Ibanez has provided an industry of workhorse guitars for the working musician – the list of endorsed artists is ever growing. Excellent build, quality hardware, innovative design, and definable tone are all qualities leading to their success.
The Ibanez RG series guitars have become a staple in today’s rock music and choice of many guitar slingers. And with the introduction of the Premium line, you can enjoy the many advantages and options of a top line guitar at a fraction of the price. Our Premium RG-7 was very motivating form the time we took it out of the box. From being drawn in to its deep cosmetic beauty to not being able to take our hands off of the well designed slim Wizard neck, this guitar provides an excellent option for the guitarist at any level.
|Documentation & Support||10%|
|OVERALL RATING =3.6, which earns it a WIHO Award!
3.6 stars or better: Outstanding, WIHO Award
3 stars or better: Worth considering
2 stars or better: Suited to specific needs
1 star or less: Not recommended
The Ibanez Premium series guitars continue to inspire, providing excellent Ibanez craftsmanship at a price point well below the superb Prestige models (manufacturing is done in Indonesia rather than Japan, while many woods and components remain identical).
Our review guitar is the Ibanez Premium RG927QM-RDT, a 7-string solid-body electric guitar with a beautiful quilted Maple top in a Red Desert finish and the Edge Zero II-7 tremolo bridge.
The Ibanez Wizard Premium-7 five-piece, maple/walnut neck features a matching painted headstock and a clear, satin-finished back. The bolt-on neck is slim in design and also features a contoured heel at the body joint. The bound rosewood fingerboard is fitted with 24 hand-rolled jumbo frets with an off-set dot inlay pattern. One of our favorite neck features is the swiveling truss rod access door.
The Premium RG came equipped with excellent hardware including the low profile Edge Zero II-7 with ZPS3 tremolo bridge, with locking studs for increased sustain and improved tuning. Tuning is also secured with a locking nut at the neck. The tremolo arm contains a screw collar for tension adjustment.
The Edge Zero Bridge with ZPS3 spring system is the most advanced tremolo to ship on an Ibanez guitar, designed to provide more accurate tuning stability for players who like to bend pitch up or down. The ZPS3 spring system, installed inside the rear of the guitar, pivots around a center fulcrum providing a true return-to-zero after every pitch bend or dive bomb. A thumb wheel on the rear springs, accessible without removing the back plate, enables fine tuning of the system as springs wear, and players familiar with the Hipshot Tremsetter system will be right at home with this more-rugged but comparable system.
A standard locking nut at the headstock completes the double-locking system, and fine tuners on the bridge enable small adjustments once locked. The new Toplock design at the headstock eliminates the need for a string tree/retainer bar — strings run straight to the Ibanez tuners from the redesigned locking nut. Further, the Edge Zero tremolo can be locked for pitch-down operation only.
The pickup configuration features a DiMarzio IBZ-7N (Neck Pickup) and DiMarzio IBZ-7B (Bridge Pickup.) The pickup configuration is controlled by a five-way pickup selector blade switch. Keeping it simple, you have one Volume and one Tone control.
The Premium RG also comes with a multi-tool containing all necessary tools for making set-up adjustments in the guitar—a nice touch.
Our Premium RG-7 came from the manufacturer set up with light gauge strings (.009), but in the event you want to use significantly heavier strings, Ibanez supplied heavier replacement Power Springs to support the tremolo system.
When you think of a 7-string guitar, one might think heavy, cumbersome, uncomfortable to play, and of course rockin’. To the contrary, we found the Premium RG927 to be very comfortable to play and operate. The wider neck may take some getting used to, but the Ibanez Wizard Premium-7 neck is very thin and sleek, making it extremely comfortable to play. The hand-rolled frets provided extra comfort as well.
The new Edge Zero Bridge with ZPS3 spring system is a work of beauty and a marvel of excellence, but it evoked mixed emotions from our team since it delivers a grand case of two steps forward and one step back. On the positive side, the bridge continues Ibanez’s tradition of providing Floyd Rose-style tremolo units that are flush with the guitar body, and tuning stability remains at the top of the heap when it comes to floating tremolo units. We’ve gone weeks without retuning Ibanez guitars with Edge-series tremolos, and the RGT320Z is yet another guitar that you can rely on to stay in tune throughout your crazy antics with a whammy bar.
The ZPS3 spring system works great. Throughout a wide range of string bending, the bridge remained almost perfectly fixed. On traditional floating tremolo units, the bridge typically moves slightly with a string bend, resulting in slightly imperfect pitch for other non-bent notes that are sustained. Thanks to the fulcrum installed in the rear cavity, this shouldn’t be of any concern to players wary of floating tremolo systems.
Bending the tremolo up or down always returned to a perfect zero position, and a thumb wheel on the rear makes it easy to adjust the counter-balance as the main springs loosen over time (though we had no need to make adjustments on our review instrument). A tension collar surrounding the snap-in tremolo arm enabled us to adjust whether or not the arm stayed in place where we positioned it or hung freely when released.
Years ago, we installed Hipshot Tremsetters inside Floyd Rose- and Kahler-equipped guitars, but periodically, we had to remove our guitar’s rear plate in order to make adjustments to the counter-balance via a screwdriver. Ibanez took that product’s great concept and implemented it superbly.
That one step backwards we mentioned? You have to cut the balls off of the strings in order to use them. We were thrilled with the Edge Pro II tremolo (found on other Ibanez guitars) that didn’t require this tedious extra step, but this annoyance is outweighed by the advantages of this new system, namely the rock-solid tuning.
When it comes to tone, the Ibanez RG927QM is something of a sheep dressed in wolf’s clothing, as the tone isn’t quite as aggressive as you might first expect from a seven-string in the RG family. While the RG series is commonly found in hard rock and heavy metal settings (where this guitar would certainly be quite happy), the medium-gain DiMarzio IBZ ceramic pickups don’t push the depths of heaviness like other pickups in the DiMarzio lineup.
Although right at home in a hard rock situation, this guitar is useful in a much broader range of musical settings. From classic rock to wedding bands to country to blues, if you’ve wanted to break away from the typical Strat-type guitar in favor of something with a little more aggressive flair—not to mention a low B string, the RG927QM would be a great guitar to check out.
The DiMarzio IBZ pickups generated an extremely wide range of tones across its five pickup positions. Besides the neck- and bridge-only positions, other settings include selecting just the inside poles from both pickups, both humbuckers together, and the neck pickup wired in parallel. We were particularly impressed by both the range of different tones generated, but also by the evenness of volume across each position. As a result, we found ourselves playing on more in-between pickup positions than usual on this guitar.
The pickups are direct mounted to the body, and the guitar delivered excellent sustain and rich tone. Through our Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Road King II, the RG927QM was well suited to general-purpose hard rock styles of play, but we weren’t able to generate the kind of extremely saturated high-gain tone that some modern metal calls for. For bluesy playing, though, we enjoyed smooth tones from the neck pickup.
Through our Mesa/Boogie Lone Star combo, we were able to generate some very Strat-like jangly tones from the second switch position (inside poles from each pickup, effectively delivering single-coil tone). Playing the bridge pickup through this amp, the DiMarzio IBZ pickup had just enough gain to slightly break up the signal, delivering vintage rock tones.
The pickups did a fine job of providing clear separation of notes when playing through high-gain distortion — something we’re always especially picky about given our love of progressive rock and complex chord voicings. Note that body wood and mounting technique greatly influence the sound of pickups. On some other Ibanez guitars with these pickups, we hadn’t been as impressed by the tone, but we were quite pleased in this case. Players seeking wild harmonics will have to work a bit harder to generate them with this guitar, though. We tend to find more easily excitable harmonics from ring-mounted pickups, and pickups with slightly more gain.
Documentation and Product Support
Many manufacturers are eliminating any kind of documentation or very limited information accompanying their guitars, but Ibanez includes a booklet covering guitar part identification, tuning, string height, string replacement, maintenance, and tremolo/neck adjustments. Ibanez also has a highly informative website complete with instruction manuals, tutorials, and videos.
Surprisingly, though, the pickup configuration was not described in the documentation at all. We had to refer to a diagram on the web page for the guitar in order to learn how the five-way pickup selector was wired.
The Ibanez Premium RG927QM-RDT (MSRP $1,549.76) can be found for under $1,000 at retail, including a gig bag. We found our review model to be well worth the cost taking into consideration the excellent craftsmanship, fine wood, playability, and high quality hardware. If you’re looking to add a seven-string to your guitar collection, this guitar hits a sweet spot where you get a highly useful, pro-level instrument without having to spend a fortune.