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Ibanez RG Series RG8 Review – Superb Value and Playability

4.6 out of 5 stars

When looking towards the affordable 8-string guitar market, an Ibanez model was always in our sights. And the RG8, at under $400, is the cheapest model on our chart of the best 8-string guitars. On the face of it, there’s nothing particularly special – so what makes this guitar worthy of your time?

Ibanez-RG8-Body

Body & Neck

It’s not the most outlandish 8-string guitar we’ve seen, but it shows off solid looks that will appeal to 99% of guitarists. This is because Ibanez stick with the timeless RG Series superstrat body shape, with a large double-cutaway solid mahogany body. With a 27” scale length, it’s a larger guitar, but remains sleek and comfortable against the body.

The RG8 is available in two timeless colors – either black or white, with a high-gloss finish. There’s no body decoration, no fancy binding, nor fretboard inlays, just a simple but attractive axe that looks built for performance. It also feels built for performance – as most RGs are. This is thanks to the slim Wizard II-8 five-piece maple/walnut neck, which is smooth and comfortable in the hands, and sturdy with a bolt-on construction. This neck features a nut width of 2.165”, a rosewood fretboard, and 24 jumbo frets.

Ibanez-RG8-Headstock

Hardware

The RG8 comes fitted with two Ibanez-designed IBZ-8 passive humbuckers, which sit at the bridge and neck positions. Controls for these are kept simple, with just a single master tone and master volume rotary knob, as well as a three-way pickup selector switch. Everything else is stock hardware, but it does the job. Holding the eight strings in place is a simple but sturdy fixed bridge, while at the other end a set of black Ibanez tuners in a 4+4 configuration keep tuning in check.

Sound

For stock pickups, the two IBZ-8s are actually quite robust and offer a very good sound, more than ample for practice and experimentation, and would happily survive on stage. When clean, the tone is clearer than we expected, with no lack of low-end depth, although things do get a tad muddy as the distortion and volume increase. Still, for under $400, this is a great-sounding piece of kit.

Conclusion

There are no bells and whistles with the RG8, but what it lacks in wow factor it makes up for in quality and value, and – as such – is an excellent first 8-string for any player. It feels very well-built and the neck is a joy to play. While the pickups aren’t the clearest at higher volumes, they do a good job in providing a powerful voice. For an affordable mid-range 8-string, it’s hard to go wrong with the RG8.

For more info about the Ibanez RG Series RG8, click here.
For more 8 String Electric Guitar you might like, click here.


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