RGR08LTD review by Ibanez

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (40 votes)
Ibanez: RGR08LTD

Price paid: $ 492.27

Purchased from: Nevada Music

Sound — 7
For the record, I'm no good at describing a guitar's tone. In fact, I hate the different words people use. According to the Seymour Duncan website, the Blackout pickup is a "9-volt active humbucker for aggressive playing styles. Recommended for old school metal, garage, punk, thrash, drop tunings, and other heavy rock styles." I'm running it through a Boss ME-50 multi-fx board and a Roland Cube amp. Clean, it sounds good, and when I turn on the distortion, it sounds pretty good too when you're playing rhythm - very Metallica-esque. However, it doesn't sound amazing, at least in my opinion, when playing lead metal guitar. Like I say, I'm no good at describing these things, but I think this pickup is a bit too bassy for my liking. One good thing though is that it's practically noiseless (it was designed to be so).

Overall Impression — 8
The main styles of music I play are metal, hard rock and pop-punk. I bought this because I didn't own any 24 fret, thin-necked guitars and wanted something I could practice metal lead guitar on (without a Floyd Rose). It does the job fine and is a pretty cool guitar (the fact it's limited edition adds to that), although I might look into replacing the pickup with an EMG-81. I'm going to replace the killswitch too with a push button rather than the useless stiff toggle it has got at the moment). Apart from those 2 things, I'm pretty happy with it overall and would recommend it if it's the kind of guitar you're looking for.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar would easily withstand Live playing. Having said that, I've never used it in that situation but I'm sure it'd be fine. The hardware, apart from the pickup, is all Ibanez branded, so I don't know how well it will last but it's a technically basic guitar anyway so I can't foresee any problems. It's pretty good at staying in tune.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Considering this wasn't a Prestige guitar, it arrived surprisingly well set up from the Ibanez factory. It even came with a little inspection card, where each aspect of assembly and set-up had been checked and signed off. Intonation was perfect. Action was almost perfect (the B string felt a bit too low for my liking). No fret buzz problems. There were no flaws at all in the guitar.

Features — 7
This is a 2008 limited edition model. It's just a regular Ibanez (not a Prestige) and was made in Indonesia. It has 24 jumbo frets, with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. The front of the headstock is painted black. However, the back of the headstock and the whole neck are just the maple wood. The body is made of basswood with a beautiful shiny black finish, and the body and neck have white binding which is a nice touch and makes it look a bit more interesting. It has a non-descript fixed bridge, with thru-body stringing. The nut and tuners are just run of the mill. It came with D'addario XL strings, although I don't know what the guage was. I replaced them with Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinkys anyway. This guitar is very similar to the RGR321EX. What sets it apart (and makes it "limited edition" is that it only has a single pickup, a Seymour Duncan Blackout active humbucker. It has one volume knob and in place of the tone knob is a killswitch, which is a cool feature. However, it's not a push button Switch but a stiff, flicky Switch which I don't like so I'm going to replace it. The stock killswitch is almost useless if you want to play songs by the likes of Buckethead. Another limited edition feature is the double Dot inlays, which look pretty sweet. I guess overall there is nothing special about the features of this guitar (apart from the killswitch), but as the blurb on the Ibanez site says "this special RGR is terrifyingly simple, but powerful enough to acomplish your missions on stage".

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Use it with a valve amp, like active pickups are meant to be used. They sound bassy and bad because the transistors are clipping because of the increased output. With a valve amp it would force the 12ax7 [or whatever] to clip and the overdrive would be lush. With a 6505 or a recto it sounds amazing. I'll review it myself soon.
    Yay, someone commented But yeah, it's hard trying to explain why I don't like the pickup. I think it's that when you play a single note, it's not 100% clear (bassy and buzzy, but not actually "buzzy" if you know what I mean) and playing an arpeggio for example just sounds messy. I wish it didn't have an active pickup though. I'd rather replace it with a passive one, but I dunno how complicated it is (never really messed with guitar electronics before).
    Am an active pickup lover. Was thinking of either getting this fine piece or the epiphone sg prophecy EX. I have yet to try out the epiphone but what do you guys think?