Ibanez RG420EG SBK review

  • £429
  • €459
Spidey's here!

MusicRadar Verdict

Don't be arachnophobic - give it a try!


  • +

    Cool spider vibe, quality feel, ball-breaking tone.


  • -

    Some will dismiss the web design as a gimmick.

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You can keep your snakes, bats, eagles and scorpions: the coolest creature in rock 'n' roll is the spider, eight hands down.

It is one of TG's eternal regrets that we never got a cobweb tattooed onto our forehead, so imagine our excitement at news that Ibanez has launched an RG model whose engraved body delivers comparable arachnid kudos without rendering us unemployable. Best of all, this beast comes in at just £429.

The Ibanez crew's been watching Lord Of The Rings. "For two decades," thunders the blurb, "the legion of RG warriors has grown like a virus, thrusting the RG to the head of the metal pack.

Fast, flat necks, rabid pickups and double-locking trems create sonic demons from beyond the world of mortals!"

Erm, right you are. Cobweb aside, the RG420EG is actually a pretty standard RG in terms of spec, but that's no bad thing.

Alongside the familiar doublecut basswood body, we've got the revered Edge III tremolo system and Ibanez's respected V7 and V8 humbuckers, plus the Wizard II maple bolt-neck that has always impressed TG with its tendency to make our fingers become a warp-speed blur. This spider axe is metal to the max.

Novelty looks

Nobody buys a guitar on the basis that it looks like the habitat of a spider, and TG was keen to establish the RG420EG offers more than a novelty finish.

Moments later, we were convinced. TG was impressed by the now classic contours of the RG format, and knocked out once again by the flat feel and mental speed of the neck. If you're crap, you'll play better. If you're good, there are no limits.

Better still are the V7 and V8, whose humbucking coils can be voiced five different ways, and qualify the RG420EG as one of few metal axes that can be used for more than heads-down filth.

We got a woody, characterful warmth at the neck, a venomous bite at the bridge, and convincing rock and funk tones in between. It sounds huge under distortion, but doesn't let you down when you back off the dial.

Some will dismiss the 420EG as an adolescent gimmick and keep walking. More fool them: this is a serious guitar with a performance that punches well above its price point. Unless you are actually a bluebottle, we suggest you take a closer look.