nice and never had a tuning problem, even with the down tuning I play in. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've had no problems durability wise. No problems with the finish or anything at all. They installed the input jack so it won't get loose and the bridge is very stable. Playing this guitar Live suffers no problems and the strap buttons are screwed in very well. I would never put strap locks into this guitar. It's a J-Custom! What do you expect? // 10

Overall Impression: Great, great, great guitar. I've been playing for about 8 years and this is the best guitar I've bought. Once I had the pick ups taken out I was amazed by how great the guitar became. The feeling of the neck of the guitar is definetly what attracted me to this guitar and is still my favorite feature. If the guitar was to be stolen I would replace it in a heart beat. On a side note though, if you own this guitar and wish to get active EMGs isntalled you will need a 3-way selector slider, and to route the pick ups a bit. Don't route the pick up hole on the guitar, just take some sand paper and take of a hair's length on the pick ups themselves. // 10

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overall: 7.8
RGA121 Reviewed by: Grassyknolls, on may 15, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Features: This guitar is made by Team J Craft in Japan. Made in 2005 or 2006 I can't remember off the top of my head and the case candy is packed away, but it is one of the earliest models they produced. Many have probably read a review on this guitar but some were in accurate. It has the Wizard prestige neck, which is the 5 piece maple with a smooth rosewood fingerboard. The mother of pearl inlay that they used for the Ibanez logo really makes this guitar pop, and is a nice touch. This particular guitar I am reviewing has a mahogany body, and a maple top that has been stained twice it seems like the color was supposed to be black, but it seems to be more of a chocolate color. The finish is nice, the grains of the wood are apparent which under lights stands out nicely. With the curves of the archtop, make it a beautiful guitar for someone looking for an RG but with something special. The Gibraltar bridge is nice for sustain, but seems a bit clunky when playing, but over time one could adapt and won't notice it at all. The guitar came with standard rg controls, volume, tone, and a 5 way selector switch with phase switching in the neck and coil splitting for the inner coils of the two humbuckers. Locking Gotoh tuners came on this model as well as the standard team J-Craft case, as well as a manual and a wrench to adjust the truss rod. // 7

Sound: This guitar has been reviewed as a metal beast, a fact which I can't disagree with. Has a very heavy tone because of the mahogany body but the stock pickups made it very muddy, almost inarticulate with faster picked notes. Also at times it was bright, and really high on the treble side with the stock pickups, but rolling back the gain and the highs to 12 o'clock helped out. It will sustain for days, and with high gain, it transitions to a nice harmonic sounding feedback. I won't rate the guitar based on the mods that I have done to it because not everyone has the same taste that I do. From the factory, the neck pickup was the better of the two. I Could get some decent tones for soloing if the amp and effect set up was correct. I have played it on many amps, ranging from a Peavey Valve King 212, a Peavey 5150 Combo, a Krank Krankenstien head with 1960a Marshall Cab, Line 6 Spider III half stack (not my favorite), a 70's Fender bassman, Fender hotrod blues jr. 40, and a Vintage 5 watt Fender Champ (which was my favorite of them all after I put the Duncan Jazz pickup in the neck with the different caps in the tone control). So I can honestly say that this guitar WILL sound good on just about any amp you play it through. I've never played it through a Marshall MG LOL but I'm sure the guitar would sound good through that as well. It's not too noisy because it has some sort of shielding in the control cavities, but if not properly grounded if you replace the pickups it will buzz. I mainly play it through my Valveking 212, and was using a EH linear power booster, Arion compressor, and a Boss NS-2 with a PodXT Live through the effects loop and it screams metal but can be coaxed to play other genres. But this guitar is mainly for playing heavy metal, punk, or rock. You could play blues with it, but will never sound like a Strat or Telecaster which is why I bought one of those. I would rate it higher for sound, but since not everyone has a Vintage Fender Champ lying around I have to be realistic. Not the worst sounding guitar by any means, but with some carefully chosen pickups and modifying the switching configuration and tone controls this guitar will surprise you. I can't describe my music style, because I just jam with friends and play open mic nights, but I've used it for leads over acoustic guitars, dry through a PA, played metal with friends and even let a friend that is a Jazz performance major use it with his group and it has gotten much praise mostly by people saying that they did not expect an Ibanez to sound so good. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: When I received it from MF, it was set up perfect from the factory. The action was low enough to be fast and smooth, but not too low that it buzzed. I couldn't find any flaws with it other than the cheap Import pickup switch popped on occasion, but that wasn't a big deal when I cleaned it out. The pickups were adjusted well, not too close to the strings, or too low, but adjusting them really didn't effect the sound too much I noticed. Typical Japanese craftsmanship applies to this guitar as it was hard to find any flaw with it as far as misalignment, and or poor build quality. The frets were filied perfectly. I would compare the quality of mine to the hand rounded edges Ibanez claims on the Premium models. The nuts on the tuners do come loose over time, and they need to be tightened but I've never had a guitar that this didn't happen. It was a well built guitar there is no doubt about that. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is my workhorse, and was my workhorse until I got my Strat for a backup/2nd guitar for variety. I'm ashamed to say that this guitar has taken a beating over the years, because it was so beautiful when I bought it new. But it being an Ibanez, it's built to last. The hardware coating actually turned from cosmo black to chrome in some spots, but has not rusted even from being sweat on hour after hour. It give it some character in my opinion. I replaced the original strap buttons, but the ones that come on the prestige Ibanez have more surface area and and it makes the straps harder to get on, but I think they are better than others that I have seen. Could I gig with it without a backup. Of course. I did for a few years. I'm not a touring artist, but it's never failed me. The finish... That is the one part where I would have to knock it down. If you look at this guitar the wrong way you'll scratch it. No clear coat means it is it dents easier too. I've also noticed that it is very sensitive to climate and humidity changes, more so than other guitars I've owned. But the finish WILL wear off over time, unless it's a case queen. I bought it to play it. People spend thousands on getting "road worn" guitars. Why pay when you can do it yourself right? These guitars are beautiful though. // 8

Overall Impression: I play mainly classic rock, metal, a little blues and some classical stuff and practice Jazz scales and stuff like that. I would say that it is a perfect match for rock, and heavy metal. For everything else, it definitely lets you know, "hey, I'm an Ibanez, and I'm here to shred!" But with different pickups, and modding the tone circuits you can open it up to make it more diverse, but will always have that heavy crunch and low end that it was designed to be used for. I've been playing for 14 years and I have owned other Ibanez guitars and this model is by far my favorite. It's no frills, everything you need and nothing you don't (except better pickups). I actually bought this guitar sight unseen because of how much it was. I saw it on MF and was like, yes, I'll have that one. But as I stated, it just can't do Strat tones, close, but not close enough. If it were lost or stolen, I would be very upset because I can't find one in the color I have anywhere, and because of the type of finish, another one would not have the same character as mine. That's what I love the most about that guitar. Ibanez offered a great template to expand on and a great entry guitar into the prestige line. I don't have a favorite feature on this guitar because I love it. If I had to, it would be the archtop. There's something about the way the light reflects off it on stage that just makes it look so cool. The one thing that I wish it had one of the edge zero trem or something similar to it. But now Ibanez makes an RGA with one, but a flamed maple top but is 3 times more expensive. I have it an 8 for overall impression because it is a quality guitar. It scratches easy, and doesn't have the greatest stock pickups, but if you replace them it's a whole different animal. This is a guitar you can keep forever and you'll know its yours because it takes on all the battle scars and gives it character. It makes it unique. // 8

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overall: 8.6
RGA121 Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 03, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Village

Features: This Ibanez was made in japan which is a plus, it has 24 jumbo frets I believe, it is the Violin Flat version which is a red finish but you cn still see the wood. It has a 5pc Wizard Maple/Walnut neck and a Mahogany body, the bridge is a Gibraltar Plus bridge. The Pickups are the V7 and V8 both humbuckers, they are suppose to be made by dimarzio I think but don't count on that. 5-way selector, there is no locked trem on this guitar as it has no trem bar which makes sense. I bought this from Guitar Village and they provided me with a Ibanez Prestige hard case which I must say is pretty damn good, however there was no strap in there just a 'Manual'. // 8

Sound: Well I mainly play Metal and hard rock and I feel this is perfect, I own a Gibson SG and Jackson Charvel also and I have to say this guitar is my favourite. The neck is probably the smoothest, fastest neck I have ever tried but I was expecting that as it is a Prestige Neck. I play Extreme, Testament, Megadeth, Metallica, Paul Gilbert stuff and it's perfect for it. I am using a Marshall 100DFX and a MT2 with it and it sounds perfect for hard rock and metal, The neck pickup is great for lead runs and fast shredding, I feel the bridge pickup is pretty good as well seen as quite a few people slate it, I personally found it decent. The guitar is versatile, it sounds great on the clean channel as well as a distorted one and I think it would fit many styles such as Jazz for example. Metal riffs sound great on this guitar too, any Metallica, Megadeth stuff is just right. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar came in tune and set up very well, the action is low and pretty much perfect which I found great seen as my previous guitars had a fairly high action. The pickups were set up fine, the guitar had no flaws at all and I'm still using the strings they put on, whatever they are they sound good. I feel that it had been well looked after at guitar village as there is no scratches or marks, and I have heard that it's not hard to mark this guitar due to it's natural finish. The bridge was also fitted perfectly, infact the bridge is a real nice part of the guitar it's easy to play metal riffs on it and it sounds great. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I reckon the guitar will take Live playing and I certainly would have this as my first choice if I was playing Live. I think the hardware will last but I have only had it for a month so difficult to say, the strap buttons are very solid. I would take a backup guitar to a gig but that's just because I believe in doing that as anything could happen, but I would depend on this guitar and it would always be my first choice for a gig. The finish is fine right now but as I say there has been comments that the finish does wear off at the back, I personally haven't experianced this yet. // 8

Overall Impression: It fits rock and metal perfectly, it would also fit death metal and or any heavy stuff especially if you throw in some heavy gauge strings, it would sound amazing with the Gibralter bridge, it would be fine for jazz as well though it's versatile for sure. I have been playing almost 3 years now and there are a fair few guitars in my house including Gibson Les Paul, Fender Korean Strat, Charvel, Gibson SG, Washburn Acoustic and this Ibanez is my top choice, it has the best neck iv ever played. I knew a fair bit about the product before buying by reading a lot of reviews and I also called up Guitar Village and had a chat, I will say though do not be swayed by the negative comments on the bridge pickups (the V8 'I think') because it can be a little noisy but it still sounds great. If it was stolen or lost I would definately replace it, it's something I need now. I love everything about it really, I originally thought about getting an Ibanez with a locked trem but when I saw this I had my mind fixed on it and I'm happy that happened. It was difficult for me to find a store which had this guitar so I could try it, but I just tried other similar Ibanez's as they had similar specifications, I liked them quite a lot as well infact I am quite a fan of Ibanez now. However Overall, it was a great purchase, the case rocks and I would never sell it, it's brilliant. // 9

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overall: 9.4
RGA121 Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 15, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 1800

Purchased from: Online store

Features: This is a beautiful Japanese made guitar, with the fantastic Ibanez wizard prestige neck. It's a pretty simple package with one tone and volume knob, but that's all you really need for this guitar! The body is awesome, just a big bit of solid wood -like how all guitars should be! For the fret hungry it has 24 Jumbo frets with inlayed Pearl dots. The bridge is also a simple but effective Gibraltor Plus bridge, removing all the complications of a Floyd Rose. Tuners are Gotoh and pretty good, can't complain. Comes with a custom made, great fitting J-Team case. // 9

Sound: I generally play lead on this guitar and it works well with heavy riffs and solos. But I tried using it in a Jazz band and the tonality was a bit of a let down coming out with a muddy and unrich sound on the V7 pickup. The V8 on the otherhand was too sharp and bright. This guitar works best and is made for metal thrashing songs, where it sounds brilliant! So unless you play more of the heavy genre's don't go for this gat. I use this Gat most days with a mean Fender amp, but I tried it with this beastly Line 6 the other day. Whoa. Hard core sounds brother. Watch out. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The RGA121 was pretty well set-up coming straight from the factory to my hot little hands. Everything was just perfect! As it's a wood finish, the natural wood lines were a bit of a gamble. But every one of these guitars look great. I choose the Violin Flat and maate it looks good! The guys at the Japan factory know how to make these guitars well, so it was just spot on when it arrived. 12 months on and pretty much everything is still pretty tight. The neck is by far it's best feature, I've never played on a better neck! it's absolutely quality. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I definitely use this guitar for Live playing, No Doubt that this is always my first choice. I take risks so I don't bother with back ups anymore. My other gat I installed strap locks so I was sweet when I did a guitar swing, but I've found in this guitar that the strap buttons are well screwed on I wouldn't dare chuck them in. They're a nice size so I've actually never found a reason to install strap locks. The finish is mint, and hasn't worn off after my usage of 12 months. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar is pretty Stellar for it's price, nice and simple. But definitely effective. I played quite a mixed variety of music and this gat seems to fit mostly heavy stuff best, fortunately that's what I love the most. I've been playing for about 6 years, dabbling between lead, rhythm, classical and jazz. Love all the styles, but I get the most excited about playing lead and rhythm cos I get to use this gat. I would definitely replace this gat in the blink of an eye if it were to disappear. I love the look and the ease of playing it. Only thing I mildy dislike is the pickups but that can be sorted easily if I can be bothered. I looked at Gibson SGs, ESPs, LTDs, teles, strats and jacksons before I picked this one. Definitely worth it. // 10

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overall: 9.6
RGA121 Reviewed by: Resurrected22, on november 26, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 900

Purchased from: Drumcityguitarland.com

Features: This guitar is pretty basic. It's got a gilbraltar fixed bridge, 1 volume/1 tone control. The body is made of maple/mahogany, which provides some nice sustain. the neck is super thin and damn near impossible to get sticky. even when your sweating your fingers never stick to it. // 9

Sound: I play a lot of metal and hard rock stuff and it's perfect for it. I run mine through a marshal stack and mess around with a Line 6 spider 3 when warming up or goofing off. the sound is amazing and the stock pups are not to bad. I think they sound really good clean. thinking about replacing them with some duncan blackouts though. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: Not sure about how it came from the factory. the place I ordered it from set it up to my specs to it was spot on. I like this fixed bridge more than any other I have played. the intonation never goes out. I went from Standard tuning to C tuning with a dropped C to A and the intonation is still spot on. Pickups were adjusted perfect and the finish is amazing. I love the violin flat but heard that it scratches easily so I got the cranberry sparkle one. It's really nice and tough to scratch. there were no flaws what so ever. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is a beast and very well put together. I was interested in the Prestige because I heard there quality is amazing and for the money this is the sturdiest and highest quality Ibanez I have played. The hardware is extremely solid and straps perfect as well. This guitar took me the longest to break in but after that it's amazing. The action is very very low and I have 12-56's on this baby. Everything is extrememly well put together and you get a free case with it. The case is hands down the best I have ever seen and I never order a guitar without getting a hardshell case for it. If your looking for a simple yet amazing playing shred machine then this is a really nice buy. You will not be dissappointed. // 10

Overall Impression: This was the first Ibanez that I bought which actually met my standards. I have been playing for about 8 or 9 years, and had many different guitars from Ibanez. The craftsmanship is amazing. I love the way you can fly up and down the neck. It's truly a work of art. If it were stolen I would replace it with the violin flat finish and just try to be careful not to ding it. Like pups are pretty much that jack of all music styles in my opinion. they can do a little of everything but being that I play most metal I will be replacing them soon. I was thinking about getting this or the RGA321 and just could spend that extra dough for more less the same guitar. This guitar is amazing and a joy to play. // 10

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overall: 9.8
RGA121 Reviewed by: sqrrloncrack, on january 17, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: New York Music, Boardman OH

Features: This is a Japanese made Prestige RGA121 with the violin finish. It has 24 jumbo frets with the wizard prestige neck. Super fast, super thin, and super comfortable. The neck has the rosewood fretboard and is bolt on. This thing has a Gibraltar Plus bridge, which is great for sustaining any tuning from standard to low tunings. The only problem with the bridge is that if you want really thick strings you have to alter the bridge to fit the string. One volume knob, one tone knob, five way selector, passive pickups. Dual humbucker design with decent sound, standard Gibraltar tuners. This guitar is super simple and super durable. // 9

Sound: Great sound. I've run this thing through all kinds of amplifiers, from PEavey Triple XXX and 3120 to Marshalls, Line 6, Eggnator Rebel, the Peavey Joe Satch model. Always good tone, no matter what I am trying to do with it. As long as you know how to use the tone knob and pickup selector, you will never have a problem. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was amazing when I bought it and has been amazing ever since, and I've owned this baby for 7 years or longer. FInsih is durable, but susceptible to wear and tear just like anything else. The finish actually shines itself as you play it over the years. Just spectacular. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 7 plus years of use on the road, in the studio, and in the classroom. Only had to change the pots once, never had to change pickups. That's the only maintenance I have ever needed to perform. After 7 years, that says a lot. Never have I ever had another guitar that was this durable and this reliable in any situation I have been in, and I have owned a lot of instruments. // 10

Overall Impression: Simply floored. I play and teach everything from jazz to death metal and have been playing for 15 years. This guitar is so good that I haven't felt the need to buy another guitar since I purchased this one seven years ago. It if were stolen, I would totally buy another one if I could find it. In fact, I would buy one right now if I could find one and could afford it. Hell, I would buy ten of them. // 10

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