is bolted onto the body’s sculpted neck
joint for easy and comfortable access to all
of its 24 frets. The rosewood fretboard is
also bound with rosewood, and it features
11 banana-yellow shark-tooth inlays. Even
the headstock screams for attention—it’s
capped with a matching iridescent veneer.
While there have been many popular
fixed-bridge RG models, floating tremolos
have always been a big selling point for
the series. Ibanez’s unrelenting efforts to
design a floating system that can withstand
heavy use without going out of tune or
killing the warmth of the tone have produced both outstanding and less-than-per-fect results over the years. But a lot of the
best ideas ended up in the Edge-Zero II
system used here. A successor to the popular Edge III, the Edge-Zero II is a very
similar knife-edge design, but it includes
the ZPS3Fe system—a zero-point adjustable tool for adding tension and resistance,
which can also improve tuning stability.
Adjusting tension is as simple as spinning
the spring tension knob on the back of the
guitar. If you’re into flutter effects—or just
enjoy a loose and bouncy tremolo—the
system is designed to be easily removable
without much fuss.
Screaming Yellow Zonker Playing a few open chords through a Mesa/ Boogie Multi-Watt Dual Rectifier was all it ook to confirm that the 25th Anniversary has the classic tones that its name connotes. They’re rich with tight, solid lows, smooth
… the 25th Anniversary
has the classic tones
that its name con-
notes … They’re rich
with tight, solid lows,
smooth mids, and crisp,
mids, and crisp, pronounced highs. The
airy tonality imparted by the basswood
body helps counter the IBZ-B’s somewhat
mid-heavy output, resulting in a rounded
tone that also exhibits a little quackiness
under heavy pick attack.
Moving between pickup settings revealed
a plethora of available sounds—snappy
funk tones in the second position, rounded
classic-rock in the third position, bluesy
rhythm in the fourth position, and big,
subdued jazz when you roll off the tone
control in the fifth position. In general, the
clean tones from the bridge pickup were
bold without extreme emphasis on the
high end. And reeling back the tone control helped control the quackiness (a trait
that’s common in basswood-bodied RGs).
However, if more pronounced lows and rich
midrange are what you’re after, a mahogany
body might serve you better.
Needless to say, the RG1XXV features
the kind of fast neck that made the series
REVIEW > IBANEZ
a hit with metal and shred guitarists. It
requires very little fretting effort, which is
critical for sweep picking and lightning-fast
legato runs, and it’s responsive to a light
touch. The Edge-Zero II is sturdy and
smooth under heavy use, and though the
ZPSFe made the tremolo feel fairly stiff, it’s
a cinch to loosen the adjustment knob and
dial in a little more elasticity.
Whether you play low-gain rock
or high-gain thrash, the RG is equally
impressive as a rhythm guitar. Switching
gears between riffing and lead work was
effortless, which made the RG1XXV an
incredible tool for playing any fast and
aggressive metal style there is.
The original RG guitars set the rock and
metal worlds aflame 25 years ago, and they
continue to be a go-to axe for players in
both genres. If you loved the smooth and
distinct tones that defined the original,
you’ll find them in abundance here, along
with a pronounced pick responsiveness
that extends the dynamic range of yore.
The neck is fast enough to feel as though
it’s anticipating your every move, and the
tremolo is superb. Though some purists
will lament that this Anniversary model is
build in Indonesia rather than Japan, the
build quality is first rate. If you’re a shred
fiend, this RG is the complete package and
an interesting evolution of a classic—even
when it reminds you just how much Ibanez
had right the first time around.
5-piece maple-and-walnut neck
Pros: Fast neck. Airy, versatile tones perfect for metal and
rock. Fantastic tremolo.
Ibanez RG1XXV 25th Anniversary, $899 street, ibanez.com
Cons: tone can be quacky and sparse on the low end.
Finishes aren’t for everyone.