Ibanez Prestige Guitars Explaination from Ibanez
Ibanez 1999 Catalog pg 4 & 5:
How do you make an even better guitar when you're already recognized as making some of the finest instruments in the world?
Well, one way might be to make entirely handmade instruments. But that's not a real solution. One reason is the sheer time involved. ANoher is consistency: machines are actually better for some tasks if you insist on an exact level of standards and specs. The largest reason is expense. We love seeing $30,000 handmade custom shop collector's items as much as the next guitar fanatic. But we're here to build guitars and basses that players play.
What makes a Prestige instrument a Prestige? First, it's the most successful merge of the handcraft and technological worlds in teh history of guitar making. Prestige gutiars adn basses are crafted at a separate production facility that's staffed by our most experienced builders and equipped with the most sophisticated machinery available. Every Prestige instrument is meticulously examined and re-examined through every step in teh building process and every detail, including the neck and frets, is completely finished by hand.
Next, each model is setup to the highest standard of the industry - the Ibanez standard. And because these instruments take longer to build and use only the most select of select materials, they are limited production instruments. But the most important part of what makes a Prestige a Prestige is something that can't be measured in numbers, the actual love and pride that goest into each guitar or bass.
All this means each Prestige guitar or bass is a collector's item. But it's a collector's item that is made to be playbed; something you will appreciate each time you take it in hand.
For More information on J-Customs on jemsite click here
J-Customs are premium guitars that offer something completely different than what is imported and sold in the USA. These guitars are not sold through Ibanez dealers in North America and many other countries. They are primarily designed as the upscale line of Ibanez guitars for the Japanese marketplace. There are numerous models made each year, mostly variations of premium RG or S-body guitars. Each J-Custom model has a small production runs, where typically a few dozen are made. The J-Custom lineup offers a wide variety of style and color, as various options are introduced along with changes for each new J-Custom model.
J-Customs are made in the same shop and by some of the same hands that build and/or assemble the Signature and neck-thru models (JS
, JEM, UV, Benson, etc.). Expect quality to be right on par with these fine cousins.
The lack of retail presence, combined with the sheer number and variety of models, creates an obstacle for guitar players looking to purchase a J-Custom guitar. Most of us have seen and played various JEM or Universe guitars in local stores... owning them or knowing friends with them. The J-Custom guitar lineup is not afforded this luxury. These guitars do not typically hang in guitar showrooms along with their Ibanez siblings. Local friends and musicians don't own them and might not even know what they are! The overall unfamiliarity with J-Customs can cloud customer expectations, something that can widely vary and become unrealistic. No typed words or photo can describe the FEEL of a guitar in your hands.
If you do not see (in person or via pictures) the guitar you're buying, you are setting yourself up for possible disappointment. Many J-Custom guitars are ordered SITE UNSEEN, for top dollar, so it is important for buyer's *expectations* to be realistic. This will ensure that you are delivered the guitar you thought you were getting, and paid for. When your JEM, Universe or J-Custom arrives by mail, understand you are NOT guaranteed to be delivered a flawless, perfect instrument, beyond any Ibanez you have played. Only by seeing and playing a guitar firsthand can you make such an assessment.
It should be made clear that the J-Customs are fine guitars, along with their siblings. It must also be stated that the J-Customs are NOT the absolute perfect examples of luthiery & craftsmanship, any more than a JEM, Universe or Prestige would be. It is important to realize that the J-Customs have the same limitations and might exhibit the same flaws or quirks as similar Ibanez guitars would. These are small-scale assembly line guitars handled by numerous workers. Perfection is the goal, but not always the rule. Ibanez as a whole, does a commendable job in reducing these quality control issues... keeping them to a minimum, preferably out of customer's hands.
It is possible to get a flawed product no matter what brand name is on the headstock or what shop it was built in. The higher the cost of a guitar, the more attention to detail is expected by the consumer, but in reality this is NOT always the case. Production costs and materials are not the only contributing factors to the LIST PRICE tag placed on a new guitar.
The rarity of any guitar effects the new and used cost on a guitar in the marketplace. The production totals on J-Customs are not published, and are always subject to change, since more accurate information might be divulged for a model's production run.
It is typical that a few to several dozen of each model are made. Keep in mind, these are not designed for a "mass-market" or wide retail distribution.
You will be better off not worrying about "production numbers" and "limited build" when buying a J-Custom, instead focusing your energy on if the guitar is suitable for you and how you can purchase it with minimal risks and hassles.
Purchasing a J-Custom Guitar
These guitars are not sold through Ibanez dealers in North America and many other countries. They are primarily intended for the Asian market, domestic Japanese audience and some European markets. As a result, these guitars must often be purchased via mail-order from dealers in Asia/Europe who ship worldwide, or via a broker who specializes in importing Ibanez guitars.
Whenever buying a J-Custom (or other guitar) by mail order, it is important to determine BEFORE PURCHASE if your guitar has any warranty or return period. This is critical, since the Ibanez warranty is VOID when a guitar is shipped/sold out of the intended region. When you import a J-Custom to the USA, Ibanez USA will NOT warranty this item, so you must rely on the original SELLER/dealer to accommodate you. Ensure before purchase that the dealer's customer service is equipped to handle any potential problem, in the unlikely event one is found.
The largest hurdle when purchasing J-Customs is that these guitars are not readily available in the USA (or many places) which makes buying them more difficult. It is possible that you, as the buyer, must rely on photos and descriptions from a seller thousands of miles away.
The J-Customs are fine Ibanez guitars that people worldwide own and play with great pride and joy. They are not typically sold by Ibanez dealers in the USA, making them more of a mystery and unknown to the average player. If you take time and care to reduce RISK when purchasing ANY guitar via mail order, the rewards can be great. You can be the owner of a fine J-Custom (or other) Ibanez guitar that can serve you a lifetime. Give the guitar "purchase" as much TLC (tender, love and care) as you do the instrument when it arrives!