For a prospective purchaser, the Ibanez RGA72QM hits home at a very confusing price point where there is no end of choice. However, ensuring value for money and bagging a quality instrument is often a rare combination, but the RGA72QM ticks both boxes and manages it in a very straight forward package. Many guitars at this price can be guilty of trying to be all things to all players and the majority of the time they miss the mark. They will try to include a sophisticated trem system or a slew of pick-up combinations and the necessity to hit a budget will leave the quality of these components lacking in reliability and function.
The RGA72QM features a mahogany body with a quilted maple top, three-piece Wizard II titanium re-enforced maple neck and rosewood fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and shark fin inlays. The Cosmo Black hardware includes an Ibanez Gibraltar standard bridge and pick-ups are an Ibanez CAP-LZ10 in the neck position with a CAP-LZ20 located in the bridge, plus a five-way switch and volume and tone controls. The review sample is finished in Transparent Lavender Burst.
Picking this guitar up leaves you in no-doubt what it was designed for; rock rhythm and widdling. The extremely flat radius encourages you to break out your best Paul Gilbert impersonation, while the jumbo frets allow precise bending and make this guitar incredibly playable. The quilted carved maple top ensures the picking hand is unobstructed and adds real quality to the instrument. In addition to the easy neck, tonally the guitar really lends itself to heavier rock and metal; the Ibanez CAP-LZ active pickups produce a fairly hot output so clean tones are best achieved by rolling down the volume pot slightly, ensuring a clear, detailed high end. On the heavier side of things the pickups are strong, defined and noiseless, with a snappy response which leads you inevitably into Maiden or early Metallica territory.
The real surprise about this guitar is the Active EQ switch which transforms the guitar from a balanced rock-tone into a lean, scooped metal tone. When engaged, the pick-ups are re voiced with boost in the bottom and top end with a dip in the mids. This really helps nail a tight, percussive metal tone be it through a cheaper modeling amp or something more traditional like a valve Marshall or Orange.
I was really impressed by the Gibraltar bridge for two reasons. The low profile allows the picking hand to sit comfortably and has no rough edges or high spots to damage your hands. Secondly, the addition of a fixed bridge allows players who wish to experiment with alternate tunings the flexibility to do so. For younger players or players who dabble with lower tunings, this bridge will allow you to try alternate tunings and heavier string gauges without tearing your hair out or shelling out for a set up.
Overall, I was very impressed with the guitar which is proof yet again that Ibanez can knock out a quality guitar for players on a budget. The Ibanez RGA72QM is the ideal solution for rock and metal players looking for a quality guitar at a very affordable price.