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Ibanez RG565 Review (Genesis Collection)

Hello there and welcome back to another cool guitar review article for you! This time we will be looking at one of the most legendary guitar designs ever, the Ibanez RG565!

In this Ibanez RG565 review article, I will provide a short history of the Ibanez RG guitars and also a demo video of my Ibanez RG565 Laser Blue.

For those who have never heard of the Ibanez brand, here’s a quick introduction. Ibanez is a Japanese guitar brand owned by the Hoshino Gakki company in Nagoya, Japan. Formerly known as Hoshino Shoten actually started as a bookstore also selling sheet music back in 1908 in Japan!

They quickly started selling musical instruments under the Hoshino Gakki company and also importing guitars made by a Spanish luthier Salvador Ibanez. In 1957, they decided to use Ibanez as the brand name, thus becoming one of the biggest musical instrument companies in the world.

Just like many other huge guitar brands at the early stages, Ibanez also didn’t have a factory of their own in the beginning and acted as a guitar trading company. Fender was also in the same situation until the company was sold to CBS as well as Gibson had a similar relationship with its parent company Chicago Musical Instruments.

Interestingly, this was true for Ibanez until a much more recent era. Around the mid-60s, the Fujigen factory which was manufacturing guitars for Ibanez had grown rapidly and in 1965, the company built a new factory in Matsumoto.

During the 60s’, it was one of the first guitar and musical instrument companies that made a significant impact in the USA and Europe with its clone guitars (which is called the lawsuit era). They eventually created guitar designs that are considered classics today.

Short History of Ibanez RG Guitars

As Gibson brought suit against Ibanez due to their clone guitars, Hoshino Gakki did not really want to fight against it as the company could be in the same situation not just with Gibson but also with other guitar manufacturers. This era was the triggering moment for Ibanez to take a look at the company’s long-term ambition in the guitar business.

Through the 70s, Ibanez worked with various artists who featured Ibanez’s original designs such as Paul Stanley, Steve Miller, George Benson and Bob Weir. However, moving forward with the 80s shredders era, they still had issues with their brand identity. Actually, what Ibanez wanted was someone like Eddie Van Halen and what he did for the Kramer brand.

Ibanez had already worked with legendary guitar players such as Lee Ritenour, Joe Pass, Steve Lukather and Alan Holdsworth, but the company was missing a rockstar image that could boost the brand’s identity.

After having long discussions and meetings, they decided to go to Steve Vai! Vai was already getting a lot of attention when he joined Frank Zappa at the age of 20 years old. Later, he replaced Yngwie Malmsteen in Alcatrazz and also released his debut album. Around 1985, he joined David Lee Roth’s band, taking giant steps into the rock music scene already.

Vai was already cooperating with other guitar brands such as Kramer and Yamaha, but his customisation needs were usually neglected and he ended up with pretty much the same standard models that these companies manufactured with some tweaks for him.

Ibanez eventually managed to contact Steve Vai and got his attention and their cooperation which changed the guitar designs profoundly just started! Legendary luthier, Mace Bailey at Ibanez made prototypes for Steve Vai based on his input and came up with the JEM design, which would later give birth to the legendary RG series.

When JEM design was first introduced to the masses in the NAMM show, it completely blew away the audience and got praised as the ultimate alternative guitar design to actually buying a custom-made guitar.

Due to excellent sales figures, Ibanez also came up with RG550, a JEM design but without the edgy aesthetics of the original Vai design.

Since then RG design guitars have been released with additional variations throughout the years. As you can understand, one can easily trace RG’s roots back to these modern and edgy guitar designs that rocked the world.

And as a matter of fact, the Ibanez RG series is now considered one of the most distinct and unique guitar designs of all time and is praised as a classic series. Just like your Stratocasters, Les Pauls or Teles.

If you want to know more about all these cool details and the history of Ibanez RG guitars, I definitely suggest you check out the “A Short History: Ibanez JEM & RG” video by 5 Watt World.  There are so many cool things you can learn from this channel!

Ibanez RG565

As I mentioned in the history section, Ibanez RG models have been around for quite some time with many variations. Even though the RG series is considered a classic model in the guitar world, they have been also modernised further with more progressive features that help adapt the design to the modern guitarists.

Fortunately, Ibanez releases their legendary RG models from time to time! I believe they decided to reissue the original RG series back in 2018 under Genesis Collection.

Ibanez RG565 Laser Blue - Genesis Collection

The Ibanez RG series guitar is one of the earliest high-end instruments I used to look up when I was really young. Unfortunately, I was never able to buy one. But now while almost approaching my 40s, I’m able to collect and hold more guitars in my collection!

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From the very first moment I noticed this release, I wanted to get myself one and finally received my order from Thomann! Since then, I spent my savings on different guitars and pieces of equipment, however, I finally got ready for it and went for it.

I initially was about to go for RG565, however, I had to postpone my decision for a long time. And after having noticed that Thomann was listing RG550 for a very competitive price tag, I went for an RG565 Purple Neon.

Check out my Ibanez RG550 review here

Around the same time, I noticed that Ibanez was also going to release RG565 in Laser Blue colour, I immediately wanted to own one as well! 🙂 After having ordered one, I regretted my buying decision as I was spending all my money on almost two identical guitars. But I wanted to keep them anyway.

However, after having spent some time with both guitars, I realised that RG550 had some sharp fret ends and I did not want to accept this issue on such a brand-new instrument that is made in Japan. So I returned it!

Don’t forget to check my Ibanez RG550 vs Ibanez RG565 – The Costliest Article! here

Before I share my thoughts on Ibanez RG565 Genesis Collection, let’s have a quick look at the tech specs below.

Ibanez RG565 Tech Specs

Body TypeDouble cutaway RG - Solid body
BodyBasswood
Neck jointBolt-on (4 bolts)
BridgeEdge tremolo
Knob styleMetal knobs (black)
Hardware colorBlack
Neck typeSuper Wizard
Neck material5pc Maple/Walnut neck
Scale length648mm (25.5 inches)
Fingerboard materialMaple
Fingerboard inlaysMatching colour dot inlay
Frets24 / Jumbo frets
NutLocking nut (43mm)
Machine headsGotoh
Pickup configurationH/S
Bridge pickupIbanez V8 (Passive/Alnico)
Neck pickupInfinity R (Humbucker Passive/Ceramic)
Controls1 volume, 1 tone, 5-way pickup selector
Colour optionsLaser Blue, Vampire Kiss
Made inJapan!

Ibanez RG565 Review

As you can see from the tech specs, Ibanez RG565 is a true reproduction of the original RG series that was released in the late 80s. It features one of the most distinct guitar body designs, Ibanez RG! The one I got weighs 3.4kg and it’s just the right feeling on your lap or on your shoulders.

Superb Neck

The neck is Ibanez’s Super Wizard neck which is extremely comfortable and built for shredding. As you can imagine, back in the 80s, shred guitar was a thing and Ibanez RG565 was made to handle any shredders’ needs. This Super Wizard neck consists of 5 pieces of maple/walnut to provide better stability.

You have also high-quality, made-in-Japan Gotoh tuners, and jumbo frets with supposedly feature Ibanez Prestige fret edge treatment. 

The reason I say supposedly is that I also purchase the Ibanez RG550 Purple Neon and I think the fret edge treatment is not the same for these almost identical guitars coming from the same Genesis Collection. I can feel the sharp edges a bit more on my RG550 than on the RG565.

While RG565 coming from the same collection has a flawless fret job, RG550 has some fret sprouts. This is actually at a very minimal phase, but it’s still concerning as you would not expect this on a Japanese-made Ibanez.

Excellent Pickups

RG565 features a unique H/S pickup configuration with a classic 5-way switch. Unlike RG550 which has a H/S/H pickup configuration, RG565 sounds way more unique thanks to the single-sized humbucker on the neck position.

Pickups are classic Ibanez V8 (Passive/Alnico) on the bridge and Infinity R (Humbucker Passive/Ceramic) on the neck.

Balance-wise, the H/S/H option may be better, but I must say I’m really impressed by these unique voices on my RG565.

However, in some positions, such as 2nd and 4th, you may notice a significant volume drop due to the nature of this single-sized humbucker.

Ibanez RG565 Pickups - Genesis Collection

The Original Ibanez Edge Tremolo

The tremolo is also an outstanding Ibanez Edge model tremolo. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of floating bridges, but it gives you so many options with regard to the amount of expressive control over your instrument.

One thing I noticed about the Ibanez Edge tremolo is that the tremolo bar holder piece tends to turn easily which makes you feel like the tremolo bar comes extremely loose all of a sudden but then it grabs the walls again and becomes sturdy.

When I researched this issue, I found out that the hex screw head in the back of the guitar should be tightened accordingly. Both RG550 and RG565 had this issue out of the box once I used the tremolo bar. It got really loose as the tremolo holder started turning inside the hole.

Ibanez Edge Tremolo
I understand the tightness of the tremolo arm is a personal preference but this is actually about the initial assembly. I would actually expect these hex nuts to be tightened out of the factory.

Without having both RG550 and RG565, it would not be possible to spot inconsistencies. So actually, I had this great opportunity and released a huge article. I’m sure you have never seen such a comparison article on these models back to back. Don’t forget to check out this very insightful article below!

Check out my Ibanez RG550 vs Ibanez RG565 – The Costliest Article! here

Apart from these little issues and inconsistencies I was able to spot, Ibanez RG565 is a true gem and an extremely beautiful instrument. As with any RG-style guitar, it is so much easier to play. It almost feels like you are cheating!

Don’t get me wrong, these little details are very important if your expectations have been set by the idea that you are buying a Japanese-made Ibanez. However, I think we should take this series as a pretty generic, classic model that may also come with some flaws. To be brutally honest, the price tag of these guitars is too good to be true!

RG565 retails for around €955 at Thomann which is crazy! Made in Japan, authentic, outstanding, and a pioneer in guitar design history is now a classic Ibanez RG at this price?

Check out all the Ibanez RG565 models under Genesis Collection here.

Unfortunately, right after I got this, it went sold out on Thomann. You can still check out Thomann occasionally, or also try finding one on Reverb.com as well.

Ibanez RG565 No Talking Demo Video

In order to provide you with some of the endless sonic possibilities Ibanez RG565 offers, I prepared a demo video, no-talking style!

I used my Ibanez RG565 Laser Blue, ENGL E570 all-tube preamp, ENGL Cabloader and Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini going direct into my RME Babyface PRO interface, recorded in Reaper with some room and chamber reverbs by Lexicon!

Note that, I am using the factory strings by D’addario. I think these are one of the worst guitar strings ever! I used them for a long time when I was young, but no more! They immediately start getting corroded. I would definitely restring this guitar for long-term use.

As you can hear from the video, Ibanez RG565 can deliver a huge array of guitar tones thanks to the unique design with the unique H/S pickup combination and 5-way switch. These in-between positions are very unique and generate excellent usable tones for any musical scenario!

One of the problems with this pickup configuration is the volume balance between each position. As I mentioned, on the 2nd and 4th position, you split the single-sized humbucker pickup and also have it wired parallel.

This causes some volume drops, however, these positions sound so good with a nice clean sound on the edge of the breakup and a nice boost (just like a traditional Ibanez Tube Screamer boost).

Although this is not the best situation, I must say the neck pickup sounds amazing! So creamy and fluid takes the gain so well and sings!

Also, don’t forget to check out the costliest article on cigilovic.com in which I compare RG550 and RG565 against each other with so many details here.

Check out my Ibanez RG550 vs Ibanez RG565 – The Costliest Article! here

Update: As I mentioned above and also in the comparison article, I decided to return RG550 back to Thomann due to sharp fret ends.

I think the amount of sharpness was at an acceptable level but I did not want to keep a brand-new instrument in this condition. My Ibanez RG565 is staying though! Flawless craftsmanship!

I hope you find this Ibanez RG565 review article honest and insightful! Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!

Osman