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Ibanez originated in Japan, but throughout the years, they’ve had a large output of instruments from Indonesia and China. The Prestige range comes from its home country, and as such, is marketed with pride and, well… prestige!
The RG range is what made Ibanez famous (after lawsuits), and it has retained a place amongst hair and shredders since the eighties. We’re in the price-range of enthusiasts and professionals, so the expectation of this instrument is that it will achieve a high-quality product all around, in terms of parts, construction, tones and playability.
Let’s see if it does!
Core Features and Specs
A first glance, the spec sheet gives the impression that Ibanez are going straight for the kill, so to speak: pick up; plug in; play… fast!
There are no frills, no embellishments – if it’s “fancy” you’re looking for, look elsewhere.
|Pickups||Ibanez V77 humbucker at the neck
Ibanez V87 humbucker at the bridge
The neck is of Ibanez’s Wizard design, allegedly to allow faster playing. The guitar comes in one color, and that’s Invisible Shadow. That’s black to the rest of us. It’s so focused on playing, there’s just a single volume knob.
This will work well for…
It’s an Ibanez RG model. This couldn’t possibly be any more squarely aimed at shredders. Stores will probably make you take a speed test before you’re allowed to leave with it!
Although Ibanez’s own spiel claims that the pickups have been designed to emphasize bass notes, the neck and contoured horns only point in one direction, and that’s right on up the fingerboard.
Guitars at this price are more likely to be played by working musicians, or at least seasoned hobbyists who are knowledgeable enough to understand that you get what you pay for.
Does it do what it should?
In terms of parts, this seven-string RG keeps it simple. It’s difficult to contemplate how much simpler it could get.
Probably the most interesting thing is the choice of basswood as the tonewood for the body. Mahogany is generally the choice wood at this level. It sure makes for a lighter guitar. It’s only 7lbs 10oz. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal and feel that they’re going for – a light guitar will inspire light fingers?
The hardware comes in a Cosmo Black finish, which looks remarkably like black chrome. A GraphTech nut is included which should reduce string breakages. At the other end, Ibanez’s own Tight-End R bridge claims playability and stability.
Overall, the parts are all Ibanez’s own work. They all look tidy and solid, cleanly attached to the body and neck. As the basis of the guitar is very much function over form, there’s not really any more to say!
As with the parts, the construction of this RG is most interesting around its basswood body.
The front and back of the horns have had some pretty brutal contouring, as has the top of the body. This intense crafting serves two purposes.
Firstly, comfort: around the horns, you’ll have more comfort reaching that 24th fret, and on the body itself for standing onstage with a guitar whose edges aren’t digging into your rib cage.
Secondly, it certainly contributes to keeping that weight down.
The bolt-on neck is a perfect fit, sitting flush and even with the body.
An important aspect of this guitar is its scale. Ibanez has added a whole extra inch, bringing it to 26.5″. This aids the player in reducing a cause of fret buzz for lower strings, and making string bends easier during solos on the higher strings. It’s an extra inch of versatility really.
The 24 jumbo frets are embedded cleanly on the rosewood fingerboard, with simple dot inlays to help you find your way. The frets have also been finished with Ibanez’s Prestige fret edge treatment. In the absence of binding, this keeps the joint between the frets and fingerboard smooth, so as not to delay your shredding!
From the parts and construction, it couldn’t be any more obvious that this guitar is for doing one thing – metal shredding.
With this – and its price – in mind, there didn’t seem to be very much point in testing its tones based on anything other than a good 100 watt valve head, and a half stack cab.
Starting with the gain at about 4, where you’d normally get a fairly nice crunch, you can hear the extra bite from the pickups. It perhaps sounds a little sharper than you might expect. It feels the guitar is crying out to be cranked up, and you have to reel it in a little bit.
Bumping the gain up to 6, with bass set to 4, and mids and treble both set to 6, you get a decent, beefy, full tone. Some palm-muted riffage on the bass strings, gives a highly satisfying chug. It is hard to ascertain how much of this is the wood, the amp, or the claims of better bass response from Ibanez’s pickups.
Leaving the bass strings behind for a little bit, it’s time to get into what this guitar has been exclusively designed and created for – shredding! Full disclosure: this reviewer isn’t the fastest widdler in town, but we’ll do our best to work out what this guitar means for those who are.
The slightly-hotter-than-standard pickups get the most out of solos on this RG. With the amp settings as before, you’ll be quite comfortably in the zone. Dialing the gain up to 8, just to see, and honestly, it doesn’t make that much difference. For shredding, noticeable tonal difference tapped out at 6.
The low action makes this is a highly playable guitar, whether you’re chugging or widdling. In fact, the pickup selector switch has been placed so you can skip as quickly and as easily as possible from one setting to the other.
The idea is that if you’re playing low end riffs, they’ll sound best on the neck on the neck pickup, but if you need to go from there into a solo – best executed on the bridge pickup – the switch is located close to where your strumming hand is playing anyway, so making that switch should take less than a second.
The extra inch in scale will be noticeable to the seasoned player who would be considering this guitar, but it’s not uncomfortably longer. Of course, that all depends on the player, their hands, and their idea of comfort.
Although the Prestige range mentions the fret edge treatment, it’s not entirely specific about what that actually means. For sure, there’s not even the slightest hint of discomfort or sharpness when running up and down the neck, but it’s not clear if “treatment” means a chemical finish of some kind, or if it’s a crafting technique used to ensure that smoothness. Not even the internet can provide clarification.
|· A good higher end instrument for shredders
· Excellent parts and construction
· The lack of frills means you won’t get distracted by playing with a bunch of settings – this guitar feel like it’s intended to do one thing really well
|· A higher density tonewood would be expected for this price
· Not a versatile instrument: this one is for shredders who need to do some riffs in between – it’s a bit of a one trick pony
· The limited color options may not appeal to everybody
Some Alternatives to Try
If you’re curious about alternatives, the competitors at this price point are pretty much the usual suspects.
Sticking with Ibanez and the RG model, the RG752 is very much in the same ballpark as the RGD2127FX. Also part of the Japanese-made Prestige range, it retains the basswood body and Wizard neck, but removes the brutal contouring of its cousin, making it a little weightier, but more in line with the traditional Superstrat look.
DiMarzio PAF 7s
It also swaps out Ibanez’s stock pickups for DiMarzio PAF 7s. These aren’t quite as hot as the Vs, so if you’re more of a hard or prog rocker that’s looking to extend possibilities, this could be a goer. Those pickups are connected to a five-way selector, for a wider range of tonal options.
ESP E-II TE-7|
ESP have their E-II TE-7 model, which is interesting in so many ways.
The most noticeable thing is that it is shaped more like a Telecaster than a Superstrat. I mean, that’s just weird, right? Apart from the body-shape, it gets pretty metal though! Other things to note, include an alder body, neck-through construction, EMG pickups, a pearloid binding along the neck and body.
Jeff Loomis JL-7 FR
Schecter’s models in this price range are the signature models of Keith Merrow and Jeff Loomis, guitarists of instrumental technical death metal supergroup, Conquering Dystopia. These are two very different guitars, combining high-end features and affordability.
Looking at the Loomis model, it comes with a swamp ash body, set-neck, maple fingerboard with quite fancy gothic cross inlays, Seymour Duncan’s Jeff Loomis signature active pickups, and a Floyd Rose tremolo. Unlike the other guitars mentioned, this comes with a carved top.
If your playing focuses on shredding, the RGD2127FX is absolutely for you. It combines the features for getting the most out of high-speed playing, while the V pickups provide sufficient low-end chug for chugging through verse, and strumming through choruses.
The count of its features is pretty low, but that’s because it’s aimed at outstanding performance for a particular player.
It’s a fun and easy guitar to play. The overall, general lightness of the body might be off-putting for some. But don’t be fooled. This is no toy!