I saw one of these in a local guitbox shop and thought it was custom. i dropped a deposit on it to find out it was a limited edition from namm. if you guys haven't seen it, it has a black pearloid vine and reversed headstock. check it out:
what are your thoughts on it? it's $350; not bad for a guitar with a vine
. if i follow through on the deal, i'm dropping a d-sonic and an AN in there, but i'm still skeptical. yay or nay?
You can pretty much disregard all the pretentious cliche's replying to your question. You don't need to spend thousands on a Steve Vai or Joe Satriani signature model guitar, but real guitar enthusiasts know that already. Play one of these first, then form your own educated opinion.
I was very curious about this model and finally found one in fantastic condition. I'm the 3rd owner, the 1st of which got it directly at NAMM in 2006 which was the only place it was available. He traded it to his roommate and then left it in the case for nearly a decade. I've played several Ibanez over the years and this one really spoke to me as any good guitar will do if it fits the owner.
Here are some thoughts on this model based on mine:
- "The inlays are cheap"
- Wrong. The skull, hands and part of the blade of the scythe are mother of pearl, the rest is pearloid. Conscientious luthiers and guitar shops use a mixture, or even all pearloid at this point because it saves abalone stocks rather than depleting the environment of a precious resource. As for the quality of the inlays, they are tight, well crafted and a gorgeous contrast between the real mother of pearl parts and pearloid parts. Half of the idiots in here probably have pearloid inlays and don't even know it. It's the Stevie Ray Vaughn effect, one person says something and the rest repeat it without actually knowing anything about it.
Whether you like the "Grim Reaper" design or not is personal choice. I dig it, a lot, not only because it's unique and you aren't going to find it on another guitar, but it's also very well crafted. The inlays aren't raised at all and the whole setup from the 24th to the 1st fret is tight.
- "The pickups are junk because they aren't real EMGs"
- Wrong. They were designed by EMG so they're essentially EMGs, just tweaked for this model of guitar. They have a great tight, chunky sound without overdoing the gain to where it sounds like tinfoil-sandpaper junk. Through a nice Marshall they scream and give the metal guitarist everything he or she needs. I wouldn't (and won't) change them for "real" EMGs because they are custom EMGs. This is a debate you'll run into with Gibson Les Paul fanboys who tell everyone the Epiphone Les Paul's aren't as good. Anyone who has played a newer Epiphone knows those guitars are well-constructed and sound fantastic, as good as any Gibson Les Paul. Guess why? They are Gibson Les Paul's made overseas. Yup, that's the only difference.
- "The guitar looks cheap and probably plays like crap"
- Wrong. Looks cheap? Great opinion based on nothing. The solid mahogany body weighs a ton and the paint-job is gorgeous. The gold swirls are very well done all over giving this guitar a really unique look that goes well with the fretboard. The neck is as good as any Ibanez (because it is an Ibanez!) and the action is as smooth and fast as any Ibanez out there.
- "I bought one used and it sucked"
- Bad luck. I bought one that's 14 years old in near mint condition and it's in fantastic shape. Buying anything used is a roll of the dice, not everyone wins.
- "The Ex1 version is the same without the Grim Reaper and scythe, just the vine"
- Sort of. The Ex1 has the same overall hardware setup but the fretboard has a pearloid barbed wire design from 24th to 1st frets instead of a vine. It's not nearly as nice as the mixed Grim Reaper and vine inlays on the Ex2.
Overall the guitar is very well constructed right along the lines of any RG 500 series model, and to top it off it's a great, unique collector's item. It was rare 10 years ago, it's even more so now. You simply won't find this model available for sale anywhere at this point. The last two I saw for sale anywhere the owners had already swapped out original parts ruining the value of the guitar. The chances of you walking into a guitar shop and finding one hanging on the wall are pretty much slim and none. Like Chuck Schuldiner's B.C. Rich Stealth, the Ibanez RGR 521 Ex2 has become a rarity and a neat, great sounding collector's item.
I wouldn't worry too much about impressing anyone on this forum. As with any guitar test drive it yourself and see what you think, not that you'll find this one in mint condition anywhere. I imagine that's what fueled most of the hatred for this model on this thread.
IMO it's a fantastic collector's item to add to your guitar collection if you can find one.