Originally Posted by Displaced Hokie
My first post will be to chime in here. I totally agree with this. I've been an Ibanez fan all my life, starting in the late 1980's when I dreamed of having an RG...Since it was a hardtail, it avoided any trem issues, which are where I feel the low end guitars suffer most.
So in the end...the low end guitars are a gateway to Ibanez and should get some respect.
What I wanted with an Ibanez was a Strat-style guitar that had evolved to offer me the 24 frets that I need, a neck joint that allowed access to the higher frets, and a much flatter fretboard radius.
The 2008-2011 RG120 (GC and MF only, now discontinued) has an incredible Wizard II 3 piece neck, an agathis (not basswood) body and the "dreaded" non-locking FAT10 or FAT20 trem...which is perfect for me.
The reason I have "dreaded" in quotes is that in my view, they are simply wonderful trems, coming from my world, that is.
If you are a former or present Strat player like me, and are well experienced in setting up a non-locking 2 point trem such as these (which function essentially the same as a Strat trem), these guitars need only one thing: a GraphTech Tusq simulated bone, teflon impregnated nut to replace the cheap stock plastic nut.
Obviously pickups and tuners are replaceable but I get along ok with the INF 3 and INF 4 pups, though they will be swapped eventually. Tuners are perfectly acceptable in the short term, and as I said, are easily replaced.
Through trial and error with GraphTech we have found the PRECISE $15 nut that is a perfect drop-in replacement. The string slots, the nut height- EVERYTHING is a perfect drop-in. Zero work involved.
I use 4 claw springs and deck the trem, as I do on a Strat, making the trem a dive-only affair. If you tune using the Frudua tuning system, and replace that nut, you will find that the RG120 holds intonation as well if not better than a similarly set up decked "dive-only" Strat.
I have found my "perfect" guitar with the RG120 with the nut change, the decked (not blocked) dive-only trem and the use of the Frudua tuning system which changes people's view and experience forever when it comes to non-locking trems.
These 2004-2011 120's are Indonesian made and are incredible. The neck profile of these specific Wizard II necks is different- a bit more substantial, which I like. Ultra stable, with the 3 piece costruction, silky smooth. Immaculate fret work. I bought a bunch of them in January 2012 when GC was blowing them out at $120 brand new (in-store only).
These are the answer to my quest for a non-locking (think Ernie Ball/ Music Man/ Petrucci) Ibanez RG with a 2 point Strat-style trem and 24 jumbo frets that are truly accessible. I love the AANJ.
Speaking of the Ernie Ball/ Music Man guitars- I prefer these RG120's with the set up I describe, because of the amazing Wizard II neck. Nothing can touch this neck, IMO.
For those interested, here is the Frudua non-locking trem tuning approach. Note: he works with either a decked or floating trem; as stated, I go decked, all the way. Dives and subtle drop-only vibrato are all I need, and the bridge plate flush against guitar body gives me far better stability and sustain.
Who would have thought the RG120 would be the perfect guitar? 3 things required to make that happen:
1. MUST be post 2008 ( the earlier MIK 120's had 1 piece necks with scarf joint and different neck profile- NO.
2. MUST come from the world of Strat style trems, and have an understanding of how to properly set them up.
3. Which is found HERE- he is talking about a 6 screw Strat trem but it works even better on a 2 point such as what we find on the 120: