When the RG421 debuted 3 years ago, it was instantly revered as the fixed bridge RG to acquire, its Japanese make further bolstered its status as a fine player. However, it was superseded by the Korean 321 only a year after its debut, much to the dismay of ardent fans but the less snobbish among us would still hold it in high regards because the fit, finish & overall tone easily exceeded its asking price. This 2005, the 321 goes one up by being mahogany in all finishes offered. FYI- the 421 didn`t even make it here…
Finish & body wood type aside, this year`s 321 also has different default pickups on offer, the (dreaded) Infinity pair but don`t let that bother you a single bit. Do read on…
The Wizard II neck of the RG321 isn`t the skinniest on offer in the Ibanez range, it`s what I refer to as a `just right` neck; neither too thin, nor too fat. You get 24 Jumbo frets on this guitar, a single volume & tone control but a 5-way pickup switching configuration for a more expansive tonal palette.
The out-of-the-box action is fairly low but very bend-friendly, there were no choked notes either, implying good workmanship on the frets on offer. The neck is also very straight & the binding here is simply top class, no frayed edges near the nut area too- thumbs way up. The 321 weighs considerably lesser than its vibrato bridge equipped siblings but this isn`t a demerit in any way because…
The sustain speaks for itself. IMO 3 factors contribute to this:
- A complementary neck mass
- Through body stringing
- The pickups.
Yes you didn`t read wrong my friends, the Infinities are more than decent offerings. However, please do not expect PAF-like clean tone from them, these humbuckers were not conceived to be that immaculate in the first instance. However, you would definitely hear lots of midrange warmth from the mahogany body, just the way I like it. The RG321 would be a winner for those cutting edge shred & heavy tones.
My only complain here would be the tuners, which aren`t equal tensioned across the headstock. Some were too stiff, others, too slack. Initially, I attributed the tuning instability to a badly cut nut but a closer inspection revealed impressive incisions, so the tuners are exclusive culprits. It`s nothing player unserviceable, just get your screwdriver out & rectify accordingly. Done.
Yes, we've bought this guitar after an extended audition. It was thoroughly impressive despite the tuners setback. It covers rock & high gain metal effortlessly. For a more impressive clean tone, it`d perform better with a supplementary chorus pedal. If you are after a non-vibrato bridge solid body, I`d still stand by my current recommendations: the SZ series & definitely this RG321. I`m really glad that the 321 treaded the mahogany path, it didn`t out-tone the previous basswood incarnation, it simply gives the guitar a different voicing, which many of us here would fancy.
Have fun and I hope you've found this guide useful. If you've learned something or you have further clarifications, feel free to drop us an email. We'll love to hear from you!
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