First off, all, this forum is AWESOME. I **TRULY** appreciate the time and thoughts you guys have sent my way. Each post is chock full of information, suggestions, and things to consider, and I really appreciate it.
Point by point remarks:
First off the back of the neck on the LTD is painted. I personally hate playing on a surface like that. Definitely play a guitar with a painted neck before considering ordering this.
I actually played on an LTD M-1000, which is REAL close to the MH, and that was one of my biggest problems with it. I like the feel of the wood. I know I could scuff it up to get more of a “wood-feel” to it, but I was thinking about this, and for the amount of cash I'm considering dropping, I don't really feel like I should immiately need to change something (besides the pups) on a brand new guitar, especially, in essence, when I’m intentionally wrecking a finish. “Buy a, expensive, brand new guitar so I can screw it up” doesn’t seem logical.
S series are great to play - but I hope you're one for wearing a strap even when sitting. If your experience with S bodies is anything like mine: for me, they tend to want to wander off of my lap while I'm playing =]
Hmm, I didn't even THINK of that. Luckily for me, I don't seem to have that problem with my JS100, but still something to consider. I'll definately need to play on one in order to see if that happens to me...
Music Man Axis…Again the neck will take some getting used to, and this was not a particularly light weight guitar.
I’ve played on official EBMM’s, and the Axis, and the neck is kinda what always sold me on that particular guitar. It just feels…incredible. The weight of the tank of the body though kinda turns me the other way. Doesn’t seem like it’s balanced real well.
If your really looking for a new animal altogether, you may want to check out the new Ibanez Premiums.
I'd say get a Jem.
The prime reason I didn’t have a Premium, Jem, or any RG listed is simply because, for whatever reason, I don’t care for RG’s. I know that before, my biggest single problem was the thinness of the necks, but my tastes have definitely evolved, and now I find I really like them. I’ll have to give a few of these a go again, see if I finally fall in love with them, though, in 15 years, I haven’t yet…
I’m noticing one very consistent thing in this thread:
… there's is just no comparison to a Prestige. I can't stress enough how good a Prestige Wizard neck feels in the hands, these guitars tend to just play themselves . You're also getting something made in Japan by Ibanez's best people, made from the finest woods, and have the highest quality hardware.
My other choice would be the prestige S5470.
Both S-series guitars that you like are excellent guitars. Since you have the $$$ available, the 5470 would be the better choice. Both are a BIG step up from your JS
Noone has said anything bad, at all, about the Prestige S.
The mahogany gives this sleek body some nice mass, and keeps them sounding great.
I’m not a huge fan of EMG’s, and the painted neck on the MH-1000 seems like it should be taken out of the running. I don’t mind the abalone (I actually kinda like the way it looks,) but I have a feeling that guitar is just not going to “do it for me.”
If I’m looking for a higher end guitar, I shouldn’t be looking at lower-end Ibbys, so I think the S540DXQM is out of the running as well.
The Axis plays really well, but it’s a heavy beast. I need to put some more time in with this one.
I don’t know how the Wolfie plays, or feels, at all. My love for VH and the fact that it is in the right price range is the prime reason this is even up here. If the neck feels similar to an EBMM / Axis, but the body is lighter, this one might become a very serious contender.
And it looks like I should get re-acquainted with the RG’s and Jem’s as well.
I’m heading down to GC tomorrow, just to put a few different things in my hands. I’ll keep you all posted.
Thanks again, everyone, and please, if you have anything more to say, please, chime in. This actual purchase is probably not going to be made for another month, and until then, I’ll be going in circles.
Oh, and for the record, I'm a large Ibanez fan as well. Its what I grew up playing, it's what I learned on. I am not trying to knock them, at all, and so far, they are still totally in the running. I just don't see myself making another purchase like this for a LONG time, if ever, and want to make sure I wind up with something I'm truly happy with.