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Ibanez RGA321F Electric Guitar Black Onyx

The Ibanez RGA321F is a flame-top instrument loaded with DiMarzio IBZ humbuckers-the unquestioned kings of gain. The RGA321F has a mahogany body with that outstanding flamed maple top, a 5-piece maple and walnut neck, a Gibraltar Plus fixed bridge, ...

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Sound Amp rig I'm basing this review on is a Cornford MK50II going through a Carvin Legacy 2x12, pedals are Xotic BB Preamp and a Boss DD-3. Strings are Ernie Ball Slinkys 9-46

The RGA321F is a very versatile guitar. And basically great.

This review is for the older blue model with the uncovered pickups and 5 way switch. My own style of playing is between Bluesy rock and Metal which this guitar will do just fine if you have the right amps. It will do your normal Les Paul config with the added bonuses of the two inner coils of the humbuckers ala the old Ibanez Petrucci which gives a thinner stratty attack. This is great for cleans or when you just want a sharper attack with a rolled back volume think Scarred by DT or a Paul Gilbert track Bliss where he rolls the vol back. The neck humbucker in parallel, well to me I never really use that position but it is good for clean just as the neck humbucker on full will start adding a bit of distortion to your clean sound however the sound of the pickup in parallel is rather bland, perfectly clean and balanced sound but lacking in a bit of character. On clean the volume jump between positions 2&4 versus 1 3 and 5 are considerable. It's not as noticable with a lot of gain but with cleans you really need to watch out.

The pickups are voiced more classic PAF there is a slight dullness or cotton wool feel to them over say Dimarzio equipped Ibanez's such as JS1000, Jem7VWH or PGM's with Tone Zones. In a straight swap out with a JS the RGA will sound a bit thin and not as musical yet in a swap out with a PGM301 the attack of the PGM is again sharper. These guitars are Basswood though so that needs to be taken into consideration.

As I own other guitars I kind of like the difference this guitar has. If it was my only guitar I would swap out the pickups for Dimarzio Tone Zones

Action, Fit, & Finish This guitar was bought used so I can't comment on the setup but the guitar came to me with no flaws so it was basically like just out of the box. Flame top on this guitar is blue and the bookmatching isn't that symetrical way where the flames line up perfectly this is more like when the bottom is dark the top is light, offset by one flame which I kind of like.

One strange thing with this guitar which is no fault of the guitar is when moving from an RG is that due to the arc top your forearm rests at a slightly different angle which can mess up your playing until you realise this is what it is.

Reliability & Durability I've owned this guitar for a few years and only last night the volume pot just suddenly siezed on however this can happen to any guitar

One issue with these guitars is the durability of the finish on the Bridge. This WILL wear away even if like me you don't sweat that much. A friend of mine has an RGA and he has worn the bridge to the copper or brass or whatever it is.

Customer Support I've owned about 20 Ibanez guitars over 20 years and never had to contacted the company.

Liked about it The guitar is great. Same neck as a PGM301 but with rosewood. Mahogany with a Blue flame top. Petrucci swichting can be had on this guitar. Changing strings is very easy on this guitar as you don't thread them through the body so none of that constant turning the guitar round

Didn't like I'm not too keen on the rosewood veneer on the headstock. I'd have prefered it to match the body or just plain black.
Finish of the cosmo coating on the bridge needs to be improved for the finish to last. This is a common complaint with these guitars.

That's about it on the dislikes.

If it had a reversed headstock, colour matched to the body it would be perfect that and available in 7 strings as well

Overall satisfaction:

By Pablo
Aug 04, 2009
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