The Ibanez RG5EX1 Electric Guitar Review

The Ibanez RG5EX1

The Ibanez RG5EX1

My Ibanez Electric Guitar Story

I have been playing Ibanez electric guitars since 1985, when while on a vacation to Europe, I could not stand being without a guitar for the three weeks I would be traveling. So I asked at the hotel front desk for the guitar store in Amsterdam with the best selection. The responder said to go to Dikjman Muzikinstrumenten.

I walked for about 20 minutes and located the store. Once inside I was faced with a wall of guitars, probably about 250 different models in both acoustic and electric. I spent about ten minutes perusing the inventory, and sighted an Ibanez, dual-humbucking model, based slightly upon the Gibson SG but rounder and smaller body contours.

The neck-through body construction was solid and when I plugged it in and played it, I stopped looking. The action was low, the pickups growled when turned up, and sang sweetly when turned down. In addition this guitar had coil-tapping switches for each of the pickups, to afford that famous out-of-phase sound so prevalent even today

The cost out the door, (remember in 1985 the Dutch were still exchanging Guilders not Euros), and at 3-1/2 guilders to the dollar I purchased the guitar, a soft case, a guitar cord, guitar picks, a Personal Studio, battery-powered headphone amplifier with reverb, distortion and chrous effects, for a grand total of $200.00 USD.

Fast-Forward To 2008

So now it’s 2008, and I’m still playing this Ibanez, but wanted one with a Floyd-Rose type whammy bar to have fun wiggling notes, and dive-bombing notes down low, then back to normal pitch, without detuning the strings. My favorite sales manager at the local Guitar Center, saw me trying out the Satriani-Model Ibanez guitars on the floor. I really liked the style and playability of these, but the prices were too high for my budget.

Then he said, “you know what, I have a guitar in the back that is last years model, and a model designation down from the Satriani series, and at a reduced cost”. I said, I’m willing to check it out. He disappeared for about 30 minutes, (!) and I was getting ready to leave, when he produced a cardboard carton with the RG5EX1 inside. When I picked up the guitar I was greeted with a silky, satiny neck, with wide frets and low action.

I plugged it in and went throught the pickup selections. This one has the 5-way switch, and positions two and four give you that out-of-phase coil tapped sound I liked. The locking nut and locking Whammy bar tailpiece has the Floyd-Rose like fine tuners, so you unlock the nut-clamps, 3-each allen bolts, one per pair of strings, unscrew the fine tuners alll the way out, tune the guitar to pitch, lock the nut again, and fine tune to pitch.

This guitar is flat out fast! With low action, a wide neck and wide flat frets, the hand falls comfortably onto the strings, and string pressure required is minimal to sound clean ringing notes. The strings stay in tune, and the pickups arrangement (Humbucker at the bridge, Single-coil in the middle, and Humbucker at the neck), all deliver stinging lead tones and mellow chords when strummed.

This particular guitar was list priced at over $740.00, but my friend the manager said, this is last years model, it’s a bit dusty, how about $410.00 tax included. I said….ahhhhh SOLD! I decided to not purchase a case for this one, as it would stay off the road. I have recently purchased a RoadRunner semi-hard case for traveling. This guitar just gets better with time. I enjoy rocking-out, or playing slow ballads, with the powerful array of tones available.

If you are looking for a reasonably priced guitar, that has a range of tones, and that dive-bombing whammy bar, check out the Ibanez RG5EX1. You will not be disappointed!

Please leave me a comment below, what you liked, or did not like about this review?

Respectfully, Nicholas


  • Basswood body
  • 3-piece maple neck
  • Wizard II neck profile
  • 25-1/2″ scale
  • 24 jumbo frets
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Sharktooth inlay
  • Reverse headstock
  • Edge III tremolo bridge
  • INF3 humbucker neck pickup
  • INFS3 single coil mid pickup
  • INF4 humbucker bridge pickup
  • Tone and volume controls
  • 5-way pickup switch



The Baby Martin Model 5-18 – Year 1960

1960 Martin Model 5-18

1960 Martin Model 5-18

This guitar was purchased by my parents, for my older sister in 1960. I had some difficulty determining the vintage of this guitar, but obtained the serial # 179781.

Source: confirms the year of manufacture as 1960.

I recall the guitar was supplied with wire-wound, nylon core strings. I believe the internal bracing was designed for a lighter string tension. This guitar may have been re-fitted with steel strings in the ensuing years, but knowing Martin’s reputation, this may not be an issue of concern.

The finish is in good shape, a few nicks here and there, but overall a very well preserved instrument. The voicing is sweet, with a bright attack and mellow resonant tone. These guitars are still made in the LX1 and other new-styled models.

I believe Marty Robbins is attributed to have used this model through much of his career. Here is a photo of Marty with the guitar.

Marty Robbins with the Martin Model 5-18 1960's vintage

Marty Robbins with the Martin Model 5-18 1960's vintage

Photo Courtesy of:

I would love to record using this guitar, but it lives four-hundred miles away… My next visit will include installing the Fishman pickup, and recording a few clips. When I have completed this, I will post the clips on my Podcast site:

This guitar is really a wonderful design, easy to play and hold for small children, but a real guitar for serious musicians as well. This guitar will remain in our family forever and will never be sold, even though the current value is approximately $2,500.00.

Thank you for reading my review of the Martin model 5-18 guitar. Please do leave a comment and let me know what you liked about this post? Respectfully, Nicholas

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1920’s Vintage Martin Ukelele

We now travel back in time to the 1920’s.

This is a 1920’s vintage Martin Style 0 Ukelele, given to me as a young lad of nine years old, by an uncle of my Mother.

I did some web searching, and found the site: had a wonderful page about Martin Ukelele’s.


“In the early 1920s an even simpler mahogany model without any binding, the Style 0, was offered for a mere $10. This model allowed Martin to compete more effectively with the cheaper mail-order ukes offered by companies like Sears and Montgomery Ward. Of all the Martin instruments that turn up in the corner of an attic or the top shelf of Grandma’s closet, an overwhelming majority are Style 0 ukes”.

From the photos you can see that time and poor handling have damaged this little gem severely. The back has extensive long cracks running from the neck side to the back side. The front has one long crack down the bottom edge.

All of these cracks have been repaired with “Scotch-Brand” tape! It will be difficult to remove this tape during restoration should I choose to have it restored. The adhesive would certainly remove grain from the mahogany, but may reveal a different color finish under the tape’s years of sealing.

From the photos you cannot tell anything about the vintage other than a few small clues. The little scrolled nib at the top of the fretboard, where the fretboard meets the body is one clue. Also the purfling detail around the soundhole is Martin’s own from this period.

I shined a flashlight into the soundhole, looking for a serial number stamped into the wood at the neck / body joint like later Martin Guitars have, but I could not locate any information inside the body at all. The Martin Headstock decal as shown in the photos has long since been worn away or removed by previous owner(s).

The name Jay B. is scratched into the surface of the finish, on the back of the headstock, and my name ‘Nick’ has been scratched horizontally in the same location at the vertical end of the headstock, between the top two tuners.

No doubt the addition of my name to the instrument would have been done at the tender age of nine, when I would have had no clue as to the damage being done. I have no idea of the current value from it’s original sale price of $10.00, but I imagine not much as there may be thousands of these in people’s attics or closet’s. In any event this one still plays well, despite the fragile condition.

More to come, please leave a comment if you liked this review!

Respectfully, Nicholas

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The 1951 Martin 000-18

Ok, no drooling on my web page….

Here is my father’s, 1951 Martin 00018 acoustic guitar.

You can hear a clip of this guitar recorded digitally here:

Serial #: 135071

It is now in my possession after my father passed away.

History of this guitar

It was purchased brand-new, by my father in 1951 in order to learn how to play the guitar. After a few lessons, it pretty much sat in the closet for many years, until….

This guitar was discovered by my brother in our Father’s closet around1958. In the original chipboard case, we played this guitar on many vacations to Wyoming and local beaches in LA. It has the ‘Original finish’ which has the expected deep yellowing that the finish exhibits on vintage guitars. It has a raw, bare-wood spot on the lower-front bout, from rubbing it on the sand as we played it.

Original Kluson tuners, nut and saddle, original bridge pins, original endpin and pickguard. It’s a good one, with a wide open voice, and a noticeable amount of that woody dryness you’ll find in a good early 50’s Martin. It’s loud and resonant, and is definitely a flatpicker’s instrument.

Recently we had the guitar serviced at Skip’s Music, Sacramento CA, by a certified luthier. He polished the guitar, cleaned the frets and fingerboard, installed new strings and repaired a somewhat bowed-upward bridge assembly, from years of string tension on old wood. The luthier recommended that no finish be applied to this raw-wood sanded area, as the sound of the guitar would be compromized.

A recent appraisal placed this guitar in the range of $5,000.00 but we will never sell this guitar. It will be handed down to my daughters for safekeeping when I have passed on.

Recording this guitar reveals a powerful tone, crisp highs and mellow lows, with an action that is low enough to permit hours of effortless playing. The upper frets are a little hard to reach, but I don’t venture past fret # 16 very much these days!

A truly exceptional instrument, and one we will treasure for many years to come!

Please leave a comment below, and we can start the conversation about what you liked and did not like about this review! Thank you! Nicholas

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One of my favorite guitars

Hello again!

Here is one of my favorite guitars to travel with. The Epiphone-Gibson Les Paul Pee Wee.

The PEE WEE has one special feature that caused me a bit of grief.

I was traveling to Virginia on business, and wanted to take a guitar along. I purchased it the day before my trip, and planned to play it that evening in my hotel room. I was so mad that it would not stay in tune!

It has a ‘short-scale’, meaning the neck-length is shorter than a standard 24-fret guitar, which translates to intonation issues, ie staying in tune. When I inquired through email with Epiphone technical support, they replied that the guitar needs to be tuned up 3-half steps from E to G.

Problem solved! Now I have an amazing sounding guitar, that I can carry on the plane with me, and using a laptop computer with software I can jam anywhere! It is effortless to play, has perfect action and wide fretwire.

The guitar features a single humbucking style pickup, and a single volume knob as the only control. The guitar sounds awesome when plugged in, and the short scale makes string bending like butter! I have spent hours playing this guitar, and it only improves with age.

The price I paid for it was $110.00 about 3 years ago, and it just floors me how well made and playable this little gem is. I only bought the guitar alone, not the pack as shown in the photo, I had Guitar Rig on my laptop so plenty of amps / speakers / and microphones to choose from there.

Check out the PEE WEE at your local music store. I have never regretted my purchase.

If you liked this review, please comment back? I am new to blogging and critiques are welcome! Play that guitar….

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The Guitar Blog

Hello Fellow Guitarists! I have been playing guitar since the age of 6, and own way too many guitars.

I spent 10 years working in Hollywood as a video engineer and creative consultant in post-production. Later I worked for Sony and Ascent Media as a Senior Broadcast Systems Design Engineer. Now I just blog and am trying that Affiliate Marketing space, as one of my personal friends is highly successful, and is coaching me.

I have collected guitars from the time I could afford to buy them, starting with a Vox ‘stratocaster-styled’ guitar, and a fender vibro-champ amplifier.

Now I have a home studio, (pictured above), with enough gear to record my first album. Around my busy schedule, I plan on writing and recording at least one song per month until I have 12 or 15 in the can.

My musical taste’s began in folk and rock music, gradually adding jazz. I soon realized and appreciated how difficult jazz is to perform!

Some of my favorite guitar players are:

Steve Vai – incredible technical skill, and seems to have endless creativity.

Scott Henderson – wonderful fusion-style guitarist who can rock with the best of them.

Pat Metheny – great tone, wonderful long compositions that allow your mind to just relax and dig his style.

Eric Clapton – what can you say about a legend! When I first heard the live version of ‘Crossroads’ I was completely blown away, what a cool live sound he had in those early years.

Doc Watson – an incredible bluegrass picker and composer. Stratospheric talent was he!

My recording station is pc-based, Pro-Tools LE and various drum machines and guitar effects boxes to suit.

My monitors are Polk Audio, and my amplifier (stereo-only) is a Crown DC-150 that is over 20 years old and still performing like it was new.

As I begin to record some songs I may place a few here for you to listen to and critique… go ahead be honest!

Please do comment below and let me know what you think.

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