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Ibanez RGA121

5pc Wizard Presitge neck - Mahogany body/Maple top - Jumbo frets - Gibraltar Plus bridge - IBZ V7 (neck) - IBZ V8 (bridge) - Finish: Violin Flat

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I'm in love! featured

Sound These guitars sound absolutely amazing, after you replace the awful pickups that come stock. Those pickups sound like you made a super nice guitar and your happy with it and then you say "Stuff it, I'm done just throw random pick ups in there"
Now that I got those pups out it sounds amazing. The body wood is great. There is something about mahogany with a maple top that just screams shred. The tone is very rich. It works for every genre. This is my main guitar and i use it for every thing. I play Jazz Rock Shred Metal and Death Metal and it sounds great for all of them. Some guitars work well for most but are only great for one, not this baby. You could play something that sounds really pretty and nice and then just hit your footswitch and scare young children with your metalness. You can shred on this thing and melt faces then switch it up and throw in some jazz and it will still sound great. This isn't a triple threat its a however many genres you play threat. It sounds amazing.

Action, Fit, & Finish Bought it second hand but the action is amazing. Only problem is the placement of that volume knob. You can be playing and you'll really get in to it then you realize you turned yourself down almost all the way or vice versa.

Reliability & Durability I've brought this guitar to almost every gig in the last three years that I've had it with out a backup and I've gotta say, I've never had a problem. The only thing that wears off is the finish on the bridge and the knobs, I think it gives it character and actually looks better.

Customer Support Never had to

Liked about it 1 Neck: the neck on this baby is astonishing, it is so fast.
2 Looks: it is so simple but so beautiful.
3 Wood Choice: shredtastic

Didn't like 1 Knob Placement: this is just awful, i hate where they put the volume knob on ibanez guitars.
2 Pick Ups: WHHHHYYYYY????!!!!!

Overall satisfaction:

By AbeFreshwater
Aug 04, 2010
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Great Playing, Great Looking. Okay Sounding featured

Sound The Ibanez RGA121 is a fairly simple guitar - simple body design, fast neck, hard tail bridge, one tone knob, one volume knob and a 5-way switch. Unfortunately, there's not much standing out in the way of sound either, with the initial setup that is. The RGA121 comes with Ibanez's custom V series pickups and they truly are terrible. In fact they are so terrible it's criminal that Ibanez uses them considering the price of this guitar. Luckily changing out the pickups is as simply as desolder/resoldering them with better ones. Once I slapped a Dimarzio Breed in the neck position and a Dimarzio X2N in the bridge the guitar really became something to be happy about. The 5-way switch allows for coil-splitting combo, and having a pickup that has a great split sound, like the X2N, really helps enhance the available tones.

I should mention that if you buy this guitar and intend to put in better CTS pots, or any American size parts, you will have to perform slight physical alterations to the guitar because this axe is made in Japan and therefore uses metric sizing.

Sound: (default) 5/10 (after pickup change) 8/10

Action, Fit, & Finish The guitar stands out specifically because of it's action. The neck on this thing is almost as thin as necks get, and it has jumbo frets so you can really get a tight action with fast playability.

Having a hard tail on a shredder's guitar is a rare but great thing. Ibanez has actually made more than one version of the RGA121 and they are all pretty different. The original versions came in not only different colors but had a unique bridge. Unfortunately the old bridge had several issues. One issue I experienced was that I was unable to fit any strings into the saddles that were over 56 gauge, and even with 56 I had to use pliers to force it in there. Most people don't use gauges that high but it's a potential problem for some. Another problem I experienced is that with lower tunings the low E saddle could not be moved back far enough for proper intonation, and that's a major problem. Lastly, and I don't know if this is from the bridge specifically, my RGA121 had terrible sustain. I actually sent the guitar to an Ibanez repair place to have them check to see why the sustain was so bad and they ended up keeping the guitar and simply refunding me my money. Bizarre move by them but I found out why later - Ibanez cut the production of that particular version of the RGA121 and now produce the versions you see on their site. The new RGA121s have a completely reworked bridge, which one could assume fixes the issues I mentioned earlier.

As for the finish, well my RGA121 was in natural so there wasn't any finish. I like natural finishes, they not only look good but when you start damaging the guitar from buckle rash and general wear & tear you tend to care less than if the guitar has a beautiful full finish. The maple top wasn't especially well book-matched but at this price range it's hard to find top quality tops.

Action and Finish: 8/10

Reliability & Durability The RGA121 is build about as solidly and simplistically as a guitar gets so there's no reason to worry about it. I guess I could say that the grey powder coat type finish on the bridge is not durable since it wears off very quickly as you rub it with your palm. I suppose one should also be more careful with a thin necked guitar since it simply doesn't have the strength of a thick necked guitar. You shouldn't, say, hang a thin necked guitar on the wall by it's neck since the body acts as enough of a weight to flex the neck so every time you take the guitar down to play it you will have to tune it at least twice in the first 10 minutes you play it.

Reliability & Durability: 7.5/10

Customer Support Ibanez has pretty decent customer support. They answer e-mails fairly quickly, for a large corporation. They will also take care of you quite well if your guitar is under warranty. Just hope they don't keep your guitar without asking if you send it to them ;)

Customer Support 8/10

Liked about it Top three things I liked about the RGA121

1)Super thin neck.
2)Not too expensive for a great shred guitar (especially used).
3)Comfortable, small-ish body.

Didn't like Top three things I didn't like about the RGA121

1)Garbage default pickups
2)Bridge issues (with the original bridge version)
3)Hmm... didn't come with locking tuners? I don't know, this guitar is too straight forward to have much to complain about.

Overall satisfaction:

By Johnny Two Tone
Jan 16, 2010
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Upgrade the pickups and you have a superb instrument!

Sound I brought this guitar brand new with the stock V7/V8 pickups but swapped them out for an Evo2 and PAF Joe without even playing it through an amp first. I've had a few guitars with the V7/V8 combo in the past and while they're average stock pickups, a guitar such as this really deserves better. So I can't comment on the un-adultered sound of the guitar. To be honest, I don't mind that it comes with crap pickups, because pickup selection is so subjective - even if it had better stock pickups I would still have replaced them to get the sound that I'm after, so I saw the guitar as a bit of a blank canvas in that regard.

I play in a rock band which borders on metal at times, so I was after something which could handle high gain, but also give me nice, deep clean sounds. I really feel like this guitar (with the DiMarzios I put in) can deliver both in spades. The mahogany body has nice warmth to it, which works brilliantly with the DiMarzios. I have noticed the Gibraltar Plus bridge gets a bit of criticism for not having much contact with the body, but I find this isn't a problem at all. You get plenty of tone and sustain (with the right pickups of course). I would say you still get all the benefits of the 'fixed bridge tone.'

I run this through a Peavey JSX halfstack with a few pedals, but I use the amp's built-in distortion.

In summary, this guitar gives me the perfect tone I need as a rock/metal guitarist (with new pickups). I assume anyone who is really serious about their tone would upgrade the poor V7/V8 pickups.

RGA121H CDO 7.jpg

Action, Fit, & Finish Excellent craftmanship, as you would expect from any Ibanez Prestige guitar. Completely flawless finish on the body - my one is CDO or Crushed Deep Ocean which looks amazing under lights. You really need to see it to appreciate it, the Ibanez stock images make it look greener than it is. The finish does not seem to chip easily, which I believe is helped by the lack of sharp corners on this guitar.

The neck is absolutely sublime. I lowered the action slightly but did not need to play with the truss rod at all to get my perfect setup. Prestige necks are in a league of their own, and I prefer the width of the Wizard neck over the Wizard II - it just feels like I have a little more control.

Reliability & Durability Haven't had any issues, but the guitar is still very new. Still, it is a very solid and (relatively) simple instrument. As I've said above, the finish seems very strong (even compared to my other Ibanez guitars) and I would expect it to age well. I would not be afraid to gig without a backup - I've been doing it for years with my RGA321 and all you need to worry about is snapping strings. It would be very easy to change in a hurry with the Gibraltar Plus bridge too. In saying that, I have never broken a string on either of my RGAs, and I believe this is largely due to the smooth edges on the bridge.

I would recommend getting straplocks put on, but to be fair the strap pins supplied by Ibanez have very wide heads and would probably be very very safe with most straps.

Customer Support Haven't needed customer support. On any of my Ibanez guitars.

Liked about it (1) The prestige neck - so smooth and fast.
(2) The Gibraltar Plus bridge - simple, solid and gives good tone - great for gigging.
(3) The CDO finish - there are lots of other great finishes on the RGA121 available too.

Didn't like The stock pickups - get rid of them immediately. That is honestly the only fault I can think of; I've given it 5 stars based on the assumption that you will spend a little bit more to make the guitar as good as it can be.

Overall satisfaction:

By steadyhands
Mar 01, 2011
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Great guitar, why did you discontinue it Ibanez?

Sound First "THE BAD", the stock p'ups are garbage. I still have the stock V7/V8 in mine. I'm trying to figure out if I should put The Breed p'ups I took out of my JEM7DBK or Tone Zone/Air Norton that I have - I'll probably end up trying both. Anyhooooo, I can't give rave reviews of the sound as I really dislike the V7/V8 combo. They're very... very... just, "ew" sounding. Very thin and empty. I guess they're okay if you're going very clean, but any kind of distortion/gain and the "ew" just comes through.

Action, Fit, & Finish Now "THE GOOD", well put together guitar. I have the CDR (Crashed Dark Ruby) which was my least favorite of the finishes, but the color has grown on me (my wife LOVES it). I just got such a sweet deal on a NOS that I had to take it regardless of color. One of the most well put together Prestige guitars I have owned. The neck is really nice and thin for a stop tail guitar, the best actually. The Gibralter Plus bridge is nice, it's not a Tight End, but it's very good. Great 5-way switch, as always. The guitar came to me nicely setup, but needed some attention. Ibanez usually sends out a pretty nice guitar.

Reliability & Durability You thought this was going to be "UGLY." Don't have much to say about it here though. I have never gigged the guitar, but seems like a durable finish. I've played it a lot at home and there is no wear on the bridge. If I had to guess I would say this is one of the most durable Ibanez guitars.

Customer Support n/a

Liked about it 1) an Ibanez stop tail.
2) the Arch Top is really nice.
3) the bridge is nice, but could have been a Tight End
4) Really starting to like the color

Didn't like 1) Stock p'ups need much improvement if you want a 5* rating
2) Tight End bridge would have been better

Overall satisfaction:

By DrewIvy
Jul 16, 2010
Last updated: September 02, 2010
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RGA 121= Simply Astonishing!

Sound This guitar is very bright sounding acoustically and through an amp. The pickups were changed out to a Seymour Duncan Dimebucker in the bridge and JB in the neck, so i can't say as to how the V8 and V7 sound... This guitar responds perfect to every note you play; i've never played anything like it (except for the original RG series).
I've had 10-46's and 9-42's on this guitar and it really delivers.

Action, Fit, & Finish The guitar came pretty well setup from the store i got it at,(Bob's Guitars in Iowa). I took some decent time and got the neck to wicked low action(without any fret buzz or fretting out on the neck).

Reliability & Durability There weren't ANY manufacturing flaws except that the finish is easy to rub off on the bottom and back...

Customer Support never had to deal with 'em

Liked about it Everything

Didn't like The only flaw is that the finish on the back and sides rubs off somewhat.

Overall satisfaction:

By jemmaniac
Nov 06, 2009
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