Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: California, USA
basically there are three kinds of differences between Ibanez guitars.
The biggest differences are body-shape/signature differences.. These define the NAME of the guitar. Every guitar with the same shape/signature gets the same name. Then the model numbers come in.
The leading number, the 7xx, 5xx, 4xx, 3xx, 2xx, 1xx etc define what you could call "quality" points. The higher the number (generally) the higher the quality.
JEMs are a weird exception here. Generally a RG770 is better than an RG370 and a JS1000 is better than a JS100, but a JEM77FP is no better or worse than a JEM7VWH. Additionally, many would argue quality of a JEM7VWH is better than that of a JEM777DY etc. So, JEMs are weird- leave them out of this discussion.
In the past, you could also define the characteristics of each range...
7xx models had paint-matching inlays and headstocks.
5xx models had paint-matching headstocks but plain inlays
4xx models had similar paint options but TRS trems
3xx models had fewer paint options and TRS trems
2xx models had even few options and worse trems
1xx models were only Ibanez guitars in name.
Then the second set of numbers the x70, x50, x20 said something about the model's hardware and pickguards.
x70 models had H-S-H pickup setups and no pickguard
x65 models had S-H-H pickup setups and no pickguard and reverse headstock
x60 models had S-H-H pickups setups and no pickguard
x50 models had H-S-H pickup setups and a pickguard
x20 models had H-H pickup setups and no pickguard