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This article was originally published in issue #52
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Tonally speaking this guitar is super versatile too, in fact, this is the model favoured by modern guitar warrior Martin Miller.
Ibanez Prestige range has consistently been synonymous with high-performance fast necks, optimized pickups and electronics, and hardware. Lee Wrathe inspects the latest in the range, the RG652 KBB.
The RG is arguably the most recognisable and widely-used guitar in the Ibanez line. For thirty-something years it has graced stages, recording studios and music videos in various iterations. The core design has remained mostly unchanged regarding body shape at least. However, you now have a plethora of RG options to choose from whether you favour a hardtail (fixed) bridge or a locking tremolo system, a regular 6 string or a monster 9 string there is an RG model to suit most guitar slingers, it would seem.
The RG652 KBB is set at Ibanez’s Prestige level, in other words, it’s built in Japan and has received the care and attention to detail that the title affords. The embodiment of their precision, playability and performance mantra is clearly evident with this guitar, which, straight out of the case, is perfectly set up and a dream to play.
The body is a resonant Mahogany with a lovely ‘Koa Brown Burst’ finish, not to be mistaken for an actual Koa top, but stunning nonetheless. It features a Super Wizard HP 5 piece Maple/Walnut neck, which is incredibly thin. The subjectivity regarding the ‘best’ neck thickness on a guitar should be left in your own capable hands but I personally really love these necks. Not only do they make playing a breeze, but they’re also incredibly resilient, especially when it comes to temperature and climate changes. I have two guitars with these necks which have seen the cargo hold of an airliner (I know, I know, I should have paid for a seat for them!) with absolutely no issues on the other side of their potentially catastrophic experience.
The 652 has a 24 fret Rosewood fingerboard with dot position inlays, and the jumbo frets have received Ibanez’s Prestige fret edge treatment making them super smooth. Coupled with the neck profile, this makes for a very comfortable playing experience even at the ‘dusty end’ of the fretboard.
Tuning stability is spot on too, even with gratuitous whammy bar abuse. The Ibanez Edge Floyd style trem accompanied by a locking top nut taking care of business in that regard.
Tonally speaking this guitar is super versatile too, in fact, this is the model favoured by modern guitar warrior Martin Miller. A man renowned the World over for his ability to play virtually anything! I have always found the RG’s to be a real workhorse, jack-of-all-trade instruments too. Having played them for many years in various Musical situations, often the initial look of horror on a producer’s face at the sight of a pointy guitar, turns to delight when they actually hear what it’s capable of doing. The delightful pairing of the DiMarzio Air Norton Humbucker in the neck and Tone Zone in the bridge means that you can squeeze out credible sounds for anything from spanky Country and funk right through to screaming lead tones (of course).
Rolling back the tone on the neck pickup will even conjure up a passable jazz tone too.
In summary, this guitar is not only a beauty to behold but also a very useful tone hound, certainly not limited to straight Rock and Metal, but probably at its best when being used to perform that task. The quality of the craft is astounding, and the playability is as good as any RG I have yet to have in my humble mitts. If you’re in the market for an RG and you’re lucky enough to find this exact model, then I would grab it with both hands and never let it go.