The RGA is possibly the most iconic Ibanez model to the new generation of guitarists. Famously used by the likes of Misha Mansoor (Periphery, Haunted Shores) and JB Brubaker (August Burns Red), the elegant carve top and thick mahogany tone is perfect for modern metal.

Though the Japanese variants have been discontinued for some time, budget import models have remained popular. The newly-revamped Iron Label line even released some really cool RGAs! The RGA32 is interesting because it’s a new version of an older budget model with many spec changes!

Check out our Ibanez RGA32 Review below.


The full specs of the RGA32 are as follows:

  • Mahogany Body with RGA Carve
  • Ibanez Fixed Bridge
  • 1-Piece Maple Wizard III Neck
  • Rosewood Fretboard with Offset Dots
  • 24 Jumbo Frets
  • Direct Mount Ibanez Quantum Ceramic Humbuckers
  • 1 Vol /  1 Tone Controls
  • 5-Way Blade Switch
  • 25.5” Scale
  • Black Hardware
  • All Access Neck Joint Bolt On Construction
  • Weathered Black Top Finish
  • Natural Back and Sides

As you can see right off the bat, this is very different from the older RGA32. This has a lot of specs people frequently ask for. Offset dots and direct-mount pickups are almost universally loved, and are too often not offered on inexpensive instruments. As always, having the AANJ is great for shredding.

I really like the Weathered Black finish. It’s nice and smooth, leaves the grain open, and provides good contrast with the mahogany back and sides.

This is a 6 string variant of the bridge they use on the current RG7421, which I reviewed here. As I said in that review, while the bridge is far from revolutionary, it gets the job done with no complaints from me. I really like the hardtail-Strat style bridges because they’re comfortable and intonate easily.


Getting straight to the point: the Ibanez Quantum pickups are a huge and  welcome improvement from their older stock pickups, but this guitar could still benefit from a swap. Unlike the legendary fridge magnets that are Infinity pickups, these have reasonable cut for modern music, and the split positions are very usable, but you’re simply not going to get high end Bare Knuckle Pickup clarity or Seymour Duncan’s even saturation.

I think what this guitar really excels at are thick modern rock and metal rhythms and neck pickup solos. This is largely attributable to the mahogany that gives the tone a really nice body. The notch positions do squeaky cleans surprisingly well, which I think may also be due to the mahogany ensuring they have some weight to them.

The maple neck and bolt on construction give this guitar a lot of punch and some clarity as well. However, if you’re looking for really clinical, supremely-clear and tight prog metal tones, I’d definitely look at aftermarket pickups. If you have a nice overdrive or are doing a lot of post processing in a home recording situation, this is largely a non-issue, though. For mid-gain tones, a swap to a slightly more refined pickup would be nice.

Build Quality:

Ibanez has been killing it pretty consistently with their cheap instruments lately.

To be totally honest, you’re getting a way better guitar for $400 than you would get from a cheap import 10 years ago. Everything functional about this guitar is in great shape, and there are only minor imperfections.

Those minor imperfections include a small headstock ding and a screw for the backplate stripped from the factory (literally a 15 cent part). The fretwork isn’t perfect, but you can definitely get low action without buzz, and there aren’t any sharp frets to worry about. Overall it’s much better than many Chinese and South Korean imports’ fretwork. It puts many “boutique luthiers” who struggle with fret ends on their $2,000 guitars to shame.

The routing is especially clean, with no chewed up pickup cavities or fretboard edges. The electronics also sound clean and roll off very evenly, which is normally a problem on import guitars. Any other details would basically just be a checklist of everything they’ve done right! Neck pocket, bridge alignment, and running stability are all fantastic.

Final Verdict:

If I were looking at new guitars on a tight budget, this is what I would choose.

The aggressive meets classy aesthetic works for any situation, and with a pickup swap it can sound truly awesome. Although, to be fair, I was pretty hard on the pickups simply because there’s not anything wrong with the guitar. I’m tonally comparing it to 3-4 times more expensive instruments.

The build quality is definitely on par for a $400 instrument, and lacks simple inconsistencies seen on more expensive instruments.

Thanks for reading our Ibanez RGA32 review! Are you interested in this guitar or any other Ibanez?  Check out our Ibanez Selection!  We are happy to work with you and give you any advice you’d like before investing in a new instrument.


This article was written by Kyle Karich, our editor located in Florida.


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