Notable for their playability, quality, and comfort, Japanese Ibanez guitars have been a huge staple in rock music since the 1980’s. We’ve reviewed plenty of these guitars, such as the stunning S6521Q Prestige. Today, we’re looking at the unique, RG657MSK.


  • Silky Oak Top w/ Cream Binding
  • Mahogany Body
  • Bound Birdseye Maple Fretboard
  • Super Wizard HP 5pc Maple/Walnut Neck
  • 24  Jumbo Frets 
  • Edge Tremolo Bridge
  • Dimarzio Air Norton/True Velvet/Tone Zone Pickups
  • Cosmo Black Hardware
  • Gotoh MG-T Locking Machine Heads
  • 1x Vol/1x Tone/5-Way Pickup Selector
  • 17” Fretboard Radius
  • 25.5” Scale Length

Ibanez pretty much blew us away at the Winter Namm show with the insane selection of guitars, such as the ridiculously spec’d RG6PCMLTD, each one more beautiful than the last. The RG657MSK is no exception and was actually one of the better-looking guitars at the Ibanez booth this year.

The unique Silky Oak Top has a lot of subtle figuring that isn’t as eye-catching as Flamed/Quilted tops but provides a different look that helps it to stand out in a crowd. The aesthetic of this guitar is pretty much on point. From the Sunset Burst to the Maple Fretboard, everything comes together to make a very classy instrument.



As we cover in our Tone Wood Guide, Mahogany bodies paired with bolt-on Maple necks lends themselves to a warm, yet tight sound. It’s a classic combination because the bolt-on neck joint helps to add some snap to the attack of the otherwise darker Mahogany sound.

Ibanez went with a Tone Zone bridge pickup in this model, which we have been seeing in a lot of Prestiges recently. It’s got a really thick low end that does wonders for single note runs. It has a ton of punch and was absolutely made with shredders like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai in mind, but does tend to lose a bit of clarity for big chords.

Tha Air Norton Neck pickup is really tight and fairs well for mid-gain tones. It pairs well with the beefier bridge pickup, by adding a jazzier element to the guitar.

When you need to clean up chord playing, use a mixture of the middle, True Velvet, pickup with the Tone Zone and you get a really deep sound that ditches some of the low-end of the bridge pickup and adds some clarity.

This guitar would definitely suit most rock genres well, and even maybe a bit of the metal world if you don’t mind a warmer sound.

Build Quality:

This guitar was built just about how I’d expect (it’s a Japanese Ibanez for crying out loud). It had amazing fretwork, a smooth and thin neck, and a lightweight body that hugs the player well.

The Wizard HP neck profile obviously isn’t for everyone, but for a shredder, it’s a wonderful thing.

I did, in fact, notice that the tone pot was a bit loose. It’s not such a big deal and small issues like this sometimes sneak past manufacturers. I would prefer to receive a model with zero issues, but at least it’s easily fixable! Luckily, if you order from us, we do Expert Quality Inspection on every guitar that comes in!

Final Verdict:

The RG657MSK is a stunning guitar to look at and quite fun to play. The most notable features we enjoyed were the unique top, beautiful aesthetic, and the smooth neck. It would sit well with any guitarist looking to play in the realm of rock music. If you are looking for something made a bit more for heavy tones, check out the RG6UCS!

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

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