If you’re looking for a versatile guitar with a sleek and modern design, you can’t go wrong with an Ibanez RG series. This iconic guitar line has been around for decades, and it’s been a go-to choice for shredders and heavy metal guitarists alike. In this article, we’ll explore the history of the Ibanez RG series, its design and construction, and the different models available today. We’ll also dive into the sound and feel of these guitars, and give you some tips on how to choose the right RG for your playing style.
The History of the Ibanez RG Series From the 1980s to Today
The Ibanez RG series first debuted in 1987, as a response to the growing popularity of shredder-style guitars. The design was a collaboration between Ibanez and Steve Vai, a virtuoso guitarist who was becoming a household name in the metal community. The RG was an instant success, thanks to its fast and slim neck, lightweight body, and aggressive look. It quickly became a go-to choice for metal and hard rock players who demanded speed and precision from their guitars.
Over the years, the Ibanez RG series has evolved and expanded to include a wide range of models, from affordable entry-level guitars to high-end instruments with premium features. Today, the RG series is still considered one of the most iconic and influential guitar lines in the world.
Design and Construction of Ibanez RG series Guitars
The Ibanez RG series is known for its distinct design features, including the sharp and angular body shape, the pointed headstock, and the sleek cutaways. But the RG is more than just a pretty face – it’s also a finely crafted instrument with top-notch materials and construction.
Body Shape and Materials
Most Ibanez RG series guitars have a solid body made of basswood or mahogany, which provides a balanced and resonant tone. Some models, like the RG652AHMFX, feature a top made of exotic woods like quilted maple or bubinga, which adds to the guitar’s visual appeal.
The RG’s body shape is a modern take on the classic double-cutaway design, with sharp horns and beveled edges. This design not only looks cool, but it also allows for easy access to the upper frets. Some models, like the RG550DX, have a “sharktooth” inlay pattern on the fretboard that further enhances the guitar’s aggressive look.
Neck and Fretboard
The neck of an Ibanez RG series is one of its most defining features. Most RG models have a slim and fast neck profile, with a flat radius and jumbo frets. This makes it easy to play fast and complex riffs, and allows for comfortable bending and vibrato techniques.
The fretboard of an Ibanez RG series guitar is typically made of rosewood or maple, which provides a smooth playing surface and a warm, resonant tone. Some models, like the RG652AHMFX, have a fretboard made of birdseye maple, which adds a unique aesthetic touch. The fretboard also features dot or sharktooth inlays, which help with navigation and add to the guitar’s visual appeal.
Hardware and Electronics
Ibanez RG series guitars are equipped with high-quality hardware and electronics that contribute to their sound and playability. Most models have a double-locking tremolo system, which allows for extreme whammy bar effects without causing tuning issues. The bridge and tuning machines are typically made of sturdy materials like Gotoh or Ibanez’s own hardware, which ensures stability and durability.
The electronics on an Ibanez RG series guitar vary depending on the model. Most guitars have two humbucking pickups and a single-coil pickup, which provide a wide range of tonal options. Some models, like the RG652AHMFX, have Seymour Duncan pickups that offer a more vintage sound. The controls typically include a 5-way switch, which allows for switching between different pickup combinations, as well as a volume and tone knob.
The Different Models in the Ibanez RG Series
The Ibanez RG series includes a wide range of models that cater to different playing styles and budgets. Here’s a brief overview of the different series:
RG Standard Series
The Ibanez RG series includes entry-level and mid-range guitars that offer great value for the price. These guitars feature solid body construction, a slim neck profile, and a double-locking tremolo system. Some models also include a fixed bridge for players who prefer a more stable tuning system.
RG Premium Series
The RG Premium Series offers high-end features at a more affordable price point. These guitars typically have a solid body with a top made of exotic wood, as well as premium hardware and electronics. They also feature a slim and fast neck profile, as well as a double-locking tremolo system.
RG Iron Label Series
The RG Iron Label Series is designed for metal players who demand extreme playability and tone. These guitars feature a solid body with a matte black finish, as well as a slim neck profile and jumbo frets. They also come equipped with high-output pickups and a fixed bridge for maximum tuning stability.
RG Genesis Collection
The RG Genesis Collection pays homage to the original RG guitars from the 1980s, with updated features and modern construction. These guitars feature a solid body with a classic look, as well as a slim and fast neck profile and high-quality hardware and electronics.
Sound and Feel of Ibanez RG Guitars
Ibanez RG guitars are known for their fast and precise playability, as well as their aggressive and versatile tone. The slim and fast neck profile, combined with the jumbo frets and flat radius, allows for effortless shredding and complex chord voicings. The double-locking tremolo system also enables extreme whammy bar effects without causing tuning issues.
The tone of an Ibanez RG guitar varies depending on the model and the pickups. Most models have a high-output, mid-focused sound that’s great for heavy metal and hard rock. Some models, like the RG652AHMFX, have a more vintage, bluesy sound thanks to their Seymour Duncan pickups. The tone controls allow for a wide range of tonal options, from thick and heavy to bright and cutting.
How to Choose the Right Ibanez RG Guitar for You
Choosing the right Ibanez RG guitar depends on your playing style and budget. Here are some factors to consider:
Consider what style of music you’ll be playing on your Ibanez RG guitar. If you’re into heavy metal and hard rock, you’ll want a model with high-output pickups and a double-locking tremolo system. If you’re into more classic rock and blues, you may want a model with Seymour Duncan pickups or a fixed bridge.
Ibanez RG guitars range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Consider how much you’re willing to spend and what features are most important to you. If you’re on a tight budget, the RG Standard Series offers great value for the price. If you’re willing to spend more, the RG Premium Series and Genesis Collection offer higher-end features.
Ibanez RG guitars come in a variety of finishes and styles. Consider what aesthetic you prefer, whether it’s a classic look or a more modern design. Some models also feature exotic wood tops, which add a unique visual element.
Finally, consider the ergonomics of the guitar. Make sure the guitar feels comfortable in your hands and on your body. The slim and fast neck profile of Ibanez RG guitars may not be comfortable for everyone, so make sure to try out different models before making a purchase.
The Ibanez RG series is a popular choice for guitar players who demand fast and precise playability, as well as aggressive and versatile tone. With a variety of models to choose from, there’s an Ibanez RG guitar for every playing style and budget. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, an Ibanez RG guitar is a great investment for your musical journey.
- Are Ibanez RG guitars only for heavy metal and hard rock?
- No, while many models are designed for heavier styles of music, there are also models with pickups and features that cater to more classic rock and blues styles.
- Do all Ibanez RG guitars have a double-locking tremolo system?
- No, some models have a fixed bridge for players who prefer a more stable tuning system.
- What is the difference between the RG Standard Series and the RG Premium Series?
- The RG Premium Series offers higher-end features at a more affordable price point, such as exotic wood tops and premium hardware and electronics.
- What is the RG Genesis Collection?
- The RG Genesis Collection pays homage to the original RG guitars from the 1980s, with updated features and modern construction.
- Are Ibanez RG guitars comfortable to play?
- This depends on personal preference, but the slim and fast neck profile of Ibanez RG guitars may not be comfortable for everyone. It’s important to try out different models before making a purchase.