Monday, November 1, 2021


 Happy Birthday to me.... 

I've kind of wanted a 7 string ever since Steve Vai played one on Passion and Warfare and Whitesnake's Slip of the Tongue. But in those days 7 string guitars were rare and pretty expensive. In the early 2000's when every manufacture seemed to explode with less expensive 7's, the band I was in liked down tuned six strings. I didn't need a 7 and I was fine with that. Plus a lot of those less expensive seven strings had issues, the necks would twist and honestly I was a bit spoiled by some of my nice guitars. 

About two weeks ago I was again thinking about getting a 7 string when a used Sterling by MusicMan JP7 showed up at my local Guitar Center. Music Man's have always been a bit odd to me, I like them but for some reason I've just never fallen in love with one. Still I was thinking about going and checking it out. Then this Ibanez showed up at the same store. But with an hour drive I decided if I didn't love either of these guitars I wasn't going to get one.  Still I had to drive down and check them out. 


The RGD IR7M was made in 2018-2019. In 2018 they used mahogany and in 19 they used nyatoh a cousin to mahogany that sounds similar(this one is an 18) Other than that they are exactly the same. The locking tuners and the proprietary Gibraltar Bridge are made by Gotoh. The pickups are made by DiMarzio for Ibanez and are called Fusion Edge pickups. The finish is a matte metallic blue and the neck is a 3 piece and the fretboard is Birdseye maple. 

The Indonesian made Iron Label series has been out for a few years and if you read the online reviews they can be hit and miss. The factory they are made in is owned by Cort Guitars which is not a brand in the past I have associated with well made guitars, but the specs on this guitar intrigued me. 7 strings, hard tail, 26.5 inch scale. Also the blue is pretty sexy.

When I got to GC I checked out some of the other guitars first and then headed over to the used section. I played both guitars for a few minutes. The JP7 had a few dings and played fine but it didn't speak to me. But the Ibby on the other hand was in very good shape. There were no dings or scratches, just a bit of burnishing around the volume knob and on the upper bevel where the arm sits. There is also a tad bit of finish rubbed off the bass side of the bridge. The strings hadn't been changed in a long long time. If I had to guess someone bought it played it for a few weeks and put it in their closet. 


I wasn't sure about the position of the switch but it sits just forward of where I tend to pick so it's never in the way and using it is as easy as sticking out a finger on my picking hand. I have to say I really like the extra inch on the scale length. Much like going from a 24.75 to 25.5 there is a difference in how the strings bloom. Also I had read a lot of mixed reviews on DiMarzio Fusion Edge pickups. I have to say I expected to dislike them but they sound pretty good and I've decided I will leave them for the time being. From what I've read online these are what the DiMarzio Titan's are based on. 

Now on to the most important thing. How does it play? Pretty great! This guitar plays as well as my Ibanez Prestige S1520BP which I have often said is like driving an exotic car. The neck is a bit thicker (and of course wider) but it's very comfortable. And the tension is very even all over the neck. A lot of lower end guitars have a very uneven tension. The Gotoh locking tuners keep the strings in tune very well. 


So what might I change. I think I might swap out the volume pot for a push pull to take advantage of the coil splits and when I do that I'm going to have a graphtech nut put in. I've also read that Hipshot makes a direct replacement bridge for the Gibraltar II so that is an option. And the pickups? I don't know yet but at the moment I kind of like these. I do like the Seymour Duncan Alpha Omega set and I'm curious about Bare Knuckles so I'm considering them also. 

I don't know yet exactly where I'm going to fall with this guitar but I am really enjoying it. Aside from its djenty qualities it's a really nice playing guitar and it sounds really good. But considering the great shape it's in and that I got it at HALF of MAP pricing I'm gonna say it's a win! 

No comments:

Post a Comment