Model Year: 1997
Price Paid: $400
This guitar is really easy to play. The neck is fast and you can get great action on it. It uses a Floyd Rose Lo-TRS trem, which is confusing and irritating to use at first, but isn’t too bad once you figure it out. However it doesn’t seem to do as good a job of keeping the guitar in tune as the original Floyd Rose does.
Performance Rating: 8
The pickups are OK. They really aren’t as terrible as a lot of the reviews I see here say they are, and definitely not as good as some of the other reviews. These pickups are without a doubt, average. I recently bought an ESP KH-2 which has a dual EMG-81 pickup setup, and it sounds great, but when I compared it directly with my RG, I wasn’t floored by the sound quality difference. A change of pickups would really help this guitar to be fantastic, but if you decide to stick with the stock pickups you’ll still have an good guitar. In general I’d say the stock pickups sound a bit dull, and I get more unwanted distortion/feedback than I’d like.
Sound Quality Rating: 6
I’ve had this guitar for almost 2 years now, and although I treat it pretty well, it has taken a decent amount of punishment. It definitely feels like a quality piece of equipment. A huge improvement over my first guitar that had badly cut frets and a neck the size of a tree-trunk. The RG is light-weight, comfortable, and really easy to play. I honestly don’t like Floyd Rose style trems, but you don’t have much of a choice if you want to buy Ibanez. I feel it was worth the money, but not a penny more. Again, a nicer set of pickups would really help this guitar, and I prefer the original Floyd Rose trem to the Lo-TRS that the RG uses. Still a solid mid-priced guitar.
Construction Rating: 8
Band: Mad Puppet
Model Year: 1998
Price Paid: Too much (I’m embarrassed to say)
Does not work well. If it did it would be a dream, does not deliver. At first the tremolo will stay in tune but after some use it will begin to start slipping. It’s a hot looking guitar but that’s all it is, looks. It sure is pretty. It has a lot of features but nothing functions well enough to record a whole song in tune all the way through with. Ibanez skimped on this one.
Performance Rating: 2
Standard cheap pickups in a basswood body. If the tone sounds alright it’s probably because of the amp. FYI, Vai does not play these guitars (such as the look-alike 350 model) — and he does not use these pickups either. RG’s are Jem look-alikes, and by the way Vai doesn’t use stock Jems either. Just so you know. If you want a not cheap imitation guitar this is it. I do kinda like the sound of the pickups. Albeit average, these pickups (to my ear) sound somewhat better than the v-7 and v-8 pickups found on the more expensive RGs, but how would you consider the sound quality when the thing is always out of tune?
Sound Quality Rating: 2
The guitar was not set up in the store, so that hid the flaws in the neck that I could not spot by sight. Since I didn’t not make it a habit to set up a guitar in the store before buying one, it I decided to go with it based on my last prior experience with an Ibanez guitar back in 1991 (they made quality guitars back then.) I noticed the guitar had a different tremolo than what I was used to seeing on RGs but I was willing to give it a chance (my 1991 RG 450 had an edge tremolo.) After getting ripped off, I got curious and went to several music stores with a straight edge metal ruler in hand to check the true quality of Ibanez RGs. I found 11 guitars in one store, 9 had uneven fret boards, and one had a twisted neck.
Ibanez needs to discontinue the lo-trs II tremolo as of now. (speaking from personal experience) I found that these tremolos are made of a very soft alloy which will compress after tightening the saddle screw for setting the intonation. I was also being careful not to over-tighten but after a few attempts to perfect the intonation on one string I found the screw head started to dent and dig into the saddle. When the saddles are chewed up enough it will prevent accurately setting them at all. The black “paint” on the hardware also chips off easily.
I used to love and play Ibanez guitars before 1992, but this was before they changed to the all access neck heel. This design is the worst neck heel I have ever seen. These necks shift so badly that these guitars will not hold a setup unless you glue the neck to the guitar. Surprisingly the locking nut began to loosen and shift, and the tremolo was able to slide left and right against the mounting posts.
I have also dealt with Ibanez customer service and it was nothing short of a nightmare. I got the guitar for $100 off because there were chips in the paint. When I discovered that my guitar had uneven frets, I tried to get warrantee service and initially I was denied. They said the guitar was abused and “looked like it sat in the basement for 10 years” I decided to make a lot of noise and ended up talking to some Ibanez “brass” and they agreed to look at it. I sent the guitar to them hoping they would replace the neck because it was warped, but instead they did poor quality grind and polish on the frets.
All I can say is, well, they made that piece of crap. This guitar is only good if someone pays you to take it and then you decide to smash it on stage. I have owned 38 guitars in my 15 years of playing, and these Ibanez’s (not counting the one I bought in 1991) were the absolute worst guitars I have ever seen. I do tend to be critical in my reviews but I can’t help totally ripping on Ibanez for the products they sell. They are beautiful garbage. If this guitar was ever stolen from me I would laugh at the thief for being stupid. Can I select a -10 for its rating here?
Construction Rating: 0
- Performance: 5
- Sound Quality: 4
- Construction: 4
- 10: Excellent
- 0: Useless