What’s up Gear Mortals, Trey Xavier here. On today’s edition of Gear Gods Quality Control, we’re gonna be taking a look at the Ibanez RGR652AHB-WK Prestige!
The Ibanez RG series guitars have been an inspiration to me for over 20 years. My first real guitar was an RG Prestige, and I think I was pretty spoiled right out of the gate. When the original RG was released, the shred guitar industry as a whole was turned on its head by the ultra-thin necks, pointy-but-still-classy stylings, and ergonomic features. There are many sub-series of the RG such as the RGA archtop, the RGD extended scale, and RGV vintage style, but the one that is closest to my heart is the RGR, which features a reversed headstock.
This particular model is, in my opinion, the best-looking RG that Ibanez has released domestically in many years, maybe ever. The flat black finish with the white binding and pickups really pops, and the Prestige logo on the reverse headstock looks awesome. The finish is a bit of a raw style with the textured grain of the ash coming through, which is a great look. Top that off with a 5 piece super wizard HP neck and a very dark rosewood fretboard and you’ve got yourself a visually stunning axe. What do you think the HP in Super Wizard HP stands for? Harry Potter?
For me, the main upgrade in specs is the ash body, whereas for a very long time the RG bodies were made of basswood, which I didn’t really like. Ash is my favorite body wood so of course, that makes me personally happy. If you preferred the basswood, you might be bummed. I’m surprised to find a rosewood fretboard on a guitar like this these days, with importing rosewood becoming such a pain in the ass, but before I looked at the specs I thought it was ebony because it’s so dark.
The guitar plays like a slippery wet dream. In a rare feat, the guitar came set up flawlessly and required no tweaking at all on my part aside from my usual silencing of the tremolo springs. The Super Wizard HP neck is meant to be a throwback to the original crazy thin Wizard necks, and it’s as fast as it’s ever gonna get. I really enjoyed the Edge tremolo, it’s great for flutters, which is what I generally use a term for, and I encountered no problems with tuning stability despite the nice loose feel of it.
I think the only drawback to this guitar are the Dimarzio Fusion Edge pickups, and they’re not bad, just nothing special. They’re very smooth to my ears, not a great deal of attack, which makes them good for liquidy lead guitar but not as great for crunchy rhythm guitar playing. Obviously the market for this guitar is lead players, so it makes sense, but it’s something to be aware of.
The RGR652AHB-WK Prestige might be hard to say, but it’s not hard to acquire, as it is pretty reasonably priced for a Japanese Prestige model at around $1400 street. My experience with this guitar was overwhelmingly positive and I think this represents an awesome direction for Ibanez in 2018, so I hope to see more guitars like this one from them.