If you need a solid mid-range electric guitar, Ibanez is a great brand to select. While they're known for quality student guitars, their higher-end options are played by the likes of Steve Vai. Today, we'll be looking at an especially versatile Ibanez -- the RG450DX. This three-pickup double-cutaway is just as at home shredding as it is playing blues.
PRO's & CON's of Ibanez RG450DX
before we get into our Ibanez RG450DX review, let's check out some pros and cons:
Features and Benefits
The RG450DX electric guitar is one of Ibanez's most tonally versatile models. While it looks and feels like a rock or metal guitar, the Ibanez RG450DX is capable of sounds to suit almost any genre. Let's take a look at some of its more remarkable features.
Tonewoods And Body Style
The Ibanez RG450DX is what some players call a "superstrat" -- its body style is reminiscent of a Stratocaster, but its unique pickup configuration makes it better suited to rock and similar genres. This electric guitar has a double-cutaway body that gives you incredible fret access for playing leads.
At this price point, you might expect to see a guitar made with basswood or another cheap tonewood. However, the RG450DX has a solid mahogany body. Mahogany is especially suited to metal -- it's capable of punchy growls that cut through the mix, but it's articulate enough to avoid sounding muddy. Plus, mahogany is known for its incredible sustain.
The neck on the RG450DX is maple. Maple is probably the most common neck material on electric guitars. It's dense and hard enough to resist warping, and it also imparts clarity to your playing.
All in all, we're impressed by the quality of the tonewoods used on this electric guitar, especially given its low price. If you want to get a closer look, check out this video demo.
Pickups and Sound Quality
The wood used to build an electric guitar plays a significant role in shaping the sound, but the pickups do, too. The Ibanez RG450DX comes with Quantum pickups. These pickups are a great value, and they sound a lot better than what you get on a lower-end model. Quantum pickups are used in both mid-range and high-end Ibanez models.
We like the HSH layout. The neck pickup is a Quantum 3 humbucker, the bridge pickup is a Quantum 4 humbucker, and the middle pickup is a Quantum S3 single coil. Having two slightly different humbuckers is a good move -- it makes it easier to get more tonal variation out of your guitar. And having a single coil is an asset if you want to be able to move away from rock and metal sometimes.
The Ibanez RG450DX really shines when it comes to pickup switching. Most low-end and mid-range guitars have simplified switching options, but the 5-way switching on this model gives you plenty of options. There's one master volume and one master tone control.
Most people will probably be playing this guitar through high-gain effects, and we think the Quantum pickups work beautifully this way. There's just enough crunch, and they're still clear enough. That said, some reviews mention that the pickups start to sound muddy with heavy distortion or overdrive. This comes down to a matter of opinion -- you can listen to the RG450DX electric guitar here and decide for yourself.
The clean tone of this guitar doesn't have a whole lot of warmth, but that's to be expected with a guitar like this one. However, for genres like blues or pop, it will sound decent with a little reverb (and maybe a little overdrive).
The RG450DX electric guitar is incredibly playable, largely thanks to its Wizard III maple neck. The Wizard necks from Ibanez are well known for their playability -- they're incredibly thin and make it easy to move rapidly down the neck and back again. The nack is capped by a jatoba fingerboard. Jatoba is used by Ibanez on the RG Series and other series in order to keep prices low. This wood has an eye-catching striped appearance that makes it look a bit like rosewood. But unlike many tonewoods marketed as rosewood alternatives, jatoba is incredibly hard and dense, which means it isn't prone to pitting or excessive wear.
This guitar comes equipped with a DL tremolo bridge. You may be wondering whether the RG450DX stays in tune with using the tremolo, especially if you do a lot of dive-bombing. The answer is yes. At the top of the maple neck is a locking nut. This is an alternative to locking tuners, and it works by holding the strings still in their slots on the nut. We also checked out several Ibanez RG450DX reviews to make sure other players had the same experience we did. Lots of reviewers commented on the excellent tuning stability, which is a little surprising for a fairly inexpensive guitar.
Lots of players assume that less expensive guitars like this won't be as playable as very high-end models, but the Ibanez RG450DX proves them wrong. While its pickups and build quality might not be the same as a guitar twice the price, the playability of the RG450DX rivals that of many more expensive instruments. To get a closer look, check out this video review.
Fit, Finish, and Appointments
One of the first things we noticed about the Ibanez RG450DX was its lovely Starlight Blue finish. It's a softer look than many Ibanez models, and it's a color you'd expect to find on a Telecaster instead. The headstock is also finished to match the body -- a fairly dramatic look that we usually see on more expensive instruments.
The urethane finish is fairly resistant to scratches and dings, which is a plus if you intend to gig with this one. The white pickguard looks nice against the Starlight Blue, and it contrasts sharply with the black finish of the pickups and bridge.
This guitar comes with Ibanez tuners. Combined with the locking nut, they hold tune fairly well. They don't match the rest of the guitar's black hardware, but we think that's fairly inconsequential. And just like many Ibanez models, this one has some eye-catching fretboard inlays -- the 24 jumbo frets are adorned with Sharktooth inlays for just enough edge. To get a closer look, check out this video.
In most cases, the RG450DX arrives ready to play, although you may want to give it a setup and intonation. We did notice that reviews mentioned the occasional quality control issue, but other than that, the fit and finish of the RG450DX are solid.
Social Proof of the Pedal
You already know that Ibanez is known for great guitars that are still affordable. And while it might be ideal to try out a guitar in person before buying, this isn't always possible. If you want to make sure the Ibanez RG450DX is the best guitar for you, it's a good idea to see what other players have to say about it. The customer reviews we found were almost universally positive -- here are a few that we think may be helpful.
This review highlights one of the primary benefits of the RG450DX -- the fast Wizard III neck makes it incredibly comfortable to play, even for players with wrist issues. And like many reviewers, this person found that the RG450DX sounded and played better than much more expensive guitars.
In this especially glowing Ibanez RG450DX review, this buyer says that this model may even be better than a Les Paul Standard. This review also highlights the fact that the RG450DX is also an excellent project guitar -- if you want to upgrade it, it's easy to install new pickups.
This review also praises the RG450DX electric guitar. However, it also provides some good advice -- on a mid-range guitar like this one, you may need to check the intonation to make sure it sounds as good as it possibly can.
Ibanez is known for affordable, great-playing electric guitars. And while many of their models are best-suited to metal, the RG450DX's pickup configuration makes it an excellent choice for rock or blues, too. If you want a great guitar that stays in tune even while playing with a tremolo (and that's incredibly affordable), we think the RG450DX is worth a look. Click here to check it out!