RG5121 Review and Comparison - Jemsite
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  • 1 Post By Frankhenrylee
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 191
RG5121 Review and Comparison

Sup metalheads!

Just picked up a used RG5121 and thought I'd offer up some opinions and comparisons.

I want to start with the neck profile. I have an Uppercut RG6UCS. Both guitars say they have Super Wizard HP's, but they are definitely not the same profile. I believe they have moved to a new profile as this one is similar to the RG5020M I played at GC. After playing the Uppercut and RG5121 back to back I can say without a doubt I like the new shape better. It's slightly meatier and has more of an elliptical shape than a D shape. The offset fret inlays and the luminous black ringed side dots make these fret markers the easiest to see out of any guitar I've tried.

In my opinion, the new neck profile and fret markers are a huge improvement over previous Prestige RG's. Unfortunately, the maple neck models still have barely visible fretboard inlays. I'm not sure if the new profile made it to the regular Prestige lineup, but hopefully it did.

With the fixed bridge, African mahogany body, and Fishman Fluence pickups, I expected a nicely resonant guitar with great sustain. I was surprised to find that it was only slightly more resonant than the bassword/LoPro equipped Uppercut and the sustain was about the same. My JS1600 is about three times louder unplugged and has a great unplugged tone. I was hoping for more of that tone with this one, but I guess I can't have everything I want. I assume the JS1600's thicker neck, different neck construction, and tilt joint have a lot to do with that. It seems the thin, stiff Super Wizard necks just aren't going to resonate as well.

I didn't find any significant improvement with the African mahogany fixed bridge combination over others, but I do prefer the tone of mahogany body guitars over basswood. I've yet to have an ash body, but I want to try one.

The Fishman pickups are fun. I was hoping for more versatility, but you just don't find metal pickups that do cleans well, so my hopes were a bit high. Fishman does seem to have some other offerings that may fill that request. I left my amp set the same as for my other guitars for initial testing. Voicing 1 is a nice balanced high gain and Voicing 2 is a darker slightly less gain, but still high gain. The cleans were acceptable, but left me wanting to see if I could coil split them. Chords ring out in a unique sort of hifi, holographic, layered way that sounds very cool. I found that lead work didn't make me want to move to the neck pickup like it does on some guitars. I could play the bridge pickup on voice 1 all day long. They also look completely BA, so they have that going for them as well.

These pickups do provide a significant improvement over stock. Whether or not they're your cup of tea is another story.

On one hand it's just a Prestige RG with Fishman pickups. But on the other, the new neck profile I find to be more comfortable and playable. It also has the best fret markings on any guitar I've seen which has been a complaint of mine. I really like it.

If I had any request, I'd say let's get that Frozen Ocean treatment in a Dark Tide Blue or some other more menacing color and offer a LoPro version with the Mahogany and Ebony.
Frankhenrylee is offline  
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: norfolk va
Posts: 170
My personal opinion is that all the various "tone woods" really have little if any effect on sustain. Sustain is a combination of how long the string maintains the vibration & the drop off point of the pickups sensitivity. The signal path from pick up to amp is also a factor.
snaggleyoda is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 07:54 AM
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 2
Re: RG5121 Review and Comparison

I have agree about the neck with the OP. I got an RGR5220M a month ago which I find really nice in my hands because of the neck. I think it's a bit beefier than the other wizard necks I have experience, including an HP wizard neck in an S series prestige I used to have. Not much difference but still...

In general, a good guitar but not flawless. Haven't heard too many comments on these new 5000 series guitars but it seems that they need a proper fret leveling right off the bat in order to achieve low or even medium
action without buzz. Maybe the SS frets play a role in the buzzing as they seem to have a certain zing in the sound which (maybe?) can cause some unwanted overtones. I've noticed this with an AZ, too, which now
plays fine with a little higher action than that I normally would have.

The neck pickup (Brute Force) seems to be quite sensitive about the height and it seems that keeping them "lower than one might expect" is better than closer to the strings, seems to affect sustain. BTW, the neck has a typical B string 14th fret overtone/ G 18th dead spot that to me is what HP wizard necks feature in general (at least the S that I sold), but it can be affected with the lower pickup height.
SirWancalot is offline  
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 191
Re: RG5121 Review and Comparison

Yeah, I wouldn't expect the body wood type to effect sustain, but I thought the fixed bridge and active pickups would have more than what the LoPro with passive pickups did. I do think it is slightly better, but it's not significant.

I played it some more last night and I will say those are some quiet pickups. Almost feels like I have a noise gate on. Will probably add the coil tap and/or swap out the neck for the Classic model.

I'll check the 14th fret B and 18th G and get back to you. I haven't noticed it on any of my Ibby's, but I'm not a great guitar player. I probably would've chalked it up to just not hitting the note well.
Frankhenrylee is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 191
Re: RG5121 Review and Comparison

So I did checked the 14th fret B and 18th fret G string and didn't detect any differences so perhaps this isn't something that is par for the course with Ibanez necks.

Also looked up a little about the Fishman Fluence Modern pickups. They can be coil tapped quite easily and they also have a gain selector on the bottom of the pickup. I'm going to be turning mine down cause right now they are really hot. I have other high gain passive pickups and these feel like they are twice as hot as those.

Did a tone comparison between the Uppercut with Bare Knuckle Aftermath's and the these while I was messing around with Amplitube4. Through my regular amp the tone is noticeably different, but on Amplitube4 it is significantly different. Amp4 is pretty dry so it seems to magnify the differences and playing mistakes. I find that the Aftermath's require significantly different amp settings to get to a tone I like with the Fishman's being easier to dial in. I'm not using the Aftermath's for the really low tunings they were designed for so they're at a bit of a disadvantage. Not saying the Fishman's are perfect. To my ear's they have too much gain and right now that is jacking with the clarity. Going to make an adjustment on the pickup and see what happens.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Today, 12:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 918
Re: RG5121 Review and Comparison

These reviews are appreciated. The 5000 series have not been discussed much.
Formerly Given To Fly is offline  


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