• Looking for the best model that is not expensive as a Jem. Up to $1200 (new). Any ideas?

    I have been playing guitar (solo & bands) since 1981 and currently have a Gibson V, Dean V, & a Charvel Strat. My guitars are in storage long distance and would like a Ibanez (with a good trem)that would work in the $800-1200 range. I really would like to try the JIVA (Nita Strauss) model but am not sure. I like a slim taper neck. I was wondering about the new Genesis RG-550s also. Any good RG's that you can think of? Thanks!!!

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    • There are lots of options in the $800–1200 range. I agree that the JIVA is a cool guitar, but I think it's going to be a bit above US$1200 unless you find a great deal.

      You mention a slim neck and a good trem, and both of those attributes are something you'll find in a lot of Ibanez models. The RG550 is pretty much the prototypical Ibanez guitar in that respect with the super-thin Wizard neck and the Edge trem which is pretty much unparalleled among Floyd Rose style tremolos. It's also a really solid value at just under $1000. The only real knock is that the stock pickups aren't that impressive, but you could shoehorn a set of your favorite aftermarket pickups at the top end of your budget.

       \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 19:16, January 15, 2019 (UTC)

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    • Thanks, I have been thinking more along the line of Japanese made and spending a little more for it. I was thinking of a Prestige Series RG of some sort. I want good pickups also or maybe good enough until I get around to replacing them. What do you think about the "Air Nortons"? The new Genesis is cool but I am sure the pickups are low level compared to some good DiMarzios or Seymour Duncans. The problem is that there are so many RG's looking at your site's model names. I was thinking about maybe even a decent PRS (Paul Reed Smith) made in Japan. I just want to stick with a small tapered neck like my Gibson V. Have to get use to "bolt-on" necks to but that shouldn't be a problem. So honestly, I know your into Ibanez but for up to $1500-1600 do you have any good suggestions for a Japanese and/or American guitar that includes Ibanez. I wanted to go to a HSH or HH pickup placement. I also would probably want a trem system also which probably decreases my choice at this $ range... Thanks for your help.

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    • Oh yes, one more thing. One thing I really like about the JIVA is the "Unbeaten Path" inlays. Awesome EKG inlay as I am a Respiratory Therapist. Plus, I just don't like the JEM's flowery inlay even though its pretty. I like an inlay I can read. Also, have you ever checked out Manson Guitars? Matt Bellamy gets some interesting stuff out of that brand.

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    • My advice would be to go to a music store with an hour or two to kill. Bring along your favorite pick and a tuner and just play every guitar they have that fits your specs.

      Personally, I don't really put much stock into what country a guitar is made it. Yes, the higher end Ibanez are MIJ and other brands' top guitars are made in America, but I've found that good (and bad) guitars can come out of any factory whether it's in Japan, Indonesia or China. The quality of the MIJ guitars tends to be more consistent, but once you're looking at a single example that doesn't make a lot of difference. For example, the JIVA you mentioned previously is made in Indonesia, but the example I played was spot on.

      As far as pickups go, the Air Norton/Tone Zone combination is used pretty widely in the higher-end Ibanezes. I've never been a fan of DiMarzio (mostly because Larry D seems like an asshole to me), but those pickups are widely praised among Ibanez guys. The in-house V7/V8 pickups on the Genesis Collection certainly aren't as well regarded. As for me, I love tweaking my guitars so whatever pickups come stock don't matter much as I'll soon be tearing them out and replacing them with something else that I want to try.

      For Ibanez, the most important consideration when buying a guitar, in my opinion, is the tremolo, because that's a part that's not going to be simple to replace. In the $1500–1600 range most of what you'll find have either the Edge or the Lo-Pro Edge, which are among if not the best Floyd Rose style trems you'll find anywhere. They're basically the same trem, but one is just has a lower profile (sits closer to the body) than the other, as its name implies. The Edge Zero is another one you'll find on a few guitars in that price range. It has its adherents but to me it's a half-rung below the Edge/Lo-Pro. The Edge Zero II is the EZs cheaper sister. Again not BAD, but not the BEST. This is the trem that the JIVA has. The biggest downside, for me, of the EZ and EZII is that they have a proprietary design such that you can't easily upgrade them with something else.

      The other thing I'd consider is species of wood used for the body, since that's another thing you're not going to be able to change. Options are typically basswood, ash and mahogany/nyatoh. Depending on how you feel about the great "tonewood" debate, you may be able to discern different tonal qualities. Either way, they certainly have an impact on the weight and overall look of the guitar. I'm partial to ash myself, but that's mostly just for aesthetic reasons.

      For HSH guitars, your best bet is to find a RG550 or maybe an RG570 (which has been discontinued for '19 but should still be in shops). The biggest difference between these is that the 550 has a pickguard and the 570 doesn't. You might also find something like an RG657MSK (also discontinued), which is similar to the 570 but has a fancy top and the more modern All Access Neck Joint (AANJ). I'd also encourage you to try something from the Indonesian Premium line like the RG1070PBZ if the look appeals to you.

      For HH you may find more options. Most of the are going to be pretty similar to the RG652AHM. Again here you'll see the AANJ and the Air Norton/ Tone Zone combo.

      Beyond Ibanez I can't really give you any specific recommendations. If you're looking for a locking trem, then I'd take a look at EVH or maybe ESP. If you're okay with a non-locking trem then that opens up the possibility quite a bit to Fender, PRS, etc. I know Fender necks are generally a bit meatier than Ibanez. I think PRS is sorta in between.

      Good luck.  \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 16:04, January 25, 2019 (UTC)

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    • Been checking out the RG657PB and RG652AHM. I see the differences withe HH vs HSH pups, the fretboard material, but why would the RG657PB cost less than the 652? The 657 has the same pups with the additional single coil. You would think that it would cost more unless it is a year older and no longer made. I have boiled it down to these 2 or a Genesis with custom pups added... Sorry to ask u all this but I can't get out to check out stores due to a visual disability now. Thanks

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    • Wow, thank... I just read your message after posting my last message or I would have responded. I kind of like the RG657PB (discontinued) & RG657MSK for the HSH combo. For the HH I actually like the RG-652AHM. Thanks for all you have helped. I have narrowed down quite a bit now. Your right about the trem.

      My main guitar has been the Gibson which is mahogony with dirty finger pups and an optional Washburn bolt on Wonder Bar.  Actually, the Washburn Trem has never gone out of tune and I never had to chop a big chunk out of guitar like a Floyd R.  The trem was put on in the late 80's before Washburn got sued by Floyd & Kahler and discontinued due to patent infringements.  Thanks again
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    • I just found a RG-657PB for $1250 plus an additional 10% ($1125) coupon from Pro Audio Star:

      and a RG-657MSK-STB (demo model/floor stock) on sale for $1278 on

      One last request, what is your opinion between these 2 different models & prices? Thanks

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    • There's not a whole lot of difference between those two models other than the obvious aesthetic ones. I'd go with the RG657MSK myself — I feel it's one of the most beautiful guitars Ibanez has made in the past several years. I'm also not a fan of the burl tops like on the RG657PB. Both of those reasons are just personal preference. Between the two, I could justify the extra $150 for the MSK, but it may not be worth it to someone else.

       \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 17:29, January 25, 2019 (UTC)

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    • As far as why a 657 should cost less than a 652, that I can't really explain. I love the additional tonal flexibility the single-coil provides. Some guys feel like the middle pickup gets in the way of their picking.

       \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 17:31, January 25, 2019 (UTC)

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    • I think the MSK is beautiful also. I haven't owned a 3 pup system since the early 80'! I never thought about the middle pup getting in the way of my picking. Great thought. The only other thing the MSK drawback is that it was a demo... Your website really helped cram a bunch of material about Ibanez that I could not get anywhere else and your help has been priceless... The only other option is to go withe Genesis RG-550 remake and put my own custom pups in it. The new RG-550 has the good Edge trem I think. Use the extra $278 ($378 with coupon)dollars on some great pups. I have a 10% coupon and that would make it $900 for a new Genesis... Any thoughts?

      Thanks Bud!

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    • Oh yea, your 1st post said the same thing about the Genesis. A white 550 would be very cool!

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    • The Genesis is a certainly a great value. And with your own choice of pups it would be pretty compelling. Personally, I'd still go with the 657, but again that's more for aesthetics than anything else...I just don't love pickguards. Also I prefer the AANJ to the tilt joint with the metal plate on the Genesis models. But just in terms of pure TONE, I'd choose the 550 + my fave pickups over the 657 with the stock DiMarzios.

      I wouldn't be TOO concerned about the demo thing, particularly with a 30-day return policy and free shipping — worst case if you find some issue you can't live with you're out return shipping. But then again I'm all about buying used guitars. I can see the appeal of being the first person to play the guitar new out of the box.

      In the end the 657s and the 550 both have the same Edge trem and the same neck so playability should be pretty pretty similar. It really just comes down to personal choices about some of the minor differences like the neck joint, the body wood, the pickguard, the pickups and the visual appearance.

      You won't go wrong with any of them if what you're looking for is a rock-solid guitar with a locking trem and a thin neck.

       \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 19:52, January 25, 2019 (UTC)

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    • Hey DeeJayK, I bargained and got the RG-657MSK. It is "b-stock" due to it being returned with little to no play. I hope it's in good condition. I think I originally found it for $1278 and I offered and finally "counter-offered" until I got them down to $1080. I was happy to get it down almost $200. Brand new (unused) they run $1500 so I think it will be worth it. Next thing I need is an amp. I have a Hi-Watt 100 and a 45 watt stereo Crate practice amp in storage long distance (along with all my effects and pedals), so I need some help finding another 50 watt & under amp. It's been 25 years since I purchased one. I was thinking about going direct in my computer while I am looking for an amp but I no very little about going straight into my laptop. I guess I get some time of USB or blue tooth guitar adapter and some time of software. I hate to bother you again but some advice would really help. Thanks, DJ(GhostGuitarPro)

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    • Oh another big deal is that it comes with the case!!! LOL, those things are expensive now.

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    • Under $1100 for an RG657MSK is a great deal. Yeah, the case is also a nice bonus, and that's another difference from the Genesis Collection, which don't include a case.

      As far as an amp, I'm a bit out of my depth there. I'm not someone who plays out, so all I have is a couple of practice amps. I've never found a good solution for bypassing an amp and going straight into a laptop. Those types of things that I've tried always seem to be buggy in one way or another.

      But if what you're looking for is a small amp that would let you easily record on your laptop, the Yamaha THR-10 is a great choice. It's a lunchbox sized thing and only 10 amps, so not really suitable for performances, but the portability is a plus (it can even run off batteries) and it sounds great. It comes with software that will allow you to model a ton of different amps and easily interface with recording software. I have a THR-10C and a THR-5A (acoustic) and I love them.

       \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 14:41, January 28, 2019 (UTC)

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    • Hey DeeJayK, after going through many different practice amps I have decided on the THR-10X. I like the X because it can be clean or really hot and I can go anywhere in between via the computer settings. I will let you know more soon. My guitar is in shipping and is already in Texas! Gotta figure out the Floyd Rose since I have only used one once playing live (and once I broke a string my tech brought me another guitar since it takes a little time to replace on a Floyd R). I am use to changing strings on my Washburn Wonder Bar trem and I think that the WB is closer to a Kahler even though it is similar to a Floyd. Have you went straight from your THR to a computer or recording device? If you have, what size/kind of adapter did you use? 1/8"? Thanks again...

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    • I have a THR-10C. I ended up choosing that one because I don't play much metal. I tend to use more "classic rock" tones.

      I connect it to my MacBook through a standard USB cable (along with a USB to USB-C adapter). That allows me to tweak the amp settings in the Yamaha app as well as to record using Garage Band. You can do similar things with a Windows computer as well.

      You can also get a cable that allows you to connect it to an Android cell phone to adjust the amp settings using a custom app. I think you can do something similar with iOS as well. I've never really played with any of that.

      There's also a company called Patchbox 68 that makes stomp pedals to control the amp. That's also something that I haven't tried, but the demos I've seen look cool.

      As far as dealing with a Floyd, there is a bit of a learning curve. Good news is that these days there are lots of good YouTube videos that can walk you through almost any common problem you might encounter.

       \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 22:28, January 30, 2019 (UTC)

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    • Does the USB-C side connect to the amp? I can't even find the USB SLOT in any pictures of the THR. Does the USB-C male side connect to your MAC? I have a ASUS WIN 10 laptop. Will the USB cable type be different? The cable I googled for it shows a male USB-B to a standard male USB-A (regular USB). I am hoping it will come with the amp and be the right cable for my laptop. I googled it and it was this one:

      Ebcc9a4c-b884-480b-9d39-4a7675e25c57 1.ec8e10bf8318bd8863cf792ed14c375a

      "Ready Wired Cable" Walmart

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    • Oh, I see the port on the back now. I couldn't see it on the thr-X because it was so dark compared to the beige model. The regular USB male side connects to my laptop's USB 3.0.

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    • You got it!

       \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 23:44, January 30, 2019 (UTC)

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    • Got the guitar. Unfortunately the string action is way to high. Of course their fine at the lower frets but the ramp up way to high. String action looks like a skateboard ramp. I have to figure out the edge trem so I can lower the strings. I am surprised that the music store Music123 (in Kansas I think) would send it out with the neck action so bad. I just hope it doesn't have a fried neck on it. The neck doesn't look bowed up nor down but I really need to examine it better. Had my Gibson since 1984 and never had to adjust anything on it, yet my other guitars like my Charvel & Dean definitely will need some work. I really need to learn how to do this as I don't know anyone around here yet that can check it out. I wish the music store would have checked all this and signed off on it.

      Now time to go study up on the Edge trem so that I can get this at least playable. I wish I had your knowledge on this guitar as I am sure you know how to adjust Ibanez and their trems. I don't even have a straight edge ruler to check the height down the neck. lol Take care, David

      IMG 20190131 145944
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    • That's such a great looking guitar. The top on these reminds me of a freshly poured draft beer.

      It's a shame that the store didn't bother to do a better setup, but that sort of thing isn't all that unusual. It makes no sense to me. Maybe if they'd taken the time to set the thing up right it would've sold in their store.

      From your description it sounds like you need to start by shimming the neck or adjusting the truss rod. Perhaps both. It's really hard to diagnose action problems without having hands on the guitar. My best advice is to take is slow, make small adjustments and see what works. It can be a bit painstaking.

      Ibanez Rules has probably the best collection of information on setting up and maintaining Ibanez guitars. The guy that runs this site/store, Rich, is a really helpful resource and probably the best source for any Ibanez parts you might need.

      There are also a couple of Ibanez RG Facebook groups that are populated with guys that no WAY more than I do about this stuff.

      Good luck and welcome to the Ibanez family.  \m/ DeeJayKTalk! 14:39, February 1, 2019 (UTC)

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