Loud, resonant, comfy and a bang for the buck…
Apart from guitars like the Fender Stratocaster or Gibson’s Les Paul, the Ibanez RG is one of the best-selling electric guitars in history. It is based on the Strat design, but was always targeted to the more technical player, combining a comfortable body shape with a very flat neck profile, that no one had seen or played before.
While I am not so much into Floyd Rose-equipped guitars, I was always a big fan of the Ibanez RG, basically for the reasons mentioned above. A couple of months ago I got the chance to test the Ibanez RG721RW for a few days and I was totally blown away by it from the first minute.
The fixed bridge guitar player’s dream
It seemed to be the Ibanez RG I was always searching for. A solid fixed bridge with a low profile, an open finish for body and neck, two humbuckers with 5-way switching and the super comfortable Ibanez Wizard neck profile.
The Ibanez RG721RW is manufactured in the Ibanez Premium factory, which is located in Indonesia. While a lot of people are skeptical about that… there are actually a lot of companies out there who get their entry- and medium-level stuff produced in Indonesia, since the factor of production consistency seems to be higher than in chinese factories and still cheaper than the big factory in South Korea.
In terms of workmanship I couldn’t find any flaws with the RG721RW. Even at a closer look, it seems like who ever made the final treatment really did a really good job. Especially the fret job is a crucial thing to me, but thanks to Ibanez’ Premium Fret Edge Treatment the fretwire is rounded towards the fretboard sides, which results in a very comfortable playing experience. The body is made of basswood, which is not only light, but also very consistent in terms of tone. This is the fifth basswood guitar I own and I have never been disappointed with anyone of them. The flat-finished rosewood top doesn’t look that thick, so I assume it’s supposed to add an optical highlight to the RG721RW. Ibanez also matched the headstock to that and left the Ibanez logo in the original wood color – nice! The guitar is super resonant and loud acoustically thanks to the satin-finished body and natural-finished neck.
What the neck???
As my hands are rather small and my fingers kind of short in comparison to a lot of players I know, the Ibanez Wizard neck is just perfect for me. It is not super flat, like some people might assume, it just feels “right”, if that makes sense. The rosewood fretboard features a 15,75″ (400mm) radius, which makes it pretty much effortless to play, if you consider the jumbo-sized frets. Neck thickness starts at 18mm and reaches 20mm at the 12th fret, but this is a well-known standard for a lot of guitar necks these days.
Passive AlNiCo humbuckers
From all the companies producing their own pickup models, I was always impressed with what Ibanez came up with for most of their electric guitars. If I had to guess I would say that most of the humbuckers are inspired by DiMarzio models, as they sound very clean and transparent to my ears.
The Ibanez RG721RW features two Ibanez CAP-VM humbuckers, and while I really like how the neck pickup sounds, I swapped the bridge pickup with a BKP Aftermath that I still had in storage. The combination of both however sounds beautiful.
The 5-way pickup selector offers a couple of interesting sounds, which also include combined singlecoil flavors and a serial wiring of the neck humbucker. Depending on the pickups you might install at a later point, the Ibanez RG721RW is able to cover a wide array of sounds.
Tight & Low
My favorite feature of the RG721RW is the so called “Tight-End R” bridge. My long time #1 guitar bridge was the Schaller Hannes, which is light and comfortable, but need a lot of modification to fit into the guitar. You literally have to build the guitar around the bridge.
But the Tight-End R bridge has the same low profile, which makes it easy to control muted chords or singlenotes. After adjusting the bridge to your string gauges and setting action and intonation, you can lock saddles into the base plate to maximize the vibration that is transmitted to the body. On top of that, once locked, the saddles never move or shake, no matter how aggressive your playing is.
Lightweight case & one tool that does it all
The Ibanez RG721RW comes with a Premium Softcase, which is rectangular, very stiff and easy to carry. The only thing I would wish for are straps, so you could carry it like a gigbag. There is space for accessories inside the case and in the compartments on the outside. The Ibanez “Multitool” provides you with all the necessary screwdrivers and wrenches to adjust the RG721RW, but it also could adjust all your other instruments. It features 11 tools in a compact housing with easy access to each part, which comes in handy when time is tight.
If you are looking for a comfortable, easy-to-play rock/metal guitar in the 600-700 €($) range, you should give the Ibanez RG721RW a try. Not only will you receive a well crafted instrument with good hardware and stock pickups, you will also enjoy playing it a lot if you are comfortable with the neck shape.
If you like what I do and you’re also thinking to purchase the Ibanez RG721RW, you can support me by ordering it through the links provided below:
If you want to listen to the RG721RW, check out my Youtube video featuring Morgan Reid playing an awesome solo with his 7-string RG: