Ibanez RG8 Review – 2021 Guide

Craig
| Last Updated: March 12, 2021

If you’ve ever been curious to try an 8-string guitar, the Ibanez RG8 is a great place to start. 

This guitar provides plenty of options to players who want to experiment with new sounds. Here we’re going to explore everything you need to know about this guitar.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with the 8 strings design at and affordable price
  • For better sustain you get through-body stringing
  • Custom design Ibanez pickups in humbuck style included
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Ibanez RG8 8-String Electric Guitar White

PROS

  • Great pickups
  • Trusted history
  • Affordable pricing
  • Endless tuning options

CONS

  • Slight learning curve
  • Adjustments needed

Ibanez RG8 Specs

Type of Guitar: Electric

Body Type: Solidbody

Number of Strings: 8

Tonewood: Mahogany

Orientation: Right-Handed

Scale Length: 27” Baritone Scale

Color: Black, White

Weight: 11 lbs

Pickup Type: IBZ-8 Humbucker

Pros

Ready to learn more? Let’s look at some of the features that make the Ibanez RG8 stand out on the market:

Trusted History

The 8-string guitar has had an interesting history, tightly bound to the Ibanez brand. In their early days, Ibanez helped to form the foundations of 7 and 8 string guitar production, bringing them to the wide-scale popularity that we see today.

This brand's history of eight-string production speaks to the quality of this build and the informed decision making that has gone into its creation. Ibanez construction techniques are well respected in the seven and eight-string guitar arena. With an Ibanez eight-string, you’re working with some high quality, informed production behind your instrument.

Endless Tuning Options

The tuning abilities of an eight-string guitar, particularly those found on the RG8 model, provide a ton of different possibilities when it comes to your sound. This body comes with some basic factory tuning that can be modified to suit any player’s needs. If you’re interested in creating a signature sound unique to you, this eight-string model provides a perfect opportunity to get creative.

Great Pickups

This guitar has been fitted with pickups specially designed to make its sound shine. Here you’ll find IBZ-8 humbucker pickups. Though these aren’t as high-end as the pickups you’d find on a more expensive guitar, they still offer some stable, sufficient notes for a guitar of its price.

These pickups will help you find some great versatile tones and clear articulation. As these have been specially designed for an eight-string guitar, you can be assured that you’ll hit both the lowest lows and highest highs you’re looking to explore in this kind of model. The perfect amount of versatility to shine in different rock genres.

Affordable Pricing

Ibanez is a brand known to offer solid guitar offerings at affordable prices, and that’s exactly what you’ll encounter with the Ibanez RG8. This guitar's price point is extremely low compared to other eight-string guitars found on the market today.

Though high-end guitars may feature more high-end finishes and color options and some pricer hardware, the Ibanez R8 will still get the job done! The included hardware remains solid and reliable for the average player. While fairly simple, the design is much preferred by some players looking for a smart, clean look.

Cons

For every positive attribute, there is a drawback to keep on your radar. Let’s explore some of the areas where this model falls short:

Slight Learning Curve

A slight learning curve comes with picking up this instrument, which can be a limitation for some players. While the eight-strings found on this model offers a ton of diversity and versatility to its sound, it can also be difficult to get the hang of, especially for newer players, who may have more experience with traditional six-string guitars.

Of course, once mastered, this instrument can shine! But this difficulty is worth noting for curious beginners.

Adjustments Needed

The Ibanez RG8 is a simple, basic guitar with minimal features. Though it can produce a solid sound, many reviews online cite the need to make some adjustments to really bring it up to standard.

One common change among buyers is replacing the stock strings, as they tend to have fret buzzing issues. Poor factory set up is not uncommon with these kinds of builds, especially from a manufactured brand like Ibanez. There are also reports among users that a good amount of EQ tweaking is also necessary to get your highs and lows to shine.

What Are the Components of the Ibanez RG8? 

The Ibanez RG8 features some standard, reliable hardware designed to get the job done:

Pickups

As we mentioned earlier, the pickups found on the Ibanez model offer some solid tonal control. The ceramic IBZ-8 Humbucker is located at both the neck and bridge of this guitar. These provide a sufficient level of tone and output, though some users note that they struggle to showcase the full breadth of all eight strings.

They do a solid job at eliminating string buzz and managing tone, though this is a common part to replace by those who prefer to customize their instrument.

Knobs

The knobs found on this guitar are simple and easy to manage. This guitar has only two- one master volume knob and one master tone knob. There is also a lever for controlling your pickup configuration.

Bridge

The RG8 has an Ibanez fixed bridge, a common feature on less expensive, entry-level guitars on the market. While this offers a decent amount of stability, it does prevent modifying the guitar with any kind of tremolo arm or vibrato tailpiece.

Strings

It’s worth mentioning that many buyers have issues with the stock strings that come on this model, citing fret buzzing issues that hinder your ability to play with a nice clean sound. Though some modifications via tuning can help, reviewers online recommend replacing stock strings with high gauge strings.

What Types of Music is the Ibanez RG8 Best For?

The Ibanez RG8 can provide some great tones, particularly shining in the work of rock and metal:

Metal

Many people consider the RG8 to be a go-to entry-level guitar for those interested in playing metal music. This guitar can handle down turnings quite well, making it suitable for prog styles and death metal playing.

Rock

Rock players can also appreciate the wide range of tones that can be achieved with the RG8. With some adjustments, you can achieve some clean, gritty sounds with a powerful kick behind them. The ability to customize the tuning on this eight-string guitar can give you tons of opportunities to customize your sound to suit your needs.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Ibanez RG8 Suitable For?

This guitar is suitable for all kinds of players! Beginners can appreciate the lower price point, thanks to a simple, clean body and basic hardware. It’s a great entry point for metal and grunge players who want to enter the world of eight-string guitars.

Intermediate players can also make this a part of an existing collection. With a low price point, the ability to modify this guitar is more than justifiable from a buyer’s end. It’s also an ideal choice for a backup instrument if you need something stable for a frequent gig playing. 

What Makes the Ibanez RG8 Stand Out From the Competition?

A combination of solid pricing, a clean build, and Ibanez’s existing legacy in the seven and eight-string guitar world mark the RG8 as a standout piece. An Ibanez eight-string is a well-crafted instrument, informed by years of history and perfected craftsmanship.

If you’re going to go for an eight-string guitar, you may as well purchase one from the brand that laid the foundation for this kind of instrument.

The low price point is simply the cherry on top of a great purchase. Comparable brands, including Agile, Schecter, and LTD, don’t make eight-string models in this price range with similar quality. The Ibanez RG8, in that regard, is truly one of a kind.

Comparison Overview

Curious about other models? Let’s see how the Ibanez RG8 compared to similar models on the market:

Ibanez RG8 vs Ibanez RG8004

Both of these solid-body electric guitars are eight-string staples in the Ibanez lineup. The RG8004, released in 2014, was seen as an upgraded version of 2012’s RG8. Their builds are similar, featuring the same Ibanez humbucking pickups, controls, and a fixed bridge.

The biggest difference between these two models is their finishes, with the RG8004 coming in Black Flat, Gray Pewter, Metallic Red Sunburst, Metalling Silver Sunburst, and Starlight Blue Sunburst. Way more options than the standard Black and White offerings on the RG8.

The only differences between these two models are the increased color options and body wood choices. The RG8004 has different color options that the RG8 lacks, but the RG8 comes in different base woods depending on its production year, where the RG8004 only comes in Mahogany.

Ibanez RG8 vs Rondo Agile Septor

The Rondo Agile Septor presents some competition to the Ibanez RG8. If you have the extra money to spend, going for the Agile can provide a slightly more impressive build.

For the extra money, you’d spend on the Agile Septor, you are getting a slight increase in quality. These guitars are manufactured in Korea, but feature American made Seymour Duncan Blackout Pickups, an adjustable truss rod, and Grover 18:1 tuners. These components offer some higher quality when compared to the Ibanez parts found on the RG8.

Changing Pickups on the Ibanez RG8

Need to change your pickups? We’ve got you covered! Just follow the following tips:

  1. Step one is to disassemble your guitar. Remove all the strings, old pickups, and backplates to reveal the electronic section.

  2. Next, remove the internal electronics from the electronic section. It’s easiest to just clip through them and remove them.

  3. Next, you’ll want to cauterize and attach the new pickups to your guitar, feeding the new wires to the electronic section.

  4. Once both your neck and bridge pickups have been attached, you’ll need to plug in the new wiring.

  5. Once you’ve finished attaching and setting up your new writing, re-attach the backplate over the electronic section

With those steps, you should be good to go! Adding new pickups to any guitar can be an intimidating process, but you need not fear. If you’re feeling nervous about embarking on this process on your own, you can always pay for a reputable technician to make the changes for you.

If you want to know more about installing new pickups, check out this detailed instructional video here. This shows how to add new pickups to an Ibanez R8 specifically.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to invest in your first eight-string guitar or add one to an expansive collection, the Ibanez RG8 is a solid choice. Some decent hardware, a strong body build, and incredible tonal possibilities make this guitar hard to beat. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this modestly priced instrument.

People Also Ask

If you want to know more, explore these commonly asked questions regarding the Ibanez RG8:

How to Care for an Ibanez R8 Guitar

Employing some guitar care best practices can help your guitar last a lifetime. Try to avoid being too rough and tumble with your guitar, storing it in a carrying case somewhere cool and dry between uses. Regular polishing and cleaning can also help to extend the longevity of your instrument.

How to Date an Ibanez RG8

The secret to identifying the date on Ibanez guitars is to locate the serial number. These digits will reveal the age of your guitar, as well as where it was manufactured. Other specifications, such as the wood base, can also indicate the RG8s year of production. Basswood was used from 2012-2014, Mahogany from 2016-2018, and Meranti from 2019-2020.

Who Plays an Ibanez RG8?

There have been many iconic musical figures who have favored the use of Iabnez’s RG models. Some of these iconic figures include Suicidal Tendencies Rock George, The Offspring’s Dexter Holland, and both Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt from Exodus.

Why Are Ibanez RG8 Pickups So Big?

The Ibanez RG8 runs a little large compared to other solid-body guitars, but this is to be expected! An eight-string guitar needs a bigger body, bigger neck, and bigger build in general to house the gear that makes it shine. Due to this bigger size, larger pickups are necessary to house the two extra strings on this model compared to the more common six-string guitar.

Craig

Hi there, my name is Craig. I took over Gear Savvy in mid-2019 and have had a blast writing content about music ever since. My role here is to steer the ship and ensure readers have the best information available for learning a thing or two. When I’m not working on content, I’m a husband and a dad. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, or messing around in my woodshop.