Ibanez RG450DX Review: Is it the Best Value Ibanez Guitar You Can Buy?
If you’re a guitarist looking for an instrument with a wide range of playability, especially one that facilitates fast playing, you’re going to need a guitar that is built for the job. You wouldn’t take a Ford F150 down to the race track, right?
This is why the Ibanez RG Series is one of the most popular series of guitars in the world. Ibanez has practically set the standard for “Super Strat” style guitars.
What’s even better is that Ibanez makes guitars for every type of budget. Case and point – the Ibanez RG450DX.
In this Ibanez RG450DX review, I’ll explain the features that make this guitar a great budget (and shred)-friendly instrument, as well as answer frequently asked questions about its design.
About Ibanez Guitars
Ibanez is one of the most iconic guitar brands since the 1950s known for producing stunning guitars with exception craftsmanship and playability.
Ibanez is a Japanese guitar manufacturing company that has existed as we know it since 1957, but their roots as luthiers extends back to the late 1930’s.
While the brand started off making copies of Fender, Gibson, and Gretsch in the late sixties, they soon started making more original designs meant to push the guitar forward as the possibilities and demands of the instrument became more apparent.
The RG Series spawned shortly after the creation of the Ibanez JEM that was made in collaboration with Steve Vai. Since 1987, the RG Series has been one of the most iconic and influential super-strat guitars that has been used by guitarists of all ages and experience levels.
Ibanez is played by guitarists of all styles. Artists that used Ibanez guitars include Chon, Pat Metheny, Paul Gilbert, Thundercat, Lari Basilio, and more.
Ibanez RG450DX Review Highlights:
Considering the price point that the RG Standard series comes in at, there is a lot to be admired with these guitars. I had to be extremely nitpicky about my critiques as well and I expect they will not be deal breakers for many.
What We Liked
- Pro-Level features such as DL Tremolo bridge and locking tuners/nut at budget friendly price
- Wizard III Neck designed for speedy playing
- Dual Humbucker/Single Coil pickup combo will work with a wide variety of musical genres and playing styles
What We Didn’t Like
- Finish Options – Only comes in Starlight Blue or White
- Jumbo Frets – Most players looking for speed like Jumbo Frets, but some find it feels more like “more metal than wood”. Not for everyone.
Ibanez RG450DX Review: Features & Specifications
- Maple Wizard III Maple Neck – built for speed and stability
- HSH pickup configuration (Quantum)
- DL tremolo bridge with locking nut and tuners (Black)
- 24 x Jumbo Frets
- Meranti body wood
- Jatoba Fretboard
Ibanez RG450DX Review: Our Insights
As you have hopefully noticed by now, the Ibanez RG450DX punches well above its weight class in terms of price, features, and playability. Let’s do a deep-dive into this guitar and what one can expect when playing it.
I was someone who for a long time thought that Ibanez only made cheap guitars. My first guitar was an Ibanez Gio, afterall. I was able to get the guitar, as well as a 5 watt, solid state amplifier for around $100.
However, I came to realize that Ibanez is a top-notch guitar manufacturer. The fact that they make budget-friendly guitars does not detract from the fact that they make guitars worth playing, no matter the price point.
Let’s take a closer look at the specs of the RG450DX that make it both high-quality and affordable.
One way that Ibanez is able to keep their price down on the RG Standard Series is through their choice of tone woods.
The body is made of Meranti, which is comparable to Mahogany in terms of hardness and stability. It is lightweight, but lacks the true tonal richness of Honduran mahogany. The fretboard is made of Jatoba, which is often compared to rosewood, is porous and light in its color.
The woods selected for the RG450DX are readily available for manufacturing and are cheaper to use than the tonewoods one usually associates with professional level guitars (such as genuine mahogany and rosewood), while still delivering the aesthetics and decent tonality.
Hardware and Electronics
Ibanez has a long history of making high quality, yet cost effective electronics – just look at the Ibanez Tube Screamer.
Ibanez often use their own pickups for their low-to-medium range guitar lines, including the RG Standard series that includes the RG450DX. This means that the RG450DX sounds decent while keeping the costs low.
This guitar features two of Ibanez’s Quantum Humbuckers, as well as a Quantum Single Coil pickup. They are passive pickups, making this guitar a better option for those who want to play more than just high-gain tones. While the pickups are usable for many applications, they are the first thing I would replace when looking into upgrading or modding the RG450DX.
The DL tremolo bridge, locking nut, and locking tuners are all really impressive features. This Floyd Rose-style trem system can be abused with the crazies of dive-bombs and the guitar seems to stay in tune most of the time. Not to mention, locking tuners make string changes that much easier than vintage locking gears.
While the tonewoods are helping your wallet more than anything, they certainly aren’t hurting the instrument. In all honesty, it’s the pickups and tremolo system that make this guitar shine. The combination of a Floyd-style tremolo with HSH pickups means that this guitar can do everything from doom metal to seventies funk and everything in between.
The guitar has an airy quality to its voice and a natural compression thanks to the dual humbuckers. While the bridge is most likely where you will be spending your time if you’re using the RG450DX for high-gain tones, don’t neglect the middle pickup. This guitar has a five-way selector and can get you those clucky in-between settings that are great for clean tones.
The Ibanez RG450DX is a powerful and versatile shredding machine. The way that it’s going to sound will depend heavily on the player and the amp it’s going into, but it has everything you need to be at your creative best.
What has always made the RG series amazing, other than its looks, is its playability. Yes, the guitar has a great balance of classic “S-Style” elements and modern, sharp edginess. However, these design concepts have a purpose.
The deep cutaways make access to the 24th fret a breeze, especially when traveling across the Wizard III neck. The neck shape is extremely thin and modern, with a slightly wider nut width than most electric guitars.
Not to mention the fingerboard radius is 15.7”, making it one of the flattest fretboards available. All of this makes sweep-picking, pinch harmonics, and bends super easy.
The guitar comes loaded with 9-42 D’Åddario strings, which make bends easier with minimal compromise in tone. If you plan on down-tuning the instrument, however, I would recommend getting thicker strings and setting the guitar up properly.
The body has an extra large contour as well, making it really comfortable to play whether you are standing on stage or sitting down. It even works well when positioned upright for classical style playing!
I think it’s safe to say that Value is the name of the game with the RG Standard series and the RC450DX lives up to that standard.
This guitar gives you long standing, tried and true design concepts that make it incredibly versatile and easy to play, while remaining accessible to those just starting out or on a budget.
Coming in at just under $400, this is an easy purchase to make if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to take on the road or a guitar that will help you figure out what kind of music you want to make.
If you decide that you like the RG Series, you can upgrade to the RG Prestige or RG Custom line of guitars, which share the same DNA but have upgraded wood selection, craftsmanship, and electronics.
Ibanez RG450DX Review: Buying Experience
The Ibanez RG450DX can be purchased from a wide assortment of shops, both in person and online, and the buying experience will be dependent on which store you go with. If you want a hassle-free and easy buying experience, we at Guitar Advise recommend you buy the RG450DX from Sweetwater.
All shipping from Sweetwater is free.
They also offer an inclusive 55-point inspection that covers handling, a cosmetic and construction inspection, hardware check, electronics testing, and playability check. With this free inspection you can be assured that your guitar will arrive on your doorstep as advertised.
According to the Sweetwater website, items over 13 ounces ship via FedEx Ground or UPS Ground and usually arrive within five business days.
Ibanez guitars sold by an authorized dealer, such as Sweetwater, are warranted by Hoshino USA. You need to fill out your warranty information on Ibanez’s website within 10 days of purchase to receive a 1-year warranty.
In addition to the warranty offered by Ibanez, Sweetwater offers a free two-year warranty through their “Total Confidence Coverage”. This means that buying your Ibanez guitar through Sweetwater guarantees you an extra year of warranty beyond what Ibanez offers with their instruments, and the warranty is applied automatically at purchase.
Thinking of buying the Ibanez RG450DX without playing it first?
You can do so with Sweetwater’s “no hassle” return policy. As long as the instrument returns in the same condition as it was sent out, you have 30 days to try your new instrument and you can still return it for a full refund (minus the cost to ship back).
Should You Buy the Ibanez RG450DX?
I would recommend the Ibanez RG450DX if one or more of the following apply to you:
- You’re an advanced player, but need a guitar on a budget
- You play a wide variety of musical styles
- You’re looking for a guitar to mod/upgrade
While a beginner could certainly get a lot from the RG450DX, it can be an intimidating and overwhelming instrument to start off on. While this guitar is meant to be accessible to just about anyone, it was clearly designed to take on professional level musicianship.
Buying a guitar is a personal decision. However, there are a lot of incentives with this particular guitar worth considering.
If the super-strat style guitar speaks to you, this one offers enough versatility at a really incredible price that I think you would be happy with. You can easily upgrade the electronics or even get a brand new neck (it’s a bolt-on afterall!) should you want to kick things up a notch down the road. Or, you can sell it and get most, if not all of, your money back.
Ibanez RG450DX Alternatives
Does this guitar have most of the features you want, but you’re wondering what your other options might be? Here are some guitars that are also worth considering if the Ibanez RG450DX is something you are interested in.
Ibanez RG450DX Vs Ibanez JEMJR
If you love Steve Vai, then this guitar is a perfect fit. Everything you love about Steve Vai's Singature Ibanez at an affordable price.
Read our full Ibanez JEMJR Review
For just $100 more you can get the Ibanez model that inspired the RG series – the Ibanez JEM. This guitar design was made in collaboration with Steve Vai. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me!
The JEMJR is almost identical to the RG450DX in terms of specs. They have the same Quantum pickups (HSH), same body materials, neck shape/materials, frets, and bridge/trem system.
What separates these guitars apart is mostly cosmetic. The iconic handle cutout makes the guitar a little lighter and has a small impact on the midrange response. The fretboard on the JEMJR has an ornate, acrylic vine inlay on the fretboard. Otherwise both guitars will feel very similar.
Ibanez RG450DX Vs Ibanez RG470AHM
The RG470AHM is another offering within the RG Series and is nearly identical to the RG450DX.
It has the same specs in terms of body shape, neck shape, pickups, frets, and hardware.
What makes this model different from the other models is that it has an ash body with a Blue Moon Burst finish. This transparent, poly finish lets you see the ash’s naturally beautiful wood grain. The ash will offer some weight and a slightly scooped midrange, while remaining resonant across the entire frequency spectrum.
The entire neck is maple with this model, as opposed to the jatoba board on the RG450DX. Maple will offer more high-end sparkle and a snappy response.
Whether or not these features are worth the extra $100 will be up to you!
Ibanez RG450DX Vs PRS SE Standard 24
The PRS SE Standard 24 gives you the quality you would expect from a Paul Reed Smith guitar without the hefty price.
Read our full PRS SE Standard 24 Review
If you’re interested in the modern features that the Ibanez RG has to offer, but are curious about what other builders have to offer, I would recommend looking at the PRS SE Standard 24.
This guitar is slightly more expensive than the RG450DX, coming in at just over $500. At first glance you might even think that the guitar is less versatile as it only has two humbuckers.
However, like many PRS guitars, the SE Standard 24 offers playability and value. The 85/15 S Pickups can be split into single coils, giving you a total of five pickup configurations to work with k, just like the Ibanez.
The price increase comes down to wood selection, as the SE Standard 24 has an all mahogany body and rosewood fretboard.
The SE Standard 24 offers a more classic design and has a more traditional tremolo system. While it is perfectly suitable for light use, you won’t get the same kind of performance in heavy dive-bombs as you would with the Ibanez.
The Bottom Line
Ibanez makes top-notch guitars for just about every budget and makes it so that anyone can have a professional grade guitar in their hands.
I think that the RG Standard Series, and the RG450DX in particular, illustrate this well.
This guitar offers:
- A unique, fast neck profile
- Effective locking tuners and tremolo
- Versatility in its HSH pickup configuration
- Great build quality for the price
Whether you’re looking for a guitar to do it all, a workhorse to take out on the road, or an instrument that can keep up with your ever-expanding speed, the Ibanez RG450DX is a great guitar to consider buying.
If this guitar is almost perfect for you, but you’re curious about your options, Ibanez offers other designs within the RG Standard Series (and beyond if you want to spend the money) that are worth checking out.
That being said, you can’t go wrong with a super-S-style guitar like this!