If you’re looking for a hard rock or shredder axe with excellent metal tones and solid playability for not a ton of cash, the Ibanez RG2EX1 might be just what you needed.
If anyone knows how to build an inexpensive yet highly playable electric guitar, it’s Ibanez. After all, they’ve been doing it since the 1960’s. The RG2EX1 is one of the company’s numerous low-cost electric instruments geared for shredders who want a guitar with a good sound and playability that won’t break the bank. Did they succeed? Let’s find out.
The RG2EX1 sports a basswood body with 3-piece bolt-on maple neck with the popular Wizard II neck profile for ease of play. It’s a 25-1/2″ scale instrument with 24 jumbo frets on its rosewood fingerboard. A fixed bridge is standard as are IBZ V7 neck and IBZ V8 bridge humbucker. Electronics are a 3-way slider switch and single volume and tone control. The RG2EX1 is available in either black or white.
Regarding the sound and playability, let’s be clear from the outset. The RG2EX1 is primarily a one-trick pony. This is a guitar aimed at the hard rock, metal, and shred crowd. If you’re looking for a guitar that can be used for jazz gigs as well as metal or shred, you’re probably better off looking at another guitar. That said, the RG2EX1 does what it does very well.
It’s really amazing to see how far beginner level instruments have come in recent years. I started playing guitar in the mid 80’s (thank you hair metal), and you simply would not have found an instrument that plays and sounds as well as the RG2EX1 at that time. Computerized construction (CNC machines) has made inexpensive overseas construction a viable option for people shopping for an inexpensive or starter guitar.
The first thing you’ll notice about the guitar is simply how fast the guitar plays and feels. The neck is smooth and the jumbo frets are well-polished, especially for the price. The Wizard II neck profile makes bends and fast runs flow effortlessly. The pickups are well-suited for hard rock and shredder styles. I tested the Ibanez through a Marshall JCM800 half-stack and was pleased with the clear, well-defined tones I was able to coax from the instrument.
Although the guitar is only available in two colors, the black and white finishes have a classic, timeless feel. I opted for the white with black hardware, and could see no discernible flaws. The fretwork was similarly well done, particularly in a guitar in this price range.
While it’s not the most versatile guitar you’ll ever buy, if you’re looking for a hard rock or shredder axe with excellent metal tones and solid playability for not a ton of cash, the Ibanez RG2EX1 might be just what you needed.
Name of Gear: Ibanez RG2EX1
List Price: $599.99
Manufacturer Info: Ibanez Guitars; ibanez.com
Pros: Excellent playability; wonderful fretwork; good pickups for metal and shred
Cons: A one-trick pony