Pros: Lightweight, exceptional sound, relatively inexpensive and easy to play.
Cons: It won't pick up beer bottles after band practice :-)
I have been playing guitar for many years and had experience playing on many different brands and models. My music is a combination of Rock, R&B, straight blues and funk. I do not consider what I write and play metal by any means of the term. I do however, like the sound of a screaming lead and have produced this sound for years with a Fender Stratocaster running through distortion racks and EQed to high heaven. It works well enough but I found the sound I was truly looking for the first time I picked up this Ibanez RG320DX.
I was at a buddy house for a jam party. Basically it was a party where all the members of our old band got together for a one nighter and jammed until 3AM or until we couldn't stand anymore. I took along the old Fender and my Marshall half stack (the same equipment I have been glued to for over 10 years) just like always.
There was a new guy there who had one of those "Heavy Metal" guitars and he had been practicing with the singer for a while. He wasn't very good but his guitar sounded very pronounced and I was intrigued immediately. At one of the million "beer breaks" I asked him if I could play it for a bit.
First impression was "Dam, this thing is really light!" Then I played it with no amplification. The guitar has an exceptionally clean sound right from the wood. I was impressed enough to plug it in and try it with amplification. I was amazed how much easier it was to play fast riffs with this guitar. The reason was that the neck was so thin I could wrap my entire hand around the neck even at the widest point.
This guitar has a quality of sound that is simply sweet. Using clean channel the strings resonate like bells and sustain is very long. Open chords (chords played at the base of the neck) sound just as good as power chords which also amazed me because most "Metal" guitars I have had experience with only sound good when playing power chords.
When you add distortion this guitar wakes up and comes to life. It has a very powerful sound even at low volumes and no buzz (as long as your amp doesn't buzz). It is really easy to take center stage and blast out a fast lead with this guitar.
The RG320DX has dual coil Powersound pickups that switch between 5 positions. The fretboard is made of rosewood, the neck is maple and the body is made of basswood. The guitar features a really sweet tremelo system that absolutely does not pull the guitar out of tune. The tremelo system comes with three springs inside that can be moved to four combinations of positions for style of tremelo desired. It has a nut lock to hold the strings once it is tuned and you can fine tune it with the tuning thumb screws on the bridge. The neck features mother-of-pearl inlay for fret positions and truss rod access beneath the head plate.
Do not change all the strings at once. Change the strings one at a time or you will play with the tuning for hours... literally! I made the mistake of changing all the strings at once the first time and it took me from 1:00PM until after 4:00PM to get the darn thing back in tune. When you remove all the strings it releases the tension on the neck and not only do you have to monkey around with the tuning, you have to realign the neck with the truss rod and it is a "Pain-in-the-butt".
My Lead Solution
I offered the guy $500 for this guitar (it was obviously brand new) and he called me back a few weeks later and accepted. I still use my Fender for rhythm and bluesy lead parts but the Ibanez is now my rocker. I use it for heavy lead parts and for chunky distortion rhythms. It has totally added a new dimension to my music and I am so glad I bought it.
The Ibanez RG320DX is definitely worth the money and has exceptional sound quality. If you play metal you need this guitar. If you play rock you need this guitar. If you play country, well... you don't need this guitar but it will do it just as well.
Thanks for reading,