Once again, the Ibanez Genesis series take us through nostalgia with the RG565. The guitar is currently offered in two very striking finishes; the Fluorescent Orange (seen above) & Emerald Green which had been deemed to be blue by many eyes. The Genesis range is still deprived of any complementary bag or hard case despite being a Japanese model. Deserving nostalgia or commercial regurgitation? Let’s dive into some details.
Construction / fit / finish
I’ll give it to you straight – the RG565 is a typical Japanese guitar that exudes quality despite not being in the higher tier of the Japanese craftsmanship. This is all intentional of course as part of the plan was to keep prices down hence the absence of a bag / case & the use of in-house pickups. The rest of the guitar’s attributes are simply a class act; very well finished body & headstock, frets which are firmly in place & a quality maple neck with no shrinkage at appraisal time. If you trawl cyberspace, one of the primary blemishes of the RG565, documented by a certain review video, is fret sprouting & none manifested here. Thanks largely to our climate, of course, no extreme temperatures to influence adverse wood reaction.
I must also give credit to the hardware. The nameless tuners are quality products & these might be manufactured by Gotoh because they feel & perform like Gotohs; responsive & getting the job done without issues. The Edge bridge looks the works as well, again, these might be overseen by Gotoh for all we know. Don’t take my word for it but it’s a versed guess as Gotohs appear in many Ibanez instruments even in selected non-Japanese models. There is only a minor blemish; the blade type, single coil-sized neck pickup displayed a scratched rail surface. It goes from one end to the other & I feel it’s worth mentioning considering this is a brand new instrument. Other than this, everything is good & issue-free.
Let’s not hide the fact that the RG565, in its heyday, was a shred-type extraordinaire. The skinny neck is a fine testimony to that appeal & the fact that this review model shows no issues in construction / fitting, it is easily the best highlight of the guitar. The typical RG body has no excessive aerodynamics (less the belly cut & elbow relief) to complement playability; it’s just there making you feel comfortable while you are busy speeding or getting angry. There are no design updates to the RG565, everything that worked from Day 1 was brought over but do note the slight difference in neck construction. The current neck details feature a 5-piece (maple – walnut) attachment, voluted at the angled headstock-neck area. The original construction was a single piece maple unit which saw a quarter-sawn iteration subsequently & volute-free for both versions. Down the road, our encounters with Fender guitars (& its variants) had taught us how to deal with upper fret access when it comes to blocky heel joints. Rightfully, the one featured here should not be an issue. The irony of it all; this block joint was the staple of shredders back then. To top it all off, there’s plenty of picking room due to the absence of a middle pickup & a less intrusive, single coil-sized neck humbucker.
Some Ibanez campers will take issue with the fact that the original HB2 – SB1 pickups were not brought over to the current version. The current V8 – Infinity R humbuckers were chosen instead. A personal encounter with the V8 in other RGs over the years had me in some reservations when it comes to distortion applications. The V8 is not a high output humbucker that will go into beast mode in such situations but it handles driven settings pretty well. I would say that the sonic properties here are that of a medium output, contemporary PAF-type pickup without an excessively polished top end. The neck pickup manifests an angrier overall voicing (it sounds hotter than the bridge pickup to me) & has good single note definition for solos. It also fares better in clean mode than its rather gagged bridge counterpart. I had the opportunity to run it through chorus & reverb – above average tones, definitely. To sum up the tone performance, be reminded that the guitar is equipped with a 5-way selector. Positions 2 & 4 feature a parallel neck pickup performance & split coil tones (both pickups) respectively. If you think it’s all humbucking with this one then it’s definitely not the case. Due to its in-house quality, the compounded pickup performance may not be appealing to many of us compared to our preferred brands (DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan, et al) but junk pickups these are not. Oh, that treble bleed feature at the volume pot is definitely an awesome consideration.
Being a big fan of Ibanez & highly anticipating this guitar’s availability, I must say the RG565 is a good throwback to all things shred & high gain. The instrument’s different neck construction here adds strength to that all familiar lure for speed. On that note, plus the different pickups on board this time round, the RG565 is not a true re-issue but a deserving close reproduction; very close indeed. This is an ace instrument if you are treading the distortion path as cleans are clearly not its forte. It is for high octane rock and beyond; the further you venture into the unknown, the better.
Overall rating: 90%
· Neck profile is true to the original
· Excellent fit & fitting
· Treble bleed feature
· 5-way selector to exploit single coil / tapped output tones
· In-house pickups
· Bag not included
· Scratched neck pickup
Ibanez RG565 (Genesis)
Availability: Swee Lee Co.