Ibanez RGAIX6FM Review – Worthy of the RGA Name? WiredGuitarist April 11, 2016 Articles, Ibanez Guitar Reviews, Reviews Ibanez RGAIX6FM Review We all miss the original Ibanez RGA lineup, with their aggressive carved top look, thick mahogany tone, and simple hardtail bridge. Everything came together beautifully and just worked like it should. When Ibanez announced these new models, reactions were mixed. Would the Iron Label series RGA be able to stand up to the original Prestige models? For a long time, it made sense to just buy a used Japanese made RGA, but in recent years, the used Japanese crafted RGAs have skyrocketed in value, making them less of an appealing deal to buy on the used market. This makes the RGAIX a much more sensible buy if you’re in the market for an Ibanez RGA. Features: RGAIX6FM Specs: Natural Mahogany Body Flamed Maple top with Transparent Grey Finish 3-Piece Nitro Wizard Maple and Bubinga Neck with Ebony Fretboard White Body, Headstock & Fretboard Binding 25.5” Scale Length 16” Fretboard Radius All Access Neck Joint Bolt On Neck Construction Locking Tuners Gibraltar Standard-II Bridge 24 Jumbo Frets Black Hardware Dimarzio Fusion Edge Pickups 1xVolume Control 3-way Blade Switch Coil Split Mini-Toggle Satin Neck Finish The specs on this are definitely more modern than the more rugged old prestige RGAs. It’s awesome having a flame top with a trans finish, and the binding keeps everything classy all the way around. The front is very stealthed-out, while the back has an awesome rich mahogany and maple aesthetic. Any time you see an ebony board on a sub-$1000 guitar it’s a nice treat, and the cuts are nice and dark on these. I also like how the guitar isn’t overly heavy, they chose good pieces of mahogany for this line. As I mention in any other Ibanez review, the All Access Neck Joint (typically shortened to AANJ) is nice to have. Because it always is; it’s incredible and an industry standard both for tone and playabilty. The Gibraltar II is a great bridge. Some people complained about the original being too chunky, but I personally liked it. Regardless, Ibanez listened to the people and this guitar features a lower profile bridge for even comfier playing. It’s still stable, has good mass for a lot of sustain, and has a wide intonation range. It’s also cool to see locking tuners on a guitar this inexpensive. The 16” radius and Nitro Wizard neck make soloing, tapping, and single note passages a breeze, while not being too flat to inhibit chording. Tone: The pickups are amazing. Absolutely phenomenal for all genres. As a huge oldschool Ibanez nerd, I’m so excited to see them taking a page out of the Tilt Joint era’s playbook and having genuine USA-made Dimarzios designed and built specifically for Ibanez. They have great upper midsy saturation, are ceramic for fast bass response in metal playing, and clean up nicely. I couldn’t be happier with them. On top of that, Ibanez chose a 3 way with coil split on this model. This allows for more combinations than a traditional 5 way, and access to awesome mid-gain percussive tele tones that are super popular in progressive music right now. Even better, the wood choice for these is fantastic. Mahogany with a maple cap, and a bolt on (mostly) maple neck is very balanced, for punchy yet thick tone. Almost identical specs to my favorite Ibanez model of all time, the long-discontinued RG3120. Build Quality: As I described in my RGIF8 review, the Iron Label line is a stepping stone between Ibanez’s very inexpensive Indonesian guitars and the Prestige line, but with specs specifically designed for metal. They are held to a higher standard than a normal import and quality controlled more rigorously. Alignment is great, due to the rock solid (and easy to rout) Gibraltar bridge,and the tight AANJ neck pocket. Also due to the hardware being solid, the guitar is very stable and intonates well. As is the case with guitars in this price range, there will be small finish issues. I think it’s fair given that nothing impedes playability and you’re getting so many great features on this guitar. While all the frets are seated and crowned properly, I found one with a small ding in it that didn’t cause any buzz, which is the only functional error I could find. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the mini toggle functions well, a lot of those come barely soldered from the factory on other inexpensive guitars. Final Verdict: I really wanted to hate this guitar… In my eyes, Ibanez basically took one of my favorite guitars of all time, and then watered it down by producing it elsewhere and sticking some fancy specs on it. A lot of the early Iron Label series guitars were not great, they were riddled with issues, and they weren’t greatest deal. I can now confidently say that Ibanez has stepped it up, and the folks making these guitars have improved their craft considerably. This is a great, easy to use guitar for all genres. If you’re looking for a guitar with a dark, classy look, and the convenience of a hardtail bridge and locking tuners, look no further. The pickups sound great for everything, even moreso with the versatile switching that comes stock on these guitars, and at this pricepoint it’s even competitive with the used market. 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