I think I liked the Ibanez Roadcore RC320 as soon as my editor-in-chief at guitariste.com unboxed it to show it to me. Though I know that Ibanez is not all about Metal and Shred guitars, it’s always surprising and cool to see a retro design guitar from this brand.
There is something about this particular retro design that really grabbed my attention. The guitar body shape is vaguely Strat-like with something of a Jag’. The lutherie and configuration are very Les Paul-esque. The Ibanez Roadcore reminds me a lot of some models from Reverend Guitars. These references may be classic but the result is fairly original.
The lutherie and finish of the guitar under test are perfect. The neck of the Ibanez Roadcore is very close to that of a Stratocaster in terms of profile (in C), radius and thickness. This is perfect for me but it might disturb those who are used to the RG type of guitar necks from Ibanez.
The Core-Tone humbuckers are excellent. Their output level is reasonably high. The pickups are very reactive to the volume control and to the guitar pick attack on the strings.
The middle position of the 3-way switch surprisingly provides a very pleasant tone that some would describe as twangy. It is as if only one coil from each humbucker is active in this position though the guitar is not wired that way.
On the clean channel of my Blackstar HT-1R amp, the guitar provides a crunchy tone that cleans up well with the guitar volume knob lowered. Once the overdrive on, the Roadcore bridge pickup provides a slightly aggressive but pleasant distorted sound while the neck pickup sound tends to be a little bit muddy.
The Ibanez Roadcore RC320 is a very enjoyable guitar that will allow you to reach a lot of tones and nuance. It is reasonably priced ( about € 400 i.e. $ 550 ) with regard to its intrinsic qualities.