Hello. I'd like to share my experience and thoughts about Ibanez RGIR38BFE which is Iron Label series. I apologize in advance for my english, just in case. Why this guitar: I wanted 8-string with active pickups (H-H), without tone pot and preferably locking tuners. Famous 2228 was a bit off my desired price range and also has 2 knobs. Some Schecters were fine, but I wasn't sure I can handle 28'' scale and I wasn't sure I would like Schecter's neck profile - I never tried it. So after googling here and there, I made a decision to either try to find RGIX28FEQM or RGIR38BFE (which has matte body and also has locking tuners, unlike its RGIR28 predecessor). I really didn't care much where it is made - Japan or Korea or Indonesia. I had Apex 2 (7 string - made in Indonesia) for about 9 years and had no issues - according to what luthier later said, I am lucky. Good things: Neck profile. I haven't tried 2228, but I can say that this neck feels good - not too slippy, not too thick or thin; Locking tuners; EMGs and their solderless wiring system (well, that's a matter of preferences though); Battery compartment in the back -- unlike some models where you have to use screwdriver and as a result - waste time and wear down screw holes; Body - it is solid by all means, painted well. It also has inlayed white stripes in that binding as far as I can tell. What about the tone and playability overall (before modifications): I can't say much. This is my first 8-string, one and only. EMGs sound as EMGs though. Sustain is cool and larger scale makes notes clear, BUT I'm not sure that even 27 is enough for low F# 8 string , not to mention when it's .090 in C#. Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't dial a good enough (for me) tone with 808s: when 1-6 strings sound perfect, 7 sounds mediocre and 8 sounds like a muddy rope inside the bucket. Before buying that guitar, I was sceptical about scale length - mostly because I was worried if my left hand can handle it - unlike John Petrucci I can't extend my fingers like he does (that meme hyper-extended pinky). Now I feel that 27 is probably bare minimum for ERG. I was also thinking that .080 is probably a lot, because I prefer lighter strings, not a fan of huge tension. But it turned out that .080 is actually perfect for F# and I need higher gauge for lower notes. That was surprising for me. With 0.009 - 0.080 Ernie Ball set (sometimes I swap 0.080 with 0.090) the tension is pretty fine for me and the notes on high strings sounded a lot like piano. Bad things (I noticed): Poor build quality, which applies to fretwork and nut in first place. Some frets were sharp and it's noticeable (however, you should apply force to cut yourself and during regular play it's very unlikely that it could cause any problems). Poor fret material. I know it's cheap nickel-silver, but why the F can't Ibanez use damn stainless steel or at least better nickel-silver? When I tried to bend strings without wound, I felt friction like I'm bending the file (rasp), not the slippy string. Nut wasn't glued properly - it fell off after my first attemp to change the strings. Here's the picture. Temporarily fixed it with nail lacquer (see? sometimes having GF is useful when you play guitar). Mediocre quality of a fretboard finish. I'm not a woodworker, but the rosewood seemed dirty at 2-3 frets and I wasn't able to clean it with all Dunlop stuff I bought. Made it clearer though. Nut wasn't at correct height. I think it was 2 or 2.5 mm higher than it supposed to be. When I made initial setup, I was able to play with decent comfort on upper frets, but when it comes down to 1-3 frets, I had a feeling that I'm training fingers using expander. So I just removed lacquer-glued nut and filed it down, then lacquer-glued it back. That made playability so much better. Grounding wire was attached to the bridge absolutely ineptly. It was covering about 40% of a slot in the bridge for 1st string. So I had to be like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible when changing 1st string. Some minor issues with the back of the neck. I've read a lot of reports about poor quality of Iron Label's, that it's not worth the price. I can tell you that most of it is probably true. Never thought that $900-$1000 will have such issues. So I found a luthier and we agreed at following changes: New brass nut (compatible with both .080 and .090 8th string); New Jescar Evo Gold frets; (Mother-of-)Pearl dots; Fixing fretboard geometry issues (he noticed something that I didn't notice); Tesi switch (momentary) - placed instead of volume control (I don't like why they still put it 2-3cm from the pickup); Volume - moved to lower position (instead of fixed on/off kill-switch). Luthier also showed me some dead spots (for example 22-th fret of 4-th and 5-th strings) and fretwork issues, which are clearly visible when he applied special tricky ruler or something. Later he said that he found sandpaper layers in place where the neck is attached to the body which was used to correct something. I didn't see it with my eyes, but I have no reason to doubt in his words. After all the changes I got completely fixed guitar. It is nice to play, bending is smooth (and it doesn't feel like filing now), no dead spots etc etc. Frets are amazing, fretwork is better than on Prestige's now. Time will tell how durable Jescar Evo Gold is. Fretboard was filed heavily - I guess there was no other way to fix issues. Not sure if you can see it on the pics, but at the higher frets there are way less rosewood now than at the headstock. Luthier said it won't affect stability. Now it's completely different ergonomically. Even more, Reborn, like a Phoenix. That's what I expect from the guitar what I buy it. Too bad I had to spend extra money to make it the way it supposed to be in the beginning, but now I'm pretty happy with the guitar I have. Do I recommend buying this guitar or Iron Label at all? Well, If you can get it for a decent price AND not afraid to spend extra money - why not. Maybe I'm just unlucky and got faulty guitar and you're lucky - you'll get Iron Label with Prestige-ish level of quality for lower price. But for me the total cost (guitar + changes) was about $1200-1300. I could buy better guitar at this price range (however, I still might need luthiers services - can't be sure). So be careful and check before buying or face the consequences with your wallet :-D And also pics attached. Thanks for reading.