Ibanez rg350dx review
A Review by Sensible Jones.
RRP £330 (377 Euros)
Made in Korea.
Neck Material: 3pc Maple
Neck Type: Wizard II
Body: Basswood body
Frets: Jumbo frets
Fingerboard: Bound Rosewood
Inlay: Sharktooth inlay
Bridge: Edge III bridge
HW Color: Black
The first thing I noticed about this instrument when I initially purchased it was it's weight, weighing in at a fairly hefty 3.4kg (7.5lb) I will never be able to call this particular guitar a 'lightweight'!!!!
(Especially when compared to my Warmoth 'Sound chambered' Bodied Strat!!)
Having said that, the weight is evenly distributed and is comfortable whether seated or standing whilst playing.
Starting at the 'pointy end' we have 6 in-line Ibanez Tuning Pegs. These have a very smooth, if somewhat tight, action and no play in the gearing whatsoever but providing very stable tuning. Sitting just behind a String Tensioner Bar is a 3 Block Locking nut of standard design and bolted in from the back of the neck. (As per usual with Ibanez.)
At the 'Fat end' we have an INF3 pickup in the Neck position and an INF4 in the Bridge position with an INFS3 Single Coil in the centre position. I have replaced the neck Pickup with a Seymour Duncan SH-2n Jazz model and the bridge with a Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model Humbuckers.
The original switching option was as follows:-
At the moment I have omitted the Splitting options in positions 2 and 4, although I may well reinstate them when I replace the centre Pickup for a Dimarzio Steve Vai Signature Model!
Although the OS Pickups are of good quality the SD's are harmonically superior.
The Jazz in the Neck position is a classic, moderate output humbucker, not only particularly nice for Jazzy type clean tones but also country, blues, funk, classic rock and heavy rock. It has a slightly brighter tone with a more detailed treble response resulting in a very smooth sustain.
The JB in the bridge is a truly versatile pickup, ranging from Blues to Rock and everything in between! It features aggressive harmonics, and just the right blend of sustain and distortion. Goes from sweet warm tones to raw rock 'n' roll and is the recommended partner for the Jazz.
The INFS3 is a medium output Single Coil that functions exactly how you'd expect it to.
Plugged in this guitar handles everything from low Bedroom recording volumes to all out mayhem in Rehearsal Rooms and from clean to heavily distorted sounds with equal aplomb. The only criticism I have on this front is a slight hum in positions 2,3 and 4 but I think this is due to the omission of the Coil splitting option!
The Edge III bridge will take as much Dive-bombing abuse as you can throw at it and still remains in tune, making it one of the most stable tremolo units I have ever used!
Set up, fit and finish.
The Set up straight from the factory is remarkably good. The action to the fast, flat Neck is as low as possible without any Fret buzz making it a smooth and effortless affair. After the installation of the replacement pickups I did have to readjust the Edge III until I got the balance just right, but it's been absolutely stable ever since.
The fit of the neck is as tight as I've seen, even compared to some high-end Hand Built instruments! The Scratchplate hugs the edge of the Neck with no gaps anywhere.
The overall finish to this guitar is of a very high quality. The Tremolo rout is as clean as possible and all edges have been sanded back prior to spraying. The Rear cavity Cover-plate rout is perfectly executed in both size and depth with the Plate sitting absolutely flush to the back of the body when in place. There are no 'overspray' marks in the paint anywhere. The neck binding is also of a high quality with no problems of any part sitting proud of the fingerboard edge. The ends of the Frets are smooth and chamfered and well finished, as is the small black pinstripe around the edge of the headstock. The Rosewood Fingerboard has a wonderful grain which will become more stunning with age and wear. The Fret Markers are very nicely installed with no sharp protruding edges anywhere.
I have seen and played far more expensive instruments than this that have been finished to a much lesser degree.
My overall impression of this instrument is it's amazing value for money. It feels and looks like an instrument of much greater value. The finish is flawless and it's a tonally versatile tool, even with the original pickups! I can't find anything to criticise at all on it! High praise indeed when compared to some of my more expensive instruments which I can find faults with!
My biggest praise for this being:-
"Sensible, would you buy another one?"
"Hell yeah, in fact I'm already considering buying an EX Model in black!!!!"
--Sensible Jones 17:34, 12 September 2009 (CEST)