REVIEW: Ibanez RGIR28FE Iron Label 8-string

496-1Ibanez was at the forefront of 7-string guitar development when they launched the Universe more than 20 years ago, and they’ve continued to innovate in extended-range instruments at all price points, from inexpensive GIO 7-strings to J.Custom 8-strings. The Iron Label series of 6, 7 and 8-string guitars includes RG and S models all of which are designed specifically for metal players, yet the styling is clean and neat enough to appeal to, if not every player, then certainly a wide cross-section of the guitar community.

On paper, the RGIR28FE 8-string (I bought mine from Ibanez Guitar Centre) reads pretty similarly to much of the RG line: super-thin neck (in this case a five-piece Maple, Walnut Nitro Wizard-8 profile), Basswood body, Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard and Jumbo frets. Read More …

NEW GUITAR DAY: Ibanez Iron Label 8-String

iron label 8 stringIt’s here! My new Ibanez RGIR28FE! I purchased it from Ibanez Guitar Centre  after a few months of research into which model was right for me. So why 8-string? Well, I’ve been playing 7-string for about 10 years now and sometimes it just feels like my music wants to go lower than the 7 is capable of. I like to play basslines and melodies at the same time, and it’s a real bummer when you just can’t reach all the notes you hear in your head. The Iron Label series is designed specifically with metal in mind, with aggressive styling and active EMG pickups on most models (some have DiMarzios), but to be honest I’m probably not going to be playing a huge amount of death metal on mine. The eighth string seems to lend itself to lots of stoner rock and goth ideas, and the occasional Geezer Butler-style bassline, so I can imagine playing a lot of really earthy sounding stuff on this as I become more and more familiar with it.  Read More …

NAMM: Ibanez Iron Label series 6, 7 and 8-strings

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For me, one of the most surprising Ibanez offerings of 2013 is the Iron Label series. These guitars seem to fall somewhere between the RG Tremolo/Fixed series and the Premium series in terms of pricing and attention to detail. And that 8-string is definitely calling my name. I played it for a while at NAMM today and it instantly felt like ‘my’ guitar… which is a problem, since I can’t AFFORD a new guitar at the moment. But I’d love to get one of these, and swap out those EMGs for some new active-sized passive Seymour Duncans. (Speaking of Seymour Duncan, the Custom Shop has built me my own pickup to my specs, called the Magnetar, and you’ll get to hear it soon. An 8-string Magnetar set would be killer in one of these!).

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The Iron Label series includes various 6, 7 and 8-string RG and S models, including some with and some without tremolos (the 8-string is fixed-bridge only, which frankly makes sense), and they feel great. The fretwork isn’t as finessed as the Premium line but otherwise they seemed to be very well constructed and well balanced. They feature active EMG humbuckers, basswood bodies and binding in contrasting colours (black binding on white models, white binding on black ones). Very classy and understated, and they feel a lot like the pre-Prestige Fujigen-made Ibanii of yore.

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Music Radar previews 2013 Ibanez line

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Wow! Didn’t expect these to be announced so soon, but Music Radar has the scoop on several killer new Ibanez models for 2013, including the RG550-XH, effectlively a new version of the RG2011SC, the 30-fret beast released a few NAMMs ago (and used in the studio by Dragonforce, according to Herman Li in my April 2012 interview), the new Iron Label series and … a Premium version of the venerable ‘green dot’ Universe 7-string!!! The UV70 features DiMarzio Blaze pickups and the same basic styling as one of the most missed early Universe models. Get the lowdown here.