As the legion of converts to the “made-for-metal” Iron Label series continues to grow, Ibanez continues to tap the seismic underworld for inspiration. Working their famous RG from the “chassis” up, Ibanez speaks to the flash and fury of the frantic shredder with the RGIR38BFE.
For the metal lead guitarist that demands an instrument that is responsive and intuitive, Ibanez comes through with an Iron Label model designed to deliver on command. The RGIR38BFE’s Mahogany body and EMG 808 pickups are the perfect combination to put out plenty of sonic diversity and power and come with a kill switch for some cool strobe effects that will take your solos into another dimension.
Durable and comfortable 27” scale 5-piece Maple/ Walnut Ibanez “Nitro Wizard 8” neck, its Rosewood fretboard and jumbo frets offer effortless fingering the full length of the fretboard. Designed for stability and sustain, the rock-solid Gibraltar Standard II-8 bridge is ready to handle the most extreme string bends as well as the most aggressive rhythm techniques. Gotoh® locking machine heads help provide superior tuning stability and expedite string changes. With the purposefully Spartan “made-for-metal” Iron Label, you won’t find a feature here that doesn’t contribute directly to waking the dead.
Black Flat finish
5pc Maple/ Walnut "Nitro Wizard-8" neck (27" scale)
Bound Rosewood fretboard
EMG 808 neck pickup
EMG 808 bridge pickup
Kill switch equipped
Gibraltar Standard II-8 bridge
Gotoh locking tuners
Factory Tuning (from 1st to 8th): 1D#, 2A#, 3F#, 4C#, 5G#, 6D#, 7A#, 8F
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Over the years, I've owned many 8 strings. My first was the initial run of the RG2228, then an LTD SC 8 string. I tried a couple others (Agile and Schecter), but all of them were missing something. Then the Iron Labels came around. I picked this up after falling in love with the flat black and cream pinstripe design (by the way, the pinstripe is inlaid, it's not just a strip of paint or a sticker), the mahogany body, and absence of fretboard inlays. I had never tried the nitro necks, but wow. Even thinner than the RG2228 necks. The walnut strips in the neck are aesthetically pleasing and give confidence that the neck is more reinforced than in years past. The mahogany body makes this thing sound massive, and gives a pleasing mellow tone in the highs (as is the norm for mahogany). The cut of rosewood on the fretboard is among the darkest and prettiest I've ever had on a guitar. Add in the locking tuners and the Gibraltar bridge, and I was sold (though ideally I would want a Hipshot bridge on it).
This is not to say it's a perfect guitar. The EMG 808x pickups, while giving a large sound, tend to over-compress and give muddy tones in the lower registers. Taking the pickup height down from the stock position however, some of the tone started to be sacrificed. Still experimenting with this, but I will probably end up replacing them with Bare Knuckles or SDs.
The tuning key for the low F# also has issues when putting in heavier strings than the stock .65 gauge. To get a .70 or above into the key, I had to run a drill bit through it to open it up a little more (this does not harm the locking tuner as long as it is loose).
The fret edgework also needed some slight filing, and I had to give the guitar an initial setup (though the factory setup wasn't bad). DEFINITELY oil the fretboard.
Bottom line: Even with my nit-picks, this is the best 8 I've ever owned. I highly recommend it to anyone, even if it's your first 8 string.
Ibanez Iron Label RG Series RGIR38BFE 8-String Electric Guitar Flat Black