The Ibanez Premium RG6PCMLTD: “A Worldly Piece of Tonal Art”
I had first pulled this instrument, the RG6PCMLTD-SRG, from it’s box with delicate yet cautious trepidation. Upon first sight, I’d caught the beautiful reflection of the Curly Maple on the 3.5mm top and the gorgeously figured fretboard. As I grab the guitar by the neck, I feel the smooth, grainy, satin texture of quite possibly the most perfectly shaped neck I’ve ever felt. I have played guitars from Ibanez on many occasions, the wizard neck on prestiges being a work of art and engineering in itself, with it’s slim structure and astounding quality. The neck on this RG6 is not as thin per se (being just 1mm thicker than the profile of the prestige wizard neck of the RG652/655 from neck top to neck back, but all have equal widths at the nut and 24th fret), but contoured to my hand in a very different fashion than any other Ibanez I’ve played. It felt like it was crafted specifically for my hands in an almost ergonomic fashion. It has the first 11 piece neck from Ibanez, constructed of a few unconventional woods not seen on many of the larger guitar companies on 6 or 7-string guitars. Wenge, native to the west coast counties of central Africa, Rock Maple, native to New England and Canada, Purpleheart, native to the north-eastern area of South America (also one of the stiffest woods in the world), Bubinga, native to Cameroon and other countries in central Africa (also extremely rigid) and topped off with a fretboard made of Curly Maple (aka Tiger maple), Native to areas from Texas to Maine; The fusion of these woods in such a way, makes for not only a pretty neck, but quite frankly, one of the best necks I’ve ever played. The jumbo frets are carefully crafted from Stainless Steel with the Ibanez “Premium Fret-End Treatment” and the brightness of the combination with a maple fretboard shines through when playing with ease. No dead spots, no sharp frets, low action, and perfect intonation. The luminescent side-dot inlays are a nice touch too. It’s essentially everything one could ask for AND some from Ibanez.
The beautifully faded, translucent red colored body, is crafted from Ash (native to North and central America as well as Asia and Europe) underneath the 3.5mm curly maple top, which leads me to my next major point; This thing is HEAVY, but in a great way. I’ve held many RGs in my time, but this one echoes the weight and balance to the likes of “J. Custom” levels, an astounding feat given that the “Premium” line is crafted in Indonesia. I’m a big fan of heavy guitars, this one feels dense and solid, but even more to my satisfaction, it’s far from “neck-heavy”. It’s actually, surprisingly well balanced. It has the Edge-Zero II Floating Trem with the “Zero-Point System” to adjust spring tension with a roll of the thumb. During my test I had put that trem system through a serious beating, and only g-string fell out of tune 6 or 7 hundredths, of which after adjustment did not happen again in the 90 minutes or so I used it for band practice. The idea of using Gotoh Locking tuners with a locking bridge system seemed redundant upon my first thought, but it actually seemed to contribute to the system well. This thing REALLY held a tune extremely well. That peace of mind alone just added to the growing perspective that the RG6PCMLTD is a serious workhorse, like a Chevy Corvette it can be a daily driver, a race car, and a thing of beauty all at once.
The electronics are practically already after-market, featuring the same trifecta of DiMarzio madness that are in the current Prestige models. In the Bridge is the Dimarzio “Tone Zone”, the commonly matched “Air Norton” in the neck slot, with a “True Velvet” single coil in the middle. They most definitely get the job done and work well with how bright the neck is, harmonics are a breeze and high-gain playing is encouraged with this setup, but a VERY wide array of tones are achievable with the 5-way switching. One thing that’s not often mentioned is that the internals have had an added touch of copper shielding to prevent extraneous noise from interfering with the electronics. Little things like that add up to me, when a larger company goes above and beyond with something the average customer will never even look at, and knowing it’s covered.
Playing the RG6 is a breeze, it has an acute natural voicing when played unplugged. You can really feel through the quality of the wood that it will have tremendous sustain, which without a brass trem block, isn’t all that common amongst floating trem RG’s… and then I plug it in, WOW. Now, I’m playing it through a Lerxst Chi amp, which is essentially a “more bulletproof” 15 watt version of a Marshall Silver Jubilee handcrafted by MojoTone in North Carolina with their best parts. It allows me to really crank it and get a feel of the response and versatility of the RG6. Throughout the range of various gains and volumes, the RG6 can sound delicate and beautiful when splitting humbucker coils and pairing with the single coil (positions 2 or 4 on the switch) on the clean, to straight up “Chikin Pikin” when a touch of gain added. You can run a strong overdrive on the Neck or middle single coil (position 1 or 3) for some serious bluesy tones, to a full on screaming hard rock monster with the bridge on full (position 5). As a ‘Floating Trem’ the bridge is naturally tight by design, however there is a set of springs easily removed without tools (except for a screwdriver to remove and reinstall the back-plate cover) by merely popping open the back cover of the Zero-point system, allowing for MUCH more flexibility. Of course the tightening of the spring tension could be required to re-balance the bridge, but hey, you can do that with the roll of a thumb on the Zero-Point system. Easy Breezy. By doing that, the trem is no longer as tight and will allow for trem fluttering and whatever all you crazy virtuosos do.
There’s an Elephant in the room
So it’s all good and gold so far right?
If you’re looking at this guitar seriously you probably noticed one major concern a lot of people have, “well, for that much why wouldn’t I just buy a Prestige?” to which i say, you can… but that very Prestige would be relatively basic in terms of details, details like this 11-piece neck with SS frets; not available on any Prestige models prior to Ibanez’ 2017 lineup.
All in all, the RG6PCMLTD has shown me that Ibanez can make a guitar of astounding quality, solid weight, bulletproof feel, incredible playability and tone, a real top (as opposed to the common veneer), and an aesthetically pleasing look by using woods from all over the globe and crafting them to a single instrument of marvelous synergy. It easily blows all other guitars I’ve owned out of the water in a playability sense. I feel like it is a “J. Custom” disguised with the wrong head-stock logo. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself, I promise, it will hang with the best of them.
So I hope you’ve found this article insightful and enjoyed my first ever official review here at GearSnobs.com. Just to give some information about myself I’m an avid player and collector of guitars for about 20 years now. I’ve always considered myself a “Gretsch-man” as the quality, feel, and unique tones always peaked my interest. I am a stringed instrument tech for a company and have worked on over 100,000 guitars, basses, mandolins, banjos, and ukes of every price-range imaginable. So I’d like to think that I know a little bit about the craft and have seen just about every twisted neck, every ding, every uneven tape-off job, every potential flaw on instruments…of course, while loving every second of it. To say I have a passion for the craft, would be a colossal understatement.
Click the following link to purchase one of these beauties from zZounds!!! http://www.zzounds.com/a–3858995/item–IBARG6PCMLTD
Pictures courtesy of @ZakkConnor