Ibanez has been busy preparing for the NAMM 2019 event at the end of January. Very busy. The Japanese guitar giant has so many new models launching that it will be hard for players to keep track of them all. But there are two stand-out models you should be taking a look at: the Ibanez Axion Label and Prestige RG5000 range.
Ibanez Prestige RG5000
The Prestige series is Ibanez at its best, so expect performance guitars designed to make playing feel almost effortless. The 2019 Prestige line-up adds stainless steel frets as standard across the range, a new rigid five-piece Maple/Wenge neck with a (very pretty) wood grain fretboard. Each guitar is Made-in-Japan and they all feature Luminlay side dots.
The new RGR5220M has a Birdseye Maple fretboard and an Ash top/African Mahogany body. It comes with Bare Knuckle Brute Force pickups and an Ibanez Lo-Pro Edge trem. I think it looks amazing in the Transparent Fluorescent Green. My bank balance is already trembling, as I may well have to go buy one of these when they get released!
There is also another RGR5227MFX 7-string, with a Birdseye Maple fretboard and an Ash top/African Mahogany body. It also comes in Transparent Fluorescent Green finish on the top and the Natural flat finish on the body sides and back of the guitar. This time though, it is a hardtail with a Gibraltar Standard II-7 to keep those 7 strings held down tight. It uses Gotoh MG-T locking machine heads, which should make changing strings and staying in tune simple as can be.
You can check out the models in action below. The 7-String will be coming in at around USD 2500, which I feel is an amazingly good deal for a Custom Shop guitar. Fender and Gibson take note here! High-end guitars don’t have to be USD 5-10,000 a piece. Ibanez is making guitars at a fraction of US costs and if I am honest, I think they often destroy the American-made stuff by a country mile. Just seems a pity the Japanese cannot come up with decent names for their guitars!
RRP – TBC
Ibanez Axion Label
These are Ibanez’s new ‘Metal machines’ designed for high performance, high gain, fluid playing styles. Whether you are playing legato lines or crushing riffs of doom, the new Axion Label models are what you should be looking at this year.
The RGA61AL-IAF comes with a Flamed Maple top, Nyatoh body in a Indigo Aurora Burst Flat finish. It has a nice dark Macassar Ebony fretboard and a super-thin Nitro Wizard five-piece Panga Panga/Walnut neck The frets are subjected to a Sub-Zero treatment to make them last longer and the neck has handy luminescent side dot inlays that make it easier for players to see where they are playing on dark stages.
You can also get this as a 7-string called RGA71AL (thanks, Ibanez, that’s super catchy and easy to remember). This one has a Flamed Maple top with Nyatoh body and is also finished in the Indigo Aurora Burst Flat finish.
The UK’s Bare Knuckle Aftermath pickups come factory fitted. It just goes to show how well respected Tim Mills’ pickups have become these days. That makes me happy as I am a long time advocate of his pickups – and they are also just up the road from where I live in Devon.
They come coil-tapped as well, which makes them even more flexible and gives you a useful choice in how you sculpt your tones.
Each guitar has a Gibraltar Standard II bridge and Gotoh locking tuners, so expect your tuning to be tight and solid. Schaller S-Lock strap lock pins come as standard as well, so no nasty accidents with strap malfunctions here.
This is a beautiful looking modern guitar and has some fantastic hardware. I reckon Ibanez will sell thousands of them.
RRP – TBC