Welcome to the Wired Guitarist Ibanez RG852MPB review!

Ibanez have always done a great job of serving the extended-range guitar crowd. They released the first production 7 string (Universe), as well as the RG2228, the world’s first production 8 string. Both are Japanese and fantastic models!

Lately, Ibanez has been trying to release guitars with even more features that modern guitarists demand, and the RG852MPB is no different.

Let’s see if it’s worthy of Ibanez’s ERG legacy!


RG852MPB Specs:

Basswood Body
Poplar Burl Top
Wizard Ultra-8 Profile 5-piece Maple/Wenge Neck
Birdseye Maple Fretboard
All Access Neck Joint Bolt On Neck Construction
17″ Radius
27” Scale Length
24 Jumbo Frets with Prestige Fret End Treatment
Gibraltar-II 8 Bridge
Gotoh Magnum Lock tuners
Cosmo Black Hardware
Dimarzio PAF 8 Pickups
1xVolume, 1xTone Controls
5-way lever pickup switch (Series, Parallel, and Split, hum cancelling in all positions)
Transparent Ghost Fleet Blue Burst

A lot of these specs are more applicable to tone, so I’ll go over things like the body wood and scale length later in the tone section!

I always thought that the Ultra profile was good with ERGs, and on this 8 string that really proves true. It provides a really balanced feel for chording, single note passages, and a wide variety of other techniques. This is awesome since 8 string are used for a wide variety of styles.

I always loved the Gibraltar bridges that were used on Ibanez models. Some people did have complaints about the bulkiness of the first iteration (I personally don’t see the problem), but the II definitely addressed any of those issues, and is stable with a wide intonation range.

Two features found on most Ibanez models: Cosmo Black hardware and the All Access Neck Joint are welcome as always.


27” is my favorite scale length for 8 strings. It’s the perfect point of balance. You can’t go longer without adversely affecting the tone of the high strings or inhibiting playability, and any shorter is not feasible for low-string clarity.

Basswood is a great choice for 8 strings because it keeps the guitar reasonable lightweight and is very balanced. A lot of players think “This guitar is going to be super brutal for metal, so let’s use a thick sounding wood like mahogany,” and while that works out sometimes, it’s a bit prone to becoming muddy.

PAF 8s are very well balanced, and like the 7s are voiced very differently from the PAF Pros. They can do almost every genre competently, though I will say for extreme gain swapping to some Bare Knuckles or Lundgrens may be in order.

The baritone scale lends this guitar a lot of punch, which makes crunchy split position tones very lively. These are very popular in progressive music right now, and are one of my favorite styles to play on an 8 string, especially if (you’re better than me and) you use a lot of thumping and slapping.

Build Quality:

I would honestly just copy/paste this section for Japanese Ibanezes if it wouldn’t make me feel so lazy (maybe I did?! Read more of our reviews to find out!) because: yes. They are that consistent.

Made in Japan Ibanezes have been an industry standard for value for 30 years. The perfect overlap between cost-effectiveness and high end quality. There are in fact guitars with slightly better fit and finish, though they cost 2-3 times as much.

As a long time lover of many of extreme high end brands such as Mayones, I still wind up owning and playing Ibanezes more frequently than almost any other brand. You won’t find any amateur flaws on these guitars.

What I will note is the finish quality, given the unique nature of this guitar. The burl look is something that’s very popular in boutique circles right now, and unfortunately many of them do not execute that well. It’s awesome of Ibanez to care to fans of this look, because their finish work is extremely competent.

While the look isn’t going to be loved by everybody: the blue is very clear, and combined with the figuring, almost looks like looking down on a coral reef.

Final Verdict:

Though they have been used for some time, 8 string guitars are still readily classifiable as new territory for the instrument. They’re seeing more use in popular music, and are being produced my more companies, but many of them are really subpar attempts.

Getting a super cheap, low quality 8 string is great to find out if you like it, and lots of awesome boutique luthiers such as Mayones make extremely high end custom ones, but where does that leave experienced players without $4,000 to spend that need a serious instrument?

My go to answer will always be a Japanese Ibanez. Given the price range, they really dominate in value, and the RG852MPB has even more features 8 string players want like hardtail bridges and a spacey aesthetic.

For the ultra-brutal, a pickup swap may be preferable, but external of that there’s not much that can really be improved on this instrument.

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


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