Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: A Mile High (USA)
The Mahogany RG321 that I played at NAMM felt absolutely NO different than the 2 Japanese RG421s that I've had. The neck was every bit as well-made as the 421s that I've played. Workmanship was certainly on-par. It's a simple guitar- there's not much room for difference.
Also, I don't recall hearing of anybody (on this site at least) that hasn't changed the pickups in their RG421, so the electronics are pretty irrelevant. With a street price of around $250 or less, the mahogany RG321 is pretty hard to beat.
Mahogany may not be "better" than basswood, but it is more expensive. That said, the standard basswood RG321 is $30 LESS than the mahogany one, so either way, the 321 is a better buy than a $400+ RG421. Even after you upgrade the electronics.
It's not as if either is ever going to a "collectible" guitar anyway. On these models at least, the difference between Japanese and Korean manufacture is a line that's nearly blurred into oblivion.