The Ibanez RG2228 was the first mass produced solid body 8 string guitar. But is it still the best?
The Ibanez RG2228 was the first mass produced 8 string solid body electric guitar when it was launched in 2007. And it is still creating quite a noise 8 years later. Therefore if you are interested in an 8 string guitar then should you consider the Ibanez RG2228 and what can you expect from the elder statesman of 8 string guitars?
First thing to note this is a monster of a guitar, but that said I kind of like it. The Ibanez RG2228 is cut from basswood and has your typical super strat style body with deep cutaways around the neck and body contouring to create a more comfortable playing experience. With the guitar weighing in at a little over 4 kg comfort has got to be a key consideration and Ibanez have done a good job in that respect. However it is the neck on the Ibanez RG2228 which really sets this guitar apart from your bulk standard super strat. The bolt on neck is constructed from 5 sections of maple and wenge strengthened with titanium rods. The 24 fret rosewood fingerboard is truly monumental with a nut width of 55 mm and a final fret width of a full 80 mm. Compare this to the typical 43 mm nut width and 58 mm final fret width that you would find on a six string guitar in the RG series and you know that you have got a chunky neck to play with. Now I have small hands so struggle to get the full benefit from an 8 string guitar but this is actually a nice neck to play. Although there is a stretch to reach the lower strings that is to be expected. There are compromises to be had when adding additional strings to a guitar but Ibanez have certainly tried hard to not compromise on comfort and playability.
Moving onto the hardware on the Ibanez RG2228 things start to get interesting. The guitar is fitted with two EMG 808 active humbucking pick-ups. The 808s were specifically designed by EMG for Ibanez for the Ibanez RG2228 and some have questioned them as being a bit sterile. This may well be because they are active pickups. However, the EMG 808 active pick-ups are superb at producing a well-rounded tone, which because they are active, give clear definition between notes at high gain. This is especially important with the additional strings on the Ibanez RG2228 where you are extending the low range. The pickup choices are accessed through a 3 way selector switch and there is a master volume and tone controls so that you can experiment with the tonal output of the guitar. You can get the Ibanez RG2228 with either a fixed bridge or with a FX Edge III-8 bridge which once again was specifically designed for the 8 string guitar.
There are a number of 8 string guitars that are on the market and the Ibanez RG2228 is certainly not the cheapest. However, the fact that it is still around suggests that Ibanez have got the design just about right. Therefore if you are looking for an 8 string guitar then perhaps the Ibanez RG2228 is the guitar for you. After all why not buy the guitar that everyone else has copied.
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