I am not the biggest Ibanez fan but I love their RGA series guitars. They have a lot of what I look for when it comes to a guitar. The RGA series is an evolution of the classic RG series. For a long time the RG series was pretty much unchanged. When the RGA guitars came out it was a big update that added a lot more comfort to the design. The A in RGA stands for archtop. These guitars have archtop designs which makes them a bit more comfortable in my opinion. A lot of these models are hardtail as well which is something I prefer to the tremolos found on most RG models. This guitar has a mahogany RGA body with a bolt on maple neck. The fretboard is rosewood with 24 jumbo frets. There is no locking nut on this one as it is a hardtail. This newer RGA model has an updated bridge. Older models have a type of wraparound bridge this one is like a mix of a wraparound with a Fender hardtail bridge. The pickups int his guitar are very cool for an Ibanez. It has the active EMG set with an 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck. This is miles better than what you get in most Ibanez guitars even prestige models. The controls are simple with a volume and tone with a 3 way switch.
To me one of these guitars plays better than a normal RG. With the stable hardtail bridge you do not have to worry about pushing notes out of tune when palm muting or playing heavy. With the hardtail bridge everything is very stable and it is easy to setup. The neck is super thin and flat which is what most modern guitar players like. You can really shred on it easily with the flat radius and jumbo frets. One thing I do not like is the battery compartment for the EMG's. On this guitar the battery compartment has a screw on cover. I wish all battery compartments were pop out. With a screw on cover you are not saving any time over just having the battery in the control cavity. If you changing the battery in the battery compartment takes as long as it would in the control cavity there is no point in having a battery compartment.
With the EMG pickups in this model the tone is heads and tails above a lot of other Ibanez guitars. To me the stock pickups in most Ibanez guitars are some of the worst pickups I have come across. With the EMG's in this guitar you can rock with the best of them. Older versions of this model had a set of Ibanez active pickups which were okay but these EMG's are what everyone is trying to imitate with their active pickups. This is the traditional EMG setup that you find in a lot of guitars. The 81 in the bridge is a real buzzsaw of a pickup. It has a really sharp sound that really cuts. The tone is very focused on the high end for clarity. The 85 in the neck is a very good pickup as well. The 85 has a smoother tone that is less focused on the high end. It has a thicker tone which makes it great for lead playing. The leads come out smoother and less harsh than the 81 sounds for leads.
Its pretty crazy that Ibanez can make a guitar like this and sell it so cheaply but their Prestige models that cost twice as much come with pickups that sound like they should be in 100 dollar guitars. This guitar with its comfortable body and its solid bridge make it a really solid metal guitar and it is a bit cheaper than the comparable guitars from ESP and Schecter. For once Ibanez isnt churning out the same old RG with no name pickups in a random color. This guitar is a good solid metal guitar with the electronics that are pretty much standard in guitars from ESP and Schecter. Like most good Ibanez models this one probably wont be around for very long so if you want an Ibanez that is ready to rock out of the box you better jump on this one.