Ibanez Premium RG920qm

Price Paid: 
$700
Condition: 
New
Country of origin: 
Other
Body wood(s): 
Basswood/Maple
Neck wood: 
Maple/Walnut
Fretboard: 
Rosewood
Fretboard Scale: 
25.5
Number of frets: 
24
Pros: 

 

 

  • Real quilted maple top, not veneer or photo.
  • The Edge Zero 2 is a major step up from the Edge 3, and many Floyd users would like the addition of a screw on collar for the arm. Comes with trem lock mechanism.
  • Newly redesigned DiMarzio made Premium IBZ USA pickups.
  • The 5 piece maple/walnut Wizard Premium neck is very comfortable, with fantastic fretwork.
  • The finishes are beautiful.

 

Cons: 
  • Would have been nice if they used the Edge Zero 1 tremolo instead of opting for the cheaper Edge Zero 2, even if it is a solid unit.
  • A case would be nice.
  • Even though the IBZ pickups are in fact made by DiMarzio in their NYC factory, I'd prefer the real pickups, as opposed to pickups that are "sort of like this" and "sort of like that", call me a snob.

The only trade offs that should be made between the Premiums and the Prestiges is the Premiums being made in Indonesia.

Summary: 

I wanted to wait a month before posting a review, but I've had this guitar for a few weeks, and I really dig it.

I'm not the biggest Ibanez fan, not so much the designs, but the cheapness, even when they were good 20 years ago they always felt cheap... All the cons aside, the guitar is genuinely good, I've played lower end Japanese Prestige models, and the Premium RG920 is every bit as good, definitely more of a Prestige model than a standard Indonesian series RG, there really is no hint of a cheaply made Indonesian guitar, you would think it was made in Japan if you didn't read the headstock. I've read many complaints, from Jemsite members, about how the Premiums look and feel cheap, and are Indoneasian junk, this is far from the truth... Comparatively speaking, these Ibanez Premiums are closer to the Prestige line of guitars in terms of quality, than Charvel's Desolation models are to the USA Production Model's.

The neck contour feels very very familiar, almost like a Charvel, has some meat to the back of it, but not oiled, it has a satin finish up to the flute of the headstock. The hand rolled jumbo frets are great, not sure if they are 6100, I don't think Ibanez uses Dunlop frets. I'd rank the fret work dead even with the fret work on the EVH Wolfgang Special made in Japan, which by all accounts had better fret work than the US models. Only improvement they could make is a compound radius, playing chords on the first few frets is noticeably harder on these flat fingerboard Ibanez guitars compared to say a Charvel. I dig the off center dot inlays on the rosewood board, if I bought another, the model with the maple board would look better with the shark tooth inlays, IMO. One feature I have always been a fan of is the all access neck joint, why it hasn't become an industry standard I don't know, a lot of boutique builders have adopted variations on the design, I'm not even sure if Ibanez created it.

The pickups are really good, I plan on removing them for a set of standard model DiMarzio's, but that is not a critique on the stock pickups, just me wanting a different sound for my main guitar, the IBZ's will be going in another guitar. These IBZ's are supposed to be somewhere between a Breed and Super 2 in the neck, and a Steve Moorse and Super Distortion in the bridge, both in sound and output, however, I am not very familiar with DiMarzio pickups, except the Breed, and the assessment of the neck pickup is fair. I'm not a huge fan of 2 humbuckers with a 5 way, I really don't use any setting other than all bridge or all neck, but I's be lying if I said I didn't think the 5 way gives Ibanez guitars more tonal variety than what's found on the 3 way toggles I prefer, I am experimenting with the positions for clean tones though. Starting in the neck position 1. Full neck pickup. 2. Full neck pickup parallel connected. 3. Neck and bridge. 4. Neck and Bridge inner coils. 5. Full bridge pickup.

I love the Edge Zero 2, and the fact that it comes with a blocking mechanism is a plus, why Floyd Rose doesn't is beyond me. I played a Prestige with the Japanese made Edge Zero 1 and didn't notice any real difference in sound or feel, I know most on this site dislike the sound that comes from Ibanez trems, I generally do as well, aside from the original Edge, but not on this guitar, I don't think it lacks sustain or sounds unusably shrill, though I probably will still put a brass block in from Killer Guitar Components (FU doesn't make a block for the Zero trems "yet"). The Edge Pro 2 has the classic Edge sensitivity, I have found that all my guitars with OEM Original Floyd's, made in Korea, have loose arms, and what happens when I try to use the trem for a subtle vibrato is that the arm rocks back and forth, but the bridge itself doesn't move, even when the bar is solidly in I have trouble getting that kind of subtle responsiveness from the OFR. I also like that the trem isn't held in by the 2 screw claw... When setting up a trem, those 2 screws drive me up a wall, having a thumbwheel that moves both sides at once is nice. Most importantly, unlike the Indo made Edge 3 it replaces, it stays in tune, and well.

The set up out old the box was ok, all I needed to do was tune her up... A little more set up was needed after I figured out I needed to remove the stop bar to make the trem completely usable, Ibanez hid the user instructions for the stop bar in the trem in the box, so I thought the trem was terrible at first, because I was trying to use it unknowingly with the stopper in there.

The finish is quite nice, seems solid, unlike my Gibson Les Paul Classic Plus that was $1400 more and was peeling. The natural maple binding on the body is a classy look, and the maple neck has maple binding, there is a subtle color difference that is nice, that binding is around the headstock as well. The subtle grain in the basswood back is nice as well, and odd, as basswood generally has lousy grain pattern if any, and odd also that basswood was used on a trans finish, the grain pattern looks similar to alder. Walnut neck stripes are always nice.

I don't think a Premium will convert anyone who dislikes Edge trems, or doen't like the Prestige models, but if a person has been turned off to RG's because of the super thin Wizard necks of years past, or because the trems are known as tone suckers, these are definitely worth giving a shot... There was interest here on the forum about these guitars, but when it was revealed they were to be produced in Indonesia, all that interest went out the window for most, myself included, but these Premium models are definitely worth a look. I personally thought they played as good or better than the Mexican made Jackson's and Charvel's I played that same day, which were awesome as well, it came down to the Floyd vs. Edge, and neck joints... The other guitar in contention was the Jackson DK2 Pro Dinky with OFR, VERY similar guitars, but the Ibanez Edge Zero just felt better, the neck was a smidgen more comfortable with better fret work, and that AANJ was another thing that put the Ibanez over, only thing I preferred on the Jackson was the compound radius, and the Duncan 59/JB pickups, but again the newer DiMarzio IBZ are really good, in fact I prefer them over the Evolution/Tone Zone Charvel was putting in the USA and Japanese So Cal's.

I'd definitely buy another, and probably not remove the pickups, unless switching to a set of Duncan's... My guitar buying (and more my selling lol) exploits are well documented here, and occasionally made fun of, but I have owned, super strat wise, 3 Charvel Pro Mods (US and Jap), a Jackson DK2, 2 EVH Wolfgang Specials, an Ibanez RG550 MIJ and RG320 Indo made, and a GMW custom shop, and I am not lying when I say this guitar is as good or better than those others, for various reasons. I played a half dozen of these guitars at Sam Ash, before buying one online, and they all felt and sounded pretty much the same, at a store not really known for maintaining the guitars on its walls. Ibanez FINALLY put it all together, for me, an affordable guitar of professional quality, that has a neck I like, seriously good stock pickups, a good Edge tremolo, a nice finish and construction. I hope Ibanez doesn't drop the ball with them, and I hope my fellow Dino's who hate Ibanez's give this line a try.

My only real issue is with Ibanez pricing in general, they are somewhat overpriced, when you consider that Ibanez uses in house parts almost exclusively.

Overall Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)