Review: Ibanez RGD3127 Prestige Seven-String Guitar
Although a few dozen companies collectively produce the several hundred different seven-string solidbody electric guitar models that fill the market today, Ibanez has had a head-start on all of them, thanks to being the first manufacturer to mass produce this type of instrument 27 years ago.
As a result, Ibanez is a good place to start when looking for a seven-string guitar, as they not only offer an impressively wide variety of choices but they’ve also refined their designs over the years, thanks to feedback from customers and their impressive artist roster.
The RGD3127, which is part of Ibanez’s made-in-Japan Prestige line, is a perfect example of a seven-string that combines familiar, classic features with new enhancements and details preferred by today’s seven-string specialists.
According to the company’s literature and website, Ibanez RGD series guitars are designed to be “the heaviest sounding metal axes ever built.” Add that to the Prestige line’s principles of “precision, performance and playability” and “combination of high-tech manufacturing techniques with old-world Japanese craftsmanship,” and the RGD3127 promises to be a serious instrument for players with the most exacting needs and preferences.
With its single master volume control knob, pair of DiMarzio Fusion Edge ceramic magnet passive humbucking pickups and three-way pickup selector switch, the RGD3127 may seem stripped-down and minimalist, but make no mistake—this is an upscale instrument built with exacting attention to detail, particularly when it comes to performance, playability and sound. The guitar equivalent of a Porsche Boxster Spyder, it trims unnecessary fat to maximize speed without sacrificing luxury appeal.
The bolt-on neck has a long 26.5-inch scale and is designed to be tuned down a whole step from standard tuning to (low to high) A-D-G-C-F-A-D using .059-.010 gauge strings. The neck features Ibanez’s Wizard-7 design with a slim but noticeably rounded profile, five-piece maple/wenge construction and KTS titanium reinforcements for rock-solid stability, birdseye maple fretboard, 24 jumbo frets with silky smooth Prestige fret edge treatment, 48mm nut width and 430mm radius.
The smooth, rounded neck heel and deeply scooped and contoured cutaways provide unimpeded playability all the way up the neck.
The RGD3127’s body is a lightweight slab of resonant basswood with a Pearl White Flat finish. Both sides of the bass bout are generously contoured for enhanced playing comfort. Hardware includes a precision-machined chrome-plated Lo-Pro Edge 7 tremolo bridge with locking studs and recessed fine tuners, locking nut, standard post Gotoh mini tuners and an angled, recessed output jack just below the lower-bout strap button.
From the neck profile’s comfortably rounded curvature to the body’s sleek contours and silky matte finish, the RGD3127 feels very sexy in the hands, enticing guitarists to play as soon as they pick it up.
The larger dimensions of the wider fretboard—due to the seven-string design and the longer scale—should be very easy for experienced six-string players to adapt to while also satisfying the preferences of seven-string specialists. The low A string sounds brilliant and percussive, with ample tension to allow tuning it down an additional step without sacrificing tone, attack or punch.
The DiMarzio Fusion Edge pickups are a revelation, delivering crisp, clean tones and outstanding note-to-note detail when pushed with high-gain distortion. The midrange is deliciously full-bodied; the bass offers ample twang and thump; and the treble is bell-like and shimmering. Overall the tone is big and ballsy, but with a hi-fi-like sheen and resonant, acoustic-like projection.
The RGD3127 may be designed for metal players and provides the aggressive tones to fit that bill, but jazz and progressive players also will find its tones equally impressive for any variety of applications.
LIST PRICE: $2,399.99
MANUFACTURER: Ibanez Guitars, Ibanez.com
● The 26.5-inch scale is designed for .059-.010 strings and tuning one whole step below standard at (low to high) A-D-G-C-F-A-D.
● A pair of DiMarzio Fusion Edge ceramic magnet humbucking pickups provide the ideal balance of body, punch and clarity.
THE BOTTOM LINE
With its extended 26.5-inch scale length, streamlined, stripped-down features and incredible playability, the Ibanez RGD3127 Prestige is the guitar equivalent of a high-performance rally racer built for speed and comfort while delivering a hell of a mighty roar.