Ibanez has pretty much ruled the shred guitar market since the late Eighties when it started offering signature models designed in collaboration with heavy hitters like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.
However, the company's popular RG series models go back before then to 1985, when the Roadstar II Series was renamed the RG Series (although the current RG body style and headstock that we all know and love didn't come about until two years later when Ibanez offered the RG as a less expensive and more modest alternative to Vai's JEM models).
Today, the RG Series retains the spirit of those late Eighties models, but the new Prestige models like the RG655 show how much the RG has evolved.
The Prestige Series features flagship models that Ibanez designed to fulfill three principles: precision, performance and playability. All three are immediately evident as soon as one picks up the RG655 and plays a few notes. From the incredibly smooth and fast feel of the neck to the incredibly precise and meticulous craftsmanship, the RG655 asserts itself as a professional-quality guitar.
The pickup arrangement consists of a DiMarzio Tone Zone humbucker at the bridge, a DiMarzio True Velvet single-coil in the middle and a DiMarzio Air Norton humbucker at the neck, which are wired to provide various humbucking and single-coil tones via the five-way pickup selector switch and master volume and master tone controls. The five-piece maple and walnut Super Wizard neck is super slim but super stiff and strong, featuring a 25 1/2–inch scale, 24 jumbo frets and a rosewood fretboard with dot inlays. It also features Ibanez’s acclaimed Edge double-locking tremolo system with a floating setup that allows players to raise or drop pitch and remain solidly in tune.
Ibanez has a long and established reputation for building incredible shred machines, but the Prestige RG655 takes the company’s craft to a new level of excellence. The neck may very well be the most comfortable and unobtrusive neck I’ve ever played, and the frets are so immaculately shaped and polished that they almost seem like they’re not there at all. While the basswood body is light, the guitar feels very solid.
The dynamics and expressiveness of the guitar are stunning. The passive pickups perform exceptionally well with any variety of amps, from vintage models to modern high-gain monsters, delivering desirable clarity, definition and woody resonance. While the RG655 is a shred machine that’s built to blaze, it sounds equally impressive when played with clean tones—a sign of a true quality instrument.
LIST PRICE $1,599.99
MANUFACTURER Ibanez Guitars, Ibanez.co.jp/usa
The DiMarzio Tone Zone, True Velvet and Air Norton pickups provide a stunning variety of humbucker and single-coil tones with exceptional dynamics and clarity
The 24-fret Super Wizard neck has a super slim profile that measures only 19mm at the 12th fret to provide unparalleled comfort, speed and precision
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you’re looking for a truly superlative shred machine, the Ibanez Prestige RG655 offers the feel of a Ferrari for the price of a Fiat.