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Cheap guitar of the week #34 - Ibanez RG421

Ibanez RG421

This is a traditional, no-nonsense electric.

I've seen a lot of Ibanez RG series guitars over the years. This one in particular is the RG421, and you'll see several finish options on that link.

The reason I've seen so many RGs is because there are so many variants of the RG model line. The RG655 for example sells for over a grand. The RG6005 is a mid-priced model. And if you do a generic search for Ibanez RG, you'll see prices all over the place. Ibanez does things weird. But then again, so does Fender with their million-different-Strats crapola as well, so... I suppose much studying of the model line is required.

ANYWAY... the RG421 is the low-priced model. Simple, easy, classic design, stays in tune because of the straight line from nut-to-tuning-post and because no vibrato system is present. It has a 24-fret neck, which I don't like, but many other players do like.

What's it sound like?

A generic electric with a pair of dual-coil pickups.

The RG421 is one of those "just works" guitars with a tone that's predictable. And by that I mean the guitar will work with just about any pedal and/or any amp you plug it into. You're not going to get singing Telecaster spank nor Les Paul shimmer out of this RG, so don't even go looking for it.

What you will get is something that's arguably the guitar's biggest selling point. Reliability. From my experience, most Ibanez RG guitars don't have "off days." You can generally trust that the guitar will play and sound the same, day in and day out, practice after practice, gig after gig. It's like I said, this is a "just works" guitar. Plug in, tune up, go and don't worry about it.

If you go searching for sound demos of the RG421, you'll notice many owners of this guitar perform pickup "upgrades." And I suppose the fact this RG takes pickup replacement so easily is its second biggest selling point. Not only can the guitar be bought for cheap, but also have its electronics changed around for cheap as well.

Who is this guitar best for?

This guitar is best for players who like a guitar with a thin, 24-fret neck that's easy to mod and has an understated look to it.

The neck on this RG is the "Wizard III", so yes, it does have the Wizard neck even at the low price it sells for. It could even arguably be said that the neck is the guitar's best selling point.

Don't expect this RG421 to be a tone monster if you buy one (you may need to swap out pickups with something that has more "flavor" to it.) But do expect it to be a great player guitar, because it should be.

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