Re: how would you rate the new prestiges RG to the Original RG's
Original RGs all the way. But I'll also say that I find a BIG difference between the Prestige guitars of recent years, and the Prestige guitars from 1998 to around 2003. I do have a lot of love for my RG3120s and my SC1620 but the newer Prestige don't even compare to them.
For the price point that Prestige guitars sell for these days, they should have:
1) Better finishing on the necks - anyone here noticed how sticky the necks on the new Prestige guitars are?
2) Better fret finishing
3) Better quality control on finishing overall -I bought an RG2610 at closeout recently that had flaws in the clearcoat that should have warranted it being labeled a factory second.
4) Out of box setup on Ibanez guitars ain't what it used to be.
5) Nicer top selections for guitars with figured tops - The tops on any newer Prestige I own or have seen leave me ambivalent about them, whereas the tops on my RG3120s are droolworthy.
6) Matching headstock overlays - esp. for the brighter color and figured top guitars. Heck up to 2006 they were at least doing the walnut headstock overlays on the higher end Prestige, which was at least TRYING.
7) An ebony fretboard OPTION - Come on Ibanez, at least make it an OPTION!
And last but not least:
6) A set of pickups that are in line with the price of the guitar - This one drives me batty. How can they seriously sell $1000+ instruments with their Dimarzio/IBZs when most of their competition is including Seymour Duncans or EMGs in even their LOW END guitars?
Ibanez clearly used to get it: My 3120s all had real Dimarzios, my USA Customs all had real DiMarzios, but my nigh $2000 retail price RGA321 and even the LIMITED EDITION puzzle guitars had crap stock pickups! Come on Ibanez: You put out a limited edition guitar, and then cheapen the experience by not putting a real set of Dimarzios in it? Unfathomable to me.
Don't get me wrong, I own an RGA321fbx, two RGA121s and I do enjoy playing them, but I bought them used and would have a hard time purchasing a Prestige at full retail price.
With the Prestige line these days, I guess I feel overall that Ibanez has made a calculated decision to maintain, or even increase their price point, while taking away the value added bells and whistles that they used to give us.
I still like my newer Prestige guitars better than pretty much anything any other mass manufacturer makes right now, but I've gotta say, I recently bought my second Charvel USA So-Cal NEW for less than $1000.
They look awesome, sound fantastic, and come stock with real Dimarzio pickups. The necks feel so buttery smooth I want to rub it all over myself, and the quality of the finishing work and setup takes a great big steaming poop all over anything Ibanez (or any other makers guitar at this price point) has put out in nearly a decade, and you can get them for less than a grand.
What originally made me an Ibanez supporter back in the day was that they gave you by far the most bang for the buck, which I'm sorry to say, is far from the case these days.