Re: question about 90's ibanez's
Its a hard thing to pin down since it has so much folkloric baggage and the guitar world is slightly less objectively-credible-fact driven than whats found in any given voo doo temple.
If you ask me, the high water for industrial guitars, ever, was MIJ from the late 70's into the 80's. They were absolutely making better stuff than we were at the time, but now that there's a bit of hindsight, a narrative is emerging that the period in Japanese guitar making may have represented some of the best stuff, ever, anywhere.
Like, some of the best Fender guitars ever made were from the MIJ period. This is quite the departure from when MIJ was considered the 2nd tier for people who couldn't afford MIA, when you'd see MIJ guitars with the "Made In Japan" gouged off the headstock. The difference is, unlike Cars where your 1986 Chevy Citation blew a transmission at 20K miles and threw a rod at 40K where your Honda Civic went to 200K without a hitch, guitars are judged by subjective factors that are often times motivated by lore and mythos more than objective reasons. Nation of origin became a consumer cue and it still remains that way, today.
Of course, thinking back on when MIJ was considered to be 'less' but now people realizing that in many cases, it was actually superior, it gives one pause when casting aside MIK or MII guitars based on nation of origin alone.
With that being said, with maybe a couple narrow exclusions, I think its very fair to say that there aren't many lower end Ibanez badged imports that can compete with the overall quality levels of any 'golden age' MIJ instrument. There are of course some brilliant guitars being made today that are as good as anything ever made and Korea doesn't want for much when it comes to making guitars. Its usually best to judge spec and quality first, rather than assume that nation of origin arbitrates quality level. MIJ in the 80's turned that theory upside down.