Ibanez has always done an incredible job at serving the modern guitarist over the years. Adding amazing innovations, unique features, and awesome wood options that you wouldn’t normally see on a production line guitar are some of the things that Ibanez does great! Even more amazing, Ibanez manages to throw insane features on really affordable guitars, for guitarists looking for something unique without breaking the bank. What we’re going to look at today is the RG421PB, which offers a ton of neat stuff and keeps it around $400!

Without further ado, let’s take a look and see if it’s worth it!


– Mahogany

– Burled Poplar Top

– 24 Fret Rosewood Fretboard

– Wizard III Maple Neck

– Quantum Pickups

– Ibanez Fixed Bridge

– 5-Way Pickup Switch/1xVol/1xTone

The RG421PB’s first standout feature is the finish. For a $400 guitar, it’s really just super nice. The ‘Sapphire Blue’ is a nice light blue burst that accents the figuring on the poplar really well. The top alone makes the guitar look like it’s worth more than $400.

Instead of using a cheap-o crappy bolt-on plate, Ibanez manages to include their signature AANJ bolt-on style that you’d find on the higher end prestiges. While it’s obviously not as smooth as the Japanese Ibanez guitars, it’s a really comfy neck joint with great upper-fret access.

The bridge doesn’t look like anything great, it’s basically just a cheap Hipshot-style factory bridge from Ibanez. It does look sort of cheap in person, but it’s quite comfortable for what it is. I had no real issues playing with it.


You can basically think of this guitar as a solid Mahogany body and maple neck. The top is really too thin to make any sort of big tonal impact.

Overall, the mahogany offers a nice, healthy sustain for being on a cheaper, bolt-on guitar. It also resonates quite well and manages to give off a fat low end.

The pickups included are the Ibanez Quantum pickups. I’ll be totally honest. I’m kind of a gear snob and pretty much would have ripped these right out before trying them if this was my guitar. With that being said, trying the Quantum pickups was quite eye-opening. As mentioned in our article, “Do Your Pickups Suck?“, Ibanez manages to get some really usable pickups on some of these guitars now.

The Quantums have a really mid-heavy sound with a bunch of high end articulation. I found that they held on to clarity very well, even in lower tunings like drop C, for powerchord-style riffing and lead playing. They weren’t spectacular for jazzy chords and the like, but that’s okay because they do other things quite well.

Clean tones are really crystal clear and bright, I prefer a little bit of warmth for chordy clean sounds, but these were really good for those sparkly lead styles.

Overall, these would probably fare best in a Rock environment, but would be decently suited for Metal. I don’t think I would keep them for anything too extreme. I think Drop Z and the like would get quite muddy, and these probably wouldn’t hold up super well for Death Metal or Djent styles.

Build Quality:

Like I said before, I can be a bit of a snob, and I generally don’t expect too much from a $400 guitar.

This one was proven to be built quite well for the most part!

No obvious finish flaws on the front and all of the hardware was quite sound. There was actually a decent-sized scratch on the bridge, and I found a ding on the 8th fret. It didn’t cause any buzz or issues like that, but it looked quite nasty.

All of the electronics were really clean and had no issues with buzzy pots or anything!

I think the most exciting feature here is the super clean neck joint. I’ve played guitars that cost twice this price with far worse neck joints.

Final Verdict:

All-in-all, the RG421PB offers a really solid guitar with some unique appointments for the price. You don’t often see a Poplar Burl (with a gorgeous finish), a Hipshot-style bridge, and actually really decent pickups for $400.

This guitar would be really well served as a live workhorse and with a pickup swap, may even deserve a spot in some studio environments.

(Check out our new guide on replacing pickups if you are looking to do this!)

It wasn’t perfect, but it was far more than I’d expect from a guitar in this price range. If you are looking for something affordable that offers a lot of the same great features of a guitar that’s double it’s price, the RG421PB is definitely a great choice.


If you liked this article, check out more reviews! We are also authorized Ibanez dealers and can order any model they offer in any price range for you.

This article was written by Zac Buras, our editor located in Louisiana.

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