I’ve played Ibanez guitars (specifically RGs) almost my entire musical career. My first “real” guitar was a Japanese-made RG3120 Prestige model, and it was WAY too good for me. Luckily I grew into it a bit as I played it for the next 10 years until the frets were worn way down and it was time for a change. It was a gorgeous guitar that I’m missing even now (I’m on eBay as I write this looking to see if I can find one. Fucking nostalgia!).
The only issue I had with the guitar at the time was the Floyd Rose. I’d never encountered one before, and as soon as I got it home, I set about changing the strings, and promptly lost my mind when it collapsed into the cavity after removing the strings, and I spent several hours afterwards thinking I had broken my new axe within a day. No offense to Mr. Rose, who makes a fine product (that I eventually became very adept at setting up) but we were not off on the right foot.
Fast forward to today, and although I do like floating trems, in general I don’t really use them enough to justify the hassle. Typically I block them off with a Tremol-no and forget about them. But I still have love for RGs, and I always get excited whenever Ibanez comes out with a hardtail model. When I saw that they were releasing one with a hardtail and a neck-through I was over the moon, and when I saw the color I nearly cried with joy.
The Ibanez Iron Label RGIT27FE (in Sapphire Blue Flat finish) features a 7-piece Maple/Walnut neck-through with Ash body wings, EMG 707 pickups, Gibraltar Standard II-7 hardtail bridge, Gotoh locking tuners, a 25.5″ scale length, a killswitch, and an Ebony fretboard (also unusual for an RG).
I played this guitar extensively for about 2 weeks and found it very much to my liking. I was expecting not to like the EMG pickups, as I generally steer clear of active pickups, but I grew very fond of them after a bit of tone finagling, and found some sounds with them that I really enjoyed. One thing I noticed is that they sound much better in a mix than playing by yourself for practice or fun, which is maybe why they’ve gotten a bad rap. Personally, I’d rather have something that sounds good in context than sounding good for wanking in my bedroom by myself, although the latter has its merits.
The guitar has great sustain and is solid without being too heavy. The locking tuners make string changing a breeze (16 year old me breathes a huge sigh of relief) and the bridge is great – very comfortable to play and easy to adjust. The upper fret access on this guitar is CRAZY good. Not as good as an RGD with it’s super thin lower horn, but with the super smooth neck “joint” on the RGIT the playability is easily comparable.
The killswitch is a fun feature (not quite as much fun as a built-in Kaoss Pad), great for both practical use (as an on/off for your guitar) and for artistic use (Buckethead or Tom Morello-style stutters and effects). I recommend tightening it down with a ratchet beforehand if you intend to use it vigorously, as I found it had a tendency to come loose after a couple hours of flipping away.
With a street price of $1100, this guitar is a solid choice for a high-midrange Ibanez, and while it continues the RG tradition, it is also making its own mark with several unique features that make it distinct. And hot DAMN that blue! Now if we can only convince them to flip that headstock…..
Check out the official Ibanez page for more info.