Best models for low tunings / help choosing next purchase - Jemsite
All Other Guitars (including Prestige) Discussion about other Ibanez Guitars not covered in the above topics. Includes J-Custom, USA-Custom, Prestige subforum.

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2020, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 25
Question Best models for low tunings / help choosing next purchase

I currently have three guitars (all Ibbys) that I really enjoy playing, but I constantly find myself wanting to play something in a tuning that none of them are set up for. Although I'm comfortable retuning, it takes up time that I would otherwise spend playing and often means changing string gauge (if I changed tuning as often as I want to, I'd be constantly throwing away strings that still have plenty of life left in them).

Adding a fixed bridge model to my collection would satisfy my needs, at least for the intermediate term, but tremolos would probably mean buying two more guitars.


As well as advice on what to buy, I'd also appreciate some advice on which of my current guitars is most suited for each tuning that I intend to use frequently (E, drop D, Eb, D, B & drop A) - this also affects my choice for the new guitar.


These are my current guitars, with details of the specs (see links), tunings and some examples of what I play:

S2170SE (DiMarzio/IBZ pups) - currently in E standard w/ 9 gauge (80s thrash, hard rock, traditional metal, prog)

RG2550Z (DiMarzio/IBZ pups) - currently in drop D w/ 9 gauge (mostly '90s rock & metal - think along the lines of Soundgarden, not nu-metal)

XPT700 (DiMarzio D Activators) - interchanged between Eb / D standard w/ 10 gauge (old school death metal, melodic death metal, European power metal)



What I'm missing is something to use in B standard and drop A, for bands like Amon Amarth and Carcass. The extent of adjustments required to switch a guitar to these low tunings is really impractical on a regular basis (13 gauge strings, trem screws, truss rod etc.).


Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2020, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 25
Re: Best models for low tunings / help choosing next purchase

Some additional comments:

I'm fairly happy with the tone and playability of all of my guitars in the tunings stated above. The DiMarzio/IBZ pickups are not optimal for any particular tone/style, but they are versatile and (at least to me) sound decent for pretty much any style E / drop D...I'm not sure whether they'd be tight enough or give the right tone for really low tunings though. The D Activators sound good in E standard, but really excel in D standard...again, I'm not confident they'd be as ideal in a much lower tuning - may well become muddy, especially as they're in a mahogany body. I find the S series most comfortable to play (sitting & standing), but assume an RG would be more optimal for death metal in low tunings (maybe I'm wrong?). I love the superior fret access of my neck-thru XPT700, but neck-thru only seems to be available for Premium / Iron Label models - I ideally want another Prestige.

I would not consider maple fretboards or the old-style neck joints (tilt joint?). Rosewood and neck-thru would be perfect, but ebony and AANJ are also more than OK.

A lot of the available Prestige RGs seem to have Air Norton / Tone Zone or Fusion Edge pickups. The more affordable fixed-bridge models seems to have ash bodies. I'm not sure how suitable any of these are for low tunings, without at least swapping out the pickups. I would happily pay extra (within reason) for something equipped with superior pickups, if required - e.g. BKP, Liquifire/Crunch Lab etc.

My budget is somewhat flexible, but I am looking for bang-for-buck. From a bit of scouting around online, Ibanez Prestige prices have gone up significantly since my last purchase, with the used market increasing by proportionately more than new. A slightly dinged Prestige goes for as much as a new Genesis. A mint / near mint Prestige goes for 90% of the new cost, even if it's 10+ years old (used to be more like 70%). J.Customs seems to have stayed at the same price, making them seem less unreasonable (but still expensive!).
To put it in context, in 2017 I bought my RG2550Z for 550, in mint condition. The seller drove several hundred miles to hand-deliver to me (included in the price). Today, for that price I'd struggle to get a similar model with multiple dings, scratches, considerable fret wear etc.
I have no objections to buying used instruments that are decades old, but I'm definitely not of the mindset that "well-played" guitars look cool or more authentic. I really look after my gear, so will only buy from people who do the same.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Today, 09:09 AM
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 8
Re: Best models for low tunings / help choosing next purchase

In my opinion a RGA121 would do the job
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Today, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 25
Re: Best models for low tunings / help choosing next purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kordowski View Post
In my opinion a RGA121 would do the job
Thanks for the suggestions. I had been searching for used RGs and S series...managed to overlook RGAs entirely.

Does an RGA feel much different to an RG?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Today, 09:22 AM
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 8
Re: Best models for low tunings / help choosing next purchase

Honestly not so much neck wise, but I feel they have a little bit more comfortable body. I had one but I really like trems so I sold it and bought another 2550 instead. Another difference is that the body is mahogany which sounds a little bit more nasal
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Today, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Devon, England
Posts: 25
Re: Best models for low tunings / help choosing next purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kordowski View Post
Honestly not so much neck wise, but I feel they have a little bit more comfortable body. I had one but I really like trems so I sold it and bought another 2550 instead. Another difference is that the body is mahogany which sounds a little bit more nasal
Sounds like it's somewhere between my comfortable, mahognay S series and my RG...both of which I love.


In your opinion, is basswood or mahogany more suited to low tunings?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Today, 09:36 AM
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 8
Re: Best models for low tunings / help choosing next purchase

I never thought about this but in general I prefer mahogany honestly, but basswood is great too
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