Pros: Versatile, fast neck, good sound, good value.
Cons: Rough edges on neck, won't stay in tune if using trem.
This was my first electric guitar. I picked it up years ago at Sam Ash after saving my pennies for a few months. I was looking for a decent, inexpensive guitar for rock. I'm glad I bought it.
The guitar has a basswood body, maple neck/fretboard (24 extra-jumbo frets), three pickups (humbucker-single coil-humbucker), non-locking tremelo, a 5-way switch and 2 knobs (volume, tone).
The first thing I'll note is that this guitar has a VERY thin neck. It might not work too well for people with large fingers, but I have fairly slender fingers and I've found the slimmer neck allows me to play this guitar faster than others. I really like having 24 frets on the guitar as opposed to 21 or 22 on a standard strat or les paul, it gives you more options and the deep cutaway insures that you have no problem reaching those frets. I like that the frets are extra jumbo too. They require a lighter touch than smaller frets, although if you're used to playing heavy-handed then doing so on these might throw off the pitch a little.
I love the versatility of the pickup configuration. You can get a pretty decent variety of sounds. The distortion is pretty good with the humbuckers, and the clean sound is pretty nice with the single coil. Keep in mind that this is an entry-level guitar though. The tone might not be as good as a more expensive guitar- though I do own a more expensive Epiphone Les Paul, and honestly I prefer this guitar.
While I'm comparing the RG170 to my Epi LP, let me bring up the strap buttons. The ones on my Epiphone are smaller than the ones on my Ibanez. I've occasionally had problems with the strap coming loose from my guitars, but it happens a lot more often on the Epi.
The fit and finish of this guitar isn't perfect, but for what it costs I won't complain. I like the paintjob and everything, but the neck is a little rough. It should wear down after you've played it for awhile though.
This guitar stays in tune pretty well for me as long as I don't use the tremelo bar. (I don't know if it makes too much of a difference but the guitar came with 4 springs installed in the back to hold down the bridge and a 5th spare spring in the same baggy as the allen wrenches. I installed the 5th spring.) If you put in the whammy bar and start playing with it though, this guitar will go out of tune FAST. Not really a problem for me, as I don't like using it anyway.
I'd heartily recommend this guitar to a beginner.