The new Ibanez Premium line of guitars is a new line of guitars that is supposed to bridge the gap between normal Ibanez models and their prestige made in Japan models. These guitars look and have some of the features of the Prestige models but they are made in the same factories as the normal Ibanez guitars. These guitars have basswood bodies with maple tops. The top you see isnt the maple top as it is a quilted maple veneer on the maple top. Lots of companies do this for their lower end guitars when they want them to look fancy. I like the black quilt finish on this guitar. I am normally a flame fan but a decent quilt can look good even if it is just a veneer. This kind of reminds me of the PRS Charcoal Burst Quilt and Flame finishes. It has a 5 piece maple and walnut wizard neck. The fretboard is rosewood with jumbo frets and offset inlays. It has some designed by Dimarzio Ibanez pickups. They are slightly better than the normal no name Ibanez pickups they would usually give you but they are not as good as a set of real Dimarzios. It has the Edge Zero 2 tremolo which is decent.
The playability on this guitar isnt noticably better than a normal Ibanez RG. Fancy tops dont make your guitars play or sound any better, they just let you charge more. On Prestige models the fit and finish especially on the neck is very good and all the frets are perfectly polished and leveled. The fretwork on this model is okay but not much better than a normal model. The thin neck lets you shred up and down on it and there are deep cutaways so nothing gets in the way of your shredding. The Ibanez locking tremolos are pretty modern designs and are a little bit more comfortable than Original Floyd Roses.
The stock pickups in this guitar are alright. You do not need to immediately throw them away like on most Ibanez guitars. Since this is a metal guitar the stock pickups are decently hot. You get a decent amount of output on these pickups. Ive played other stock Ibanez guitars and I had to double check the volume on my amp because it was like they literally had half the output of my regular guitars pickups. The pickups in this guitar arent that bad. If you are any serious player you will want to swap out these pickups for something more specialized to whatever type of music you play. Most likely a set of Dimarzios since this is an Ibanez but if you are into really heavy stuff a set of EMG's might treat you well.
This guitar certainly looks cool but if you want an actual Prestige model you are better off buying one used. This guitar is pretty much a normal RG with a pretty looking top. If you are fine with a normal RG and want something with a bit more flash then this guitar is for you. If you are looking for something that plays a lot better than you might want to skip this model and save up for a Prestige. This model is between a normal RG and a Prestige RG but it leans more towards the end of the normal RG. I think most people would rather have a very plain Prestige model than a fancy normal model. With a plain Prestige model you would still get all the playability even without the flash, instead of extra flash without any extra playability.
Ibanez has recently decided to hit a market that's been untapped for awhile. They're looking to release a guitar that looks like a J-Custom but has the price of a regular Prestige model. They came up with this guitar, and it has a lot of cool features. The guitar features a basswood body with a veneer maple top, a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard, 24 extra jumbo frets, offset dot inlays, an Edge Zero tremolo, two humbucker configuration, one volume, one tone and a five way switch.
There are some problems with this guitar. The first thing I noticed was that, while the ends were nicely balled, the frets weren't as level as they were on the Prestige guitars. This was giving me some issues with getting the action that I wanted. The other thing was that there were a few things I just didn't really care for about this guitar. For one, I hate the fact that the top is a veneer. Basswood + maple is an amazing combination, and for them to skimp out on that is a bit of a let down, in my eyes. The trem is the same as it's been in the last few years, and I'm sure you've already heard all the comments regarding that. I heard some rumors of some necks being twisted and what not on these guitars, as well.
The guitar had some bland pickups in it. They're decent, but they're not nearly as good as real DiMarzios. The bridge pickup had some good output, but it lacked the depth that I normally hear from a good, high quality pickup. It also wasn't quite as responsive, either. The middle pickup was about the same as your average single coil pickup. It did great clean tones, but that's about it. The neck pickup was a bit bright, so I found myself using the tone knob to help fatten it up for those super fat lead tones that I tend to go for. While it was decent, it didn't sound nearly as organic as something like the Air Norton or Duncan 59 would sound.
While the guitars look good, there are a few issues regarding QC on these things. I recommend playing them before you go ahead and buy one. Be sure to check the threads on the internet regarding these as some people are having major issues while others are having a perfect guitar. I also recommend buying used if you can as the value on these will plummet a bit on the used market.
The Ibanez RG870QMZ marks the latest venture for the venerable Ibanez company. Their new Premium line of guitars offers an instrument that is a step below their Prestige line and is priced for younger players or just the general working musician who wants the quality and feel of a good Ibanez RG but doesn't wish to pay a fortune. They're made at Ibanez's Premium factory in Korea and this particular model is basically an RG model with a figured top. It features a basswood body with a figured quilt maple top, a maple/walnut neck with a rosewood fretboard, Edge Zero tremolo and H-S-H pickups with a 5 way switch. Here's some more specs from Ibanez:
Neck Material: 5pc Maple/ Walnut
Neck Type: Wizard Premium
Body: American Basswood body
Frets: Jumbo frets
Fingerboard: Bound Rosewood
Inlay: Off-set dot inlay
Bridge: Edge Zero II bridge w/ZPS3Fe
NeckPU: CAP VM1
MiddlePU: CAP VM1S
BridgePU: CAP VM2
HW Color: CK
The design of this guitar is just as ergonomic as any Ibanez RG that I've played. The body is extremely sculpted and ergonomic in its design, perfect for players who crave great access all around. The cutways allow full reach to all 24 frets and the ample body contouring provides a great guitar that sits very well on the body and feels comfortable to play for a long period of time. It's very light weight (like many RGs) and the upper fret access is impeccable.
Getting a good sound out of this guitar is fairly easy, and I was actually quite surprised at how easy it was to get a whole variety of tones out of this guitar. Because it has the middle single coil and a 5 way switch in addition to the dual humbuckers, there is so much extra versatility that many superstrats don't offer. Pristine clean tones? Got 'em! Bone crunching metal rhythms? Done. Soaring sailing lead sounds? Oh yeah! It's a great guitar for the working musician who wants a superstrat that does many different sounds for sure.
I've tried this guitar through a Hughes and Kettner Switchblade 100 which is a great amplifier for hearing sounds from very clean to very high gain. The clean sounds from this guitar were definitely a highlight. It has a decidedly Stratty texture that is especially apparent in positions 2 and 4 on the selector switch. That wonderful glassy, quacky sound that makes a Strat so wonderful is here in this guitar and is something I definitely appreciated when playing clean tones. The humbuckers provided a thicker and darker tone that worked well for jazzier or bluesier textures where more low end would help. It's not the most gutsy sounding guitar ever, but it sounds decent for some facsimile blues.
Switching over to the distorted tones brought me to where I expected the guitar to excel. The stock pickups were surprisingly articulate and clear even at higher gain settings, and they offered some great overtones and harmonics that really sang with definition. The neck pickup is great for smooth Yngwie esque lead passages, and the bridge pickup is excellent for everything from riff rock to Paul Gilbert esque lead figures to some heavier metal items. Surprisingly, the coil split modes sounded very cool with distortion - much like a Strat on steroids.
All in all I think the Ibanez Premium line of guitars is a great choice for the musician who wants a high performance and versatile guitar with the classic Ibanez feel and tone, but doesn't want to spend a whole lot of cash. At about $850 new, these guitars are a fantastic deal, and are really not far behind a Prestige in terms of quality and tone. Definitely worth looking into!