Premium vs Prestige Guitar Info short article
Premium vs. Prestige
I wanted to write this review as the review I wish I had when researching the Ibanez Premium RG. It is not meant to put down all of the other reviewers out there. Many of them helped inform and influence my purchase.
This review is meant to provide information and a summary of what the guitar is, observations and experience with it, and what the guitar is not.
A brief background on this author.
I have read about, studied and enjoyed playing guitar for over 25 years. I'd describe myself as an average to slightly above average player and like to play mainly 80's / 90's Rock/Pop-Rock/Metal. (Your Whitesnakes, Danger Dangers, etc. ) I have varied tastes in music, but we are here for the guitar review, not to talk about Jellyfish and Heaven's Edge.
What the guitar Is...
You've read the specs, I won't go over everything again. RG body, Edge Zero II Trem, stock Dimarzio's (H-S-H, Tone Zone, True Velvet & Air Norton respectively), 11 piece neck, locking tuners, Poplar Burl over Basswood body, Wenge board, Cosmo Black Hardware, blue or black burst finish.
What I didn't read...
Mother of Pearl-ish "Ibanez" headstock logo. A nice cosmetic touch.
Volume and tone knobs are "pushed on", meaning, there is no screw or allen wrench to tighten loose knobs. Knobs are ok out of the box.
Speaking of the box, it comes with what I'd call a "Gig Case." A ridged, formed, cut out zippered case, that is not hardshell, but much sturdier than a gig bag. It also features four "feet" so the case stands well on its side. A velcro handle closure is included to loop the two carry handles together.
The Gotoh tuners are pretty high quality. I haven't had any experience with this brand, but find they are on par with Sperzel and other high end machine heads.
The Cerulean Blue Burst finish is much darker in person than in photos online. This may be just the guitar I received, but it is a pretty, subtle blue fade. Not nearly as "aqua" looking as online images.
This is not meant as a positive, or a negative. But, there is a lot going on with this trem system. A LOT. Locked at the tuners, locked at the nut, locked at the bridge, adjustable springs, removable springs, tension wheel.... a lot.
I bring this up as a "Super-Duper Locking Super-Trem" is not for everyone. And, even if your out of the box set up is really great, you will probably need to tweak it a bit. Maybe not...but...maybe.
The action on mine was high. I also recieved the guitar delivery on one of the coldest days so far here in New England, and that didn't help. So, just a heads up, it may not be a plug and play guitar. Lastly, the guitar is set with .009's. Any string gauge change is going to set off a series of adjustments. They may be very small tweaks, but they are there.
The neck is a bit thicker than I thought. Not a lot, but it isn't thin. Having limited experience with Ibanez, I read "Wizard Neck" and thought, "...magically fast!" It isn't.
I'd say the neck is vintage / fast. A comfortable feel, but not Super Shredder Flat. Also, in my own opinion, the Wenge board is cool, but, a bit confusing. With the offset dots and hyper-grainy pattern, it takes a bit of getting used to to make sure you're fingers are landing where you'd like them to.
The 11 piece neck is really impressive in person, and has an almost light "oiled" feel . Its smooth, comfortable and looks great.
What the guitar is not...
It is not an Ibanez Prestige. I do not own a Prestige, or have even ever played a Prestige, but this guitar is not a Prestige.
But, it isn't meant to be.
This is my take on the dilema of a player trying to choose between this Premium and a Prestige.
Finish / Details / Extras
The Premium includes a soft-shell / gig-case. Prestige has a hard case.
Pickups (for the most part) in the Premium and Prestige are Dimarzio USA line.
Premium has a highly figured, more colorful finish. Prestige are mainly solid color, some wood tones. (Non JEM)
Premiums currently appear to hold a slightly higher resale value. (eBay / Reverb)
Jumbo frets, great finish.
Different Trem systems.
Location, Location, Location...
Indonesia vs. Japan. I honestly do not know how to answer if one is better than the other. Most of us drive cars that we care less about their point of origin than our instruments. I have a US made car. Others swear by Japanese makes, other prefer German cars. Most times, they all get us where we need to go.
A Fine Line...
Are the Premium Line great guitars? Yes. Is it a Presige? No.
But, I think that is the idea.
It isn't a Les Paul, it isn't a Strat, a Junior or a Rick. We look at a lot of details and compare specs, woods, hardware, scale, etc. But, I'd like to just look at this guitar for what it is. Is it unfair to repeatedly Google "Premium vs. Prestige?"
If the Prestige did'nt exist, I think we would all be confident in that the Premium is a high quality, great players guitar.