Ibanez RGA Series

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by davegardner0, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. davegardner0

    davegardner0 Member

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    I'm a classic rock guy: i play all of that good 60s-70s music (Beatles to Clapton), and I'm currently playing on a G&L Comanche Hardtail and a Gibson SG. They're great guitars! I have big hands and they both have extra big necks so they fit me well. Recently I was hit with a curveball, though.

    My shredder friend and I were hanging out and I got a chance to play his Ibanez Prestige RGA121. Wow!!! This thing was awesome. It has a mahogany body with carved maple top, and a 5 piece maple neck with a quartersawn section in the middle and flatsawn side sections. It's a bolt on neck and the heel is contoured so it feels like my 61 SG RI all the way up to the 24th fret. It has twin humbuckers which can be set up series/parallel and sound really great.

    I played some clean blues lines on it with my amp at the edge of distortion, and I couldn't believe how good it sounded! It was very crisp, responsive, and full sounding, especially the neck pickup. NOT what I was expecting! And it was just super, super easy and inviting to play. This guitar has a fixed bridge unlike most shredder guitars, so I would think that made it sound a lot more full vs. something like a floyd. Still, I was blown away. Adding distortion, the guitar never got muddy and stayed articulate, which I guess I did expect.

    So I'm wondering, who else is playing classic rock, blues, and other non-metal music on a guitar like this? Also, does anyone know of a similar guitar, of similar quality, that has a bigger neck? The neck felt great but I'm not sure how my huge hands would like the thinness of it (front to back) when playing for a while. My 61 SG RI also has a wide thin neck which sometimes drives me crazy. I loved the super wide nut on the Ibanez, ideally I'd like something similar but about twice as deep.
     
  2. mystixboi

    mystixboi Supporting Member

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    The rga121 is a great guitar. They have gone up in price over the past few years. Great playing guitars for sure. Just upgrade the pickups and you have a great player
     
  3. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    I've tried to move to other, more "appropriate" guitars. And I've found some I really like. But when I pickup an Ibanez RG, it's just like coming home.

    The necks are on the thin side, but most don't bother me. I had a really early Universe that had a neck about the thickness of two sheets of paper. That was too much. But the more recent Japanese Ibanez necks are more reasonable. (Some of the non-Japanese necks are pretty oddly shaped, very flat with broad shoulders).

    The Suhr Modern always struck me as a boutique RG and can be ordered with a thicker neck.
     
  4. davegardner0

    davegardner0 Member

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    The Suhr Modern looks like a really cool guitar, but I only see it with tremolo bridges, and it looks way more expensive than the Ibanez, unfortunately. Still seems like a super cool guitar, though!
     
  5. SeizeTheDave

    SeizeTheDave Member

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    I've got a RGA321 with the figured maple top. It is a great guitar! I put some Bill Lawrence (Wilde) L-90s in it and it is a perfect Classic Rock machine (with extra shred to spare). The fixed bridge is a pleasant change for this type of guitar. I bought it to be my Ibanez "Les Paul" type of guitar and it has definitely fit the bill. It's hard to beat a MIJ Prestige model Ibanez.

    I was actually thinking about selling it b/c I'm gas'ing for a Suhr and an Axe FX II and that's not a cheap combo. Let me know if you're interested.
     
  6. rufedges

    rufedges Member

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    I had bought an RGA 121 back in 2005, was pretty much the first quality guitar I owned in my 20 years of playing. I did like the wider than normal neck, tones were pretty good once I swapped out the pickups; stock pups are poor IMHO. However, the fret wire seemed a little soft, and I wore them down so much after 2 1/2 to 3 years, it needed either a fret job or a new neck. Couldn't get a new neck from Ibanez, and a fret job was too much at the time. If you really like it, you could probably re-fret with SS and be done with it.
     
  7. Neo

    Neo Member

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    I too, have the flametop RGA321. Great airy cleans with the stock pups. Distorted, to my ears,this maple necked beauty lacks that vowel-like growl of a mahogany necked bolt on like a Suhr. Sounds more like a cross between Alder and mahogany. I'd check out a mahogany necked Suhr if you want a more distinct sound. Me, I'm thinking of getting a Bunker mahogany neck for my RGA if they even use mahogany for its replacement Ibanez necks.

    If you ever see a used PRS Custom 24 stoptail on eBay or reverb, jump on that rare gem. Sounds like a trem custom 24 with more character. More of that mahogany growl than the trem PRS or that RGa you played.
     
  8. davegardner0

    davegardner0 Member

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    Oh man you guys are really tempting me!

    Sieze theDave, i'll be sending a PM.

    rufedges, I did notice that my friend's RGA121 had very worn frets. I figured he just plays a lot, but maybe the fret wire really doesn't hold up. But, at least a refret is something that's possible, right? Are you selling yours as well?
     
  9. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    You know, I do have a few Prestiges with abnormally significant fretwear. But some are totally fine after years of heavy use. Never really thought about it.
     
  10. SeizeTheDave

    SeizeTheDave Member

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    My RGA321 has very little fret wear on it. My '04 S1625 is starting to show some use but that's after 10 years of use. My 2nd S1625 has NO wear on it at all. Granted, I don't think it's been used much prior to my purchasing it.
     
  11. rufedges

    rufedges Member

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    I sold mine a LONG time ago, back in 2008/2009. Once I found out I couldn't get a new neck, and fret-job was going to be too much relative to the value of the actual guitar, I sold it to some high school kid real cheap who was wanting to learn. Its not a bad entry level guitar IMO, and just because you pay a certain amount of money doesn't mean you are getting the tone/quality you should, but it isn't a bad entry level professional guitar, served its purpose for me at the time.
     
  12. +3kk!

    +3kk! Member

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    I played an RGA prestige at my friends shop, its a wonderful guitar but its also a very expensive guitar for its price

    i think it costs more than an RG3xxx series, which puts it near the J-Custom territory you can get some wonderful guitars for that price

    other options include

    Suhr S3
    Fender AVRI
    Gibson LP Standard
    PRS Cu 24
    ESP Horizon
    ESP Eclipse

    and many more
     
  13. lowyaw

    lowyaw Member

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    i bought my rga121 from Rich Harris, Ibanezrules.com, which is the palce to get an Ibanez, imo, new for about $900, a couple of years ago. replaced the pickups with the standard AN-TZ combo, and it's been my number one since then, with minor exceptions.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    I don't get the comments about it being "entry level." I've owned and played tons of boutique stuff, and I always come back to MIJ Ibanez guitars. Tone and feel are subjective, but if you dig the Ibanez specs, my experience has been that you can't find a better playing guitar however much you want to spend. They have some QC issues at times (they are production-line instruments after all), but one that's "right" can't be beat.

    And I think they're cool looking. Here's my RGA:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. IbanezRokr

    IbanezRokr Member

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    Yep, they're great! Unfortunately when they were around the stores around me carried very few of them. I completely regret not buying an RGA7 that I tried. Should've fought harder for a way to find the money for it.

    And i'm not all surprised about your experience with the versatility of it. I use my RGT220 for pretty much everything.
     
  16. davegardner0

    davegardner0 Member

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    The guitar I played certainly didn't feel entry-level to me, either. In my opinion, it had that solid feel that cheaper guitars never have. Similar to my G&L.
     
  17. rufedges

    rufedges Member

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    I suppose I could agree that jt could be rated as a higher end, entry level professional guitar.

    The body was nice and tone was very good, but it was obvious Ibanez saved money in the pickups, tuners, and especially fret wire. Maybe a got an anomoly with soft fret wire; I did play it quite a bit, but it wore fast. Once those were rectified it was a very nice instrument, if you can live without a trem.
     
  18. ixnay

    ixnay Member

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    I picked up an RGA121 when MF blew them out for $499 several years ago (got anther $100 off because they screwed up the order the first time). Pretty good value at $399, but given what Ibanez pricing has done since then I am scared to think what they'd go for now...

    Ended up selling it because I couldn't deal with the thin necks anymore.
     
  19. old_metal_head

    old_metal_head Member

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    I just sold a nice Prestige RG to get the cash for a Suhr Modern Satin.

    I miss the RG.
     
  20. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    Ibanez stock pickups do kinda stink. Prestige tuners are Gotohs that feel and work fine to me? The abnormal fretwear is strange though.

    Yeah, I've had similar experiences buying boutique superstrats. Ibanez just knows what it's doing with the RG series.
     

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