i wish the PA G3 show was not a wed night
good discussion here though.
i think rich's point is the more you sell the less specialized you can be. make more which lowers costs & increases effeciency. let dealers sort out the expected percent of blems/defects. Ferrari vs Ford type service (not a great analogy but you get the point).
ibanez is UNresponsive to the USA marketplace. It seems we're the red-headed stepchild in direct comparison to their domestic market (JPN).
PRS has SUPERB marketing & service... i mean they are given musicians worldwide axes to play at no cost and back up their product. they're also a USA company which is a far cry from a "japanese company". ibanez on the other hand has an older product endorsement methodology that is eroding their market share... their sales have declined in the past decade, unlike PRS so this is obvious stuff. but the units produced is nothing to sneeze at, as Rich pointed out.
but still, to compare the companies is really apples vs. oranges aside from both being fruit (guitar makers).
the surface cracks are due to any of these factors IMHO: temperature, cure time, packagin, shipping, wood type & physical stress/tension. PRS has a shorter scale and thus less tension... nevermind a different neck pocket/design.
i'm not debating the cost effectiveness of buying a new 2003 JEM77FP, at any price or in comparison to any other guitar. i'm just saying this heel surface crack is normal and to be expected with these axes - and i wouldn't lose a wink of sleep thinking about it. If you do, the axe is probably not for you (not at that price anyways - find a cheaper used one w/ the crack already) ...glen