Re: Ibanez Prestige - High End/Low End?
Here's my experience from owning a 1550 & 1421 (still have the 1421) - I have PLAYED a few other Prestige fiddles, so I think this basically applies across the Prestige spectrum
IMO - it's all little things that add up
Try to find Rich's write up/description about the 10th Anniversary stuff - Gotoh-like (not actual Gotoh) tuners; slightly cheaper switch; little different/cheaper output jack
To me, Ibanez sets out to make a platform to which the buyer can mod out (easily) into what they want ----- not saying they all NEED this, just that Ibanez realizes that it is often better to charge less for a model w/their own pickups/tuners since they know the large majority of us Ibby fanbois are gonna rip out everything & throw in (insert your go-to DiMarzio set here)
the 1421s come w/a gig bag instead of the hardcase, but for a brand new instrument, my 1421's playability holds up against many, MANY guitars I have had my moose paws on...many of THOSE being in significantly higher price ranges ---- would apply to the 1550 as well, but the 1550 was a bit more (diff in price + I got a heckuva deal on the 1421) and didn't play out of the box as nice as the 1421
Bottom line: get the one you want, if it's worth it to you ----- I don't see the quality difference in many of them coming equal to the price difference, but there are other factors (style/design/color) that I'd pay for if I had my heart set on something cuz I'm weird like that