SMG Review: Ibanez RGD7421 – A Metalhead’s Dream Axe!
OFF THE RACK
In my quest to create a life of Zen by way of shredding, I have always been one to seek out the tools of the trade that can best recreate the idiosyncrasies in my down tuned metal head mind. I have almost primarily leaned on Ibanez guitars to provide such tools. Well once again the boys and girls at Hoshino have created yet another MONSTER AXE, that when wielded with a strong arm, may just cut through the thickest of the thick! What is this heavy duty heavy metal monstrosity I speak? It is none other than the Ibanez RGD7421!
The RGD7421 was introduced at the 2012 Winter NAMM Show and proves again that Ibanez not only innovated the use of the 7 string for low tuned players but has taken the instrument in many diverse directions. Now allow me to interject some personal retort before progressing any further with my review. Athough I am indeed an Ibanez endorsee and have been biased towards Ibanez for many years, if I did not like this particular model guitar, I would not have reviewed it . With that being said, let me give you a brief insight into my personal connection with the 7 string guitar and why I love my new RGD7421.
For years I was a JEM guy and I played the original floral print model as well as the black finish with green pickups for YEARS. As I progressed further into the progressive metal scene, I needed to go lower (and playing death metal on a guitar with pink flowers wasn’t good for my image) so I saved my cash and bought a Universe (the black one with the triangle on it and mirrored pickguard). I absolutely loved it, but it was heavy and felt too “nice” for the brutality I was imposing on it nightly so I eventually sold it and just turned my standard 6 strings into “mock baritones.”
Fast forward a few years and I started jamming with Head from Korn who was now using a custom made RGD Prestige baritone. Now these guitars are completely bad ass and that’s all I can say about them as they are not a model for sale to the general public so it’s hard to review or promote something that only exists in the hands of a few. But when I visited the Ibanez booth at NAMM this year and picked up the RGD7421 I was hooked! After becoming so attached to my RGD Baritone I wanted to explore the 7 again or maybe even an 8 string and the RGD7421 was perfect and here is why.
RGD models have an extended scale neck (26.5) built for lower tunings and come tuned a whole step down from standard tuning so it’s factory tuned to A D G C F A D. The other thing that makes the RGD line so unique (and applies to 6 string models in this line also) are the extra contours and cuts that make accessing higher frets a breeze even for the low slingers who hold the guitar below the belt. The RGD7421 also comes loaded with Ibanez’s CAP-VK pickups which are designed to enhance the low-end response and reproduce these frequencies with crisp clarity, which I have to say they really do well. They feature the classic Wizard II neck (with an extended scale as mentioned earlier) which is a fast shredding neck and makes it an easy transition to the 7 string for any player that grew up with the RG series or the Jem.
THE LOW DOWN
The Ibanez RGD7421 is available with a Edge-Zero II tremolo or a Gibraltar Standard fixed bridge (which is the one I opted for) both of which offer great string support, help keep your axe in tune, and can accommodate thick string gauges. As for my setup, I use a 75 gauge D’Addario Chrome flat wound string on the low A (which I have dropped to G) and I had to drill the tuning peg hole a bit wider in order to fit the 75 gauge string but it was a snap and works perfectly. I also filed the nut down a bit on the A D & G strings to get a smooth fit for the big fat flat wounds I use. Lastly the weight factor, this baby is LIGHT which is really cool! Most heshers like myself get pretty wild onstage and having a 10-15lb weight hanging off your shoulder can do some serious damage. But the RGD7421 is as light as a feather yet feels solid and well constructed. Top it off with a bitchin’ flat black finish and you got yourself one deep, dark and delicious piece of machinery!