Partially thanks to Meshuggah and Animals as Leaders, 8-string guitars have become a bit more popular among metalheads around the world. With guitarists such as Tosin Abasi doing things that have never been seen before, it’s no wonder that guitarists are looking to branch out and try new techniques.

Unfortunately, buying and learning a new instrument (or adding 2 strings to one you already know) can be a bit expensive, and branching out to an 8-string guitar that you aren’t sure you will love is a bit of a risk for some players on a budget. Luckily, Ibanez has recognized this and gave us the affordable Ibanez RG8.

Let’s take a look at this thing and see how what it’s all about!


– Mahogany Body

–Wizard II-8 5pc Maple/Walnut neck

– Rosewood Fretboard

– 24 Jumbo Frets

– Ibanez Fixed Bridge

– 1xVol/1xTone/3-Way Selector

–  27″ Scale

– 15.7″ Radius

– IBZ-8 Pickups

Feature-wise, this guitar is definitely a what-you-see is what-you-get kind of instrument. It’s super basic with minimal features and is meant to be an entry-level 8-string guitar. Thankfully, Ibanez have realized that if you are first picking up an 8-string guitar, you’ve probably had some guitar playing experience and aren’t looking for something as cheap as a GIO or other cheap-o beginner guitar. The RG-8 still has some reasonably good quality hardware and playability!

The bridge is actually comfortable and holds up well, but it does look fairly cheap. The tuners actually held this guitar in tuning really well. I’d probably still upgrade to locking tuners, because I am a snob and always do, but honestly, if you aren’t looking to spend any extra money upgrading, then these tuners really got the job done. They did start to go flat after some extended playing, but for a $400 guitar tuned to Drop F, I was impressed.

The neck is the best part. I’m pretty much a 6-string player and it always takes me a bit of time to adjust to 8-string (even sometimes 7-string) necks. With this one I was pretty much able to jump right in and jam comfortably.


Honestly, the RG8 has a reasonably balanced sound that I was fairly happy with. The mixture of the Mahogany body and the IBZ-8 pickups create a really warm tone with a present midrange, although, it took a bit of amp-side tweaking to get the highs to come through. It handles low tunings quite well, but a ton of distortion can get them too muddy.

The cleans were actually fairly usable and smooth, especially on the neck pickup.

Overall, this guitar would fair well for death metal, and prog styles reasonably well. Like I said, it took a bit of tweaking to get the highs to shine through so that leads could cut through the mix, but rhythm playing and simple chords sounded quite thick and beefy.

Build Quality:

This guitar definitely had a couple of faults, but there were a couple of things I was surprised by as well!

I’ll start with the good!

The neck was really solid and the pocket was well cut. All of the hardware, especially the tuners, felt and looked great (except the cheap looking bridge). The pots were super smooth, I usually expect scratchy pots in this price range. The finish was also great! I mean, it was just solid black, but there were no finish issues or scratching/bubbling on the body.

Now for the not so good..

There were two sharp fret ends. It wouldn’t be a deal breaker if I were looking for a cheap 8-string, but it’s still not so nice to get poorly cut frets.

Overall I was fairly satisfied, but it definitely loses a few points for the fret ends.

(Luckily, if you want this guitar and buy from us, we include our Free Guitar Enhancement Package and Expert Quality Check, so you won’t have to worry about getting any guitars with issues!)

Final Verdict:

The Ibanez RG8 is a super affordable, 8-string guitar that delivers most of what I expected it to do.

It has a reasonably good set of pickups, solid hardware, and plays really well! A good setup and maybe a pickup swap (if you want a bit better sound) could turn this into a solid guitar for the money. If you’re looking for an entry-level 8-string to expand your chops, this would probably be the best place to start!


Don’t forget! We are authorized Ibanez dealers, and can set you up with the Ibanez you’re looking for at the best price possible.

We also hope you enjoyed this review. Besides reviews, we write a lot of technical articles, theory pieces, and more! Click here to find those!

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

About The Author