Ibanez RG5120M Review

Short version: Looks great, weighs a ton, plays ok, sounds meh.

Long version:  It arrived this morning. When I took it out of the case I nearly dropped it because it was so heavy. That never bodes well for a lively tone and it didn’t here either, but we’ll come to that.

It’s truly a beautiful guitar to look at, almost too nice to take out. Lots of little details to catch the eye. You’d be very happy hanging it on your wall and just looking at it.

Build quality is ok but not outstanding – there are a few slightly misaligned holes which I discovered when setting it up. Out of the box the action and neck relief were spot on, but the intonation was atrocious: I had to adjust on 5 of the 6 strings. Once done it intonated very, very well along the whole neck length. Fretwork is very good but not perfect.

Strummed acoustically it has a soft attack and is not particularly loud. It has a gentle, rich sound that's quite pleasing to the ear. It is also quite stiff to play.

Plugging into a Yamaha THR10 it sounded pretty ‘hard’, with good string separation. Voice 2 sounded too bassy, voice 1 sounded better, but neither sounded really ‘alive’. The neck pickup in particular sounded a bit ‘forced’. I also have a Vintage V624 (don’t laugh, it’s a unbelievable guitar for the money) which I bought a few months back when I thought I’d test out if I wanted to start playing guitar again, and which has a set of Fender EVH pickups in, which are quite bassy pickups and therefore really suit bright thin sounding guitars (i.e. ones with Floyds or 2 point steel terms). Put bluntly the Vintage sounded much, much better.

I thought maybe the little Yamaha amp was to blame, although I think it’s a good at letting a guitar’s overall character to come through. Just in case it was, I dragged my ancient JMP2103 out of the garage and dusted it off. Surprisingly it fired up without a hitch, apart from a bit of a funny smell. Probably the burning corpse of a foolish mouse or bird that's made its home inside! This amp is 'the one'. Like when I met my wife for the first time I knew she was the one, the first time I heard this amp I felt that same thrill - a little bit of wee came out. It's a f*cking killer  and it leaves the tone of any guitar nowhere to hide.

At the risk of my relations with my lovely neighbours I plugged the Ibby in and wobbled through a few riffs, before swapping guitars and playing them again. The bottom line is the Ibanez is going back. I presume the fault is the pickups but I can’t be 100% sure. To try and sum up the differences the Fishmans sounded 2D whereas the EVHs sounded 3D. It wasn’t even close. The Fishmans maybe tracked pick attack a little more immediately but that was about all I could say in their favour. Such a disappointment. Thinking there might be something wrong I swapped the battery in the guitar for a brand new one, but it made no difference. I did try raising and lowering the heights but that didn't help either. That’s clearly how these pickups sound, and it’s a sound that’s not for me unfortunately.



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Comments

  • ennspekennspek Frets: 1507
    Excellent review.
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  • bananamanbananaman Frets: 180
    Thanks. Hopefully it can help someone else save themselves a bit of hassle and/or disappointment.
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  • kmgrkmgr Frets: 1
    bananaman said:
    I also have a Vintage V624 (don’t laugh, it’s a unbelievable guitar for the money)



    I am looking to buy my first electric guitar and I am interested in the V624. I couldn’t find a review anywhere. I’d appreciate your views on the guitar and if it is suitable for a complete beginner. Is the Floyd Rose going to be a headache? 

    Other guitars I am looking into are the Schecter C-6 Deluxe or the Yamaha Pacifica 120H or 112V.




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  • bananamanbananaman Frets: 180
    Sorry, for some reason I've only just seen this. My Vintage has the Wilkinson 2 point trem. I wouldn't recommend a guitar with a Floyd for a beginner as their quirks can be quite frustrating at a time when you should just be enjoying playing. The V624 perfectly suitable for a beginner, or anyone else. I paid £100 for mine as 'b stock' and then another £100 for a really good fret job/fingerboard roll etc. from a good luthier and it is good enough for anyone. Regarding the Pacifica 112, it's also an excellent guitar, but the Vintage has better quality hardware (pickups and bridge) for the same sort money. I don't know about the Schecter I'm afraid.
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