When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

Hello,

I thought I'd stir up a new argument, but it is a comment I run across from time to time reading forums. Generally, the comment references that early Prestige's were the best and they have dropped off since. I have only one comparison and that's between my 2002 S1220 and a 2016 RG6UCS Uppercut, which does happen to fit the time period of early Prestige versus current. I can say that without a doubt the 2002 does seem to have nicer fret ends, but I honestly can't tell much difference in anything else. I don't have a way to measure the straightness of the neck or any other tolerances that I would even know what to look for. Neither has ever had any luthier work. I have done some quick and dirty fret level tests just rocking a credit card across the frets and know that there are some high frets on both. It has ever caused an issue, just not perfectly level.

I know there is a range of quality even within the Prestige/JC lineup. Is there time period where they were better or worse? Any an Ibanez fanboy should stay away from? Any that he should specifically be looking for?

I'm still trying to find a closet queen 2000-2002 RGT3120. It's probably at the top of my sought after list.
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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 02:17 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

Model year has no bearing on my purchase decision except newer > older all things equal otherwise.

Some people have an embarrassing concern with fret ends to where it's actually just sad to read.
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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 02:28 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

Yes, it's extremely embarrassing to be concerned about the quality differences in different eras of production.

Or is it extremely embarrassing how much others criticize those that are concerned?

It's one or the other.
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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 02:49 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

Concerned about round fret ends... perhaps one of the easiest things to FIX if needed? Grave concern LOL (especially if you sell services to fix horrible prestige fret ends of course).

There are countless variables in what makes a quality guitar and fret ends are a very, very, very small part of that EXCEPT FOR the vocal minority. Wood changes over time and day-to-day with the weather.

I guess it's a good time to point out the shred Prestige guitars referenced are the worst examples of Ibanez "Prestige". Sorry folks, these pale in comparison to the AR, AS, AF, etc. Prestige models that no one posts about here
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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 02:58 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

Concerned about how comfortable a guitar is finished from the factory without the need of somebody to give them lots of extra love, should be of concern to anybody that cares. Criticizing them for it, just your innuendo way of saying "jackwads".

There is no doubt the AR/AS/AF [the line these guitars are produced on] is the best in the regular production facility [sans JC shop] and of course here you are talking about how good they are compared to all the mundane RG/S stuff that is almost appears you actually care that they're of far superior quality. Interesting.....
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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

I guess it's a good time to point out the shred Prestige guitars referenced are the worst examples of Ibanez "Prestige". Sorry folks, these pale in comparison to the AR, AS, AF, etc. Prestige models that no one posts about here [/QUOTE]


It's because those are lame and boring
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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 04:07 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

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Originally Posted by Frankhenrylee View Post
It's because those are lame and boring
Touche! But really play one sometime and you might have a very, very different opinion. (Ibanez so poorly markets them people buy them in spite of ibanez)
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

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Concerned about round fret ends... perhaps one of the easiest things to FIX if needed? Grave concern LOL (especially if you sell services to fix horrible prestige fret ends of course).
Never said it was my only concern or a major concern, just what I had noticed between the two. To me it does represent that more time was put into the 2002 Prestige. If they put it more time in doing something so time consuming and monotonous then it leads me to believe they have checked the rest of it over pretty well also.

Ibanez fans want Japanese made Ibanez's because we believe that more time is spent making them better and it sort of guarantees or at least increase the chances that I get a great quality guitar.

My question was merely if there was any relevance to the idea that earlier Ibanez Prestige guitars were better and vice versa, what models maybe were not so good. In my case, I have noticed more time being spent on the 2002 than the 2016. I'd rather have the luxury of knowing that they handpicked an incredibly straight neck and a really resonant piece of wood for the body, but I doubt that takes place in this price range.

It seems like there are some people here that have been selling or playing Ibanez's for a long time so was just interested in what the opinions were.
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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 04:22 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

^ I hear you. You mentioned fret ends and I used that as a PSA reminder. Rich in his love to argue doesn't realize when people post on public forums they write to readers as well as specific posters. To that extent, if you want to know which guitars came with best fret ends really I say good luck it's no doubt more due to cargo shipments & weather.

Wood is getting scarcer while production is only getting better right?

My main point is these Prestige you guys argue over are mid-range guitars and the lowest example of Prestige. Since many many won't branch out (to other ibanez product lines) they keep rebuying the same superstrat trying to compare things that don't need comparisons. Prestige doesn't mean AAA top or some exotic wood or perfect frets, anything of the sorts. Ibanez uses technology (in all lines) sometimes to make up for other deficiencies.

Search Ibanez Prestige on Reverb and you get a whole bunch of MEH products same-ol-same-ol don't you? To me, the better question is finding the hidden treasures from Ibanez at good prices but YMMV.
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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 07:16 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

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To that extent, if you want to know which guitars came with best fret ends really I say good luck it's no doubt more due to cargo shipments & weather.

Wood is getting scarcer while production is only getting better right?
.
You would be referring to fret sprout and how much of any finishing work has to be lost to it, as well as wood shrinkage over the years. Which is a valid point, but, doesn't change that there were better years. I remember around 2008 taking the Japanese over to show them this beautifully finished 2005 UV777 [NAMM] and then taking them over and showing them some current production JEM, and the difference was glaring. Around that time is where the end work that is done, started to slip to what is current. But in those years when JC's were actually becoming what they are today, good Prestige were at the level of those AR/AF/AS today, and even a little better. But a lot of that will have been lost to time if the necks were not built in the right weather conditions.

And production is in a sweet spot right now in that they have eliminated so many of the problems of recent years. The neck pockets are beautiful and properly aligned, the hump neck issue is finally behind them [knock wood!!!], the nut routs are deep enough for adjustment, the new batches of trems where the arm retention spring doesn't stick to the hole are in use, and the rest of the build is right there with it. What is missing is the level of finishing they had reached in the past, and of course these maple boards that receive none. And I know we've bantered back and forth about this but if you check any of these maple board model specs on Ibanez.com you will find it says "Prestige fret end treatment", which is a complete 180 from the truth.
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post #11 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 01:49 AM
 
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

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Originally Posted by Frankhenrylee View Post
Never said it was my only concern or a major concern, just what I had noticed between the two. To me it does represent that more time was put into the 2002 Prestige. If they put it more time in doing something so time consuming and monotonous then it leads me to believe they have checked the rest of it over pretty well also.

Ibanez fans want Japanese made Ibanez's because we believe that more time is spent making them better and it sort of guarantees or at least increase the chances that I get a great quality guitar.

My question was merely if there was any relevance to the idea that earlier Ibanez Prestige guitars were better and vice versa, what models maybe were not so good. In my case, I have noticed more time being spent on the 2002 than the 2016. I'd rather have the luxury of knowing that they handpicked an incredibly straight neck and a really resonant piece of wood for the body, but I doubt that takes place in this price range.

It seems like there are some people here that have been selling or playing Ibanez's for a long time so was just interested in what the opinions were.
Good instruments, especially wooden instruments, sound better the more they are played over a substantial period of time. They do age and develop "old guitar problems" but that is just how it is. Also, nearly everything can be repaired.

Some J-Customs look like they were built by accountants. Others look like they were built by people who cared. The price tags usually reflect that too. I can not give you years or models but if you see an interesting looking Ibanez that you have never seen before, I would suggest playing it and finding out what you can about it. A good guitar made in a "bad year" is still a good guitar. Whether or not you want it is up to you. Rich actually has one of the coolest looking guitars I've ever seen in stock: Index of /images/used_index/rg_sp1/
Be on the lookout for guitars like that.

I am pretty sure I failed to answer any of your questions so I apologize.
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post #12 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 11:29 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

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And production is in a sweet spot right now in that they have eliminated so many of the problems of recent years. The neck pockets are beautiful and properly aligned, the hump neck issue is finally behind them [knock wood!!!], the nut routs are deep enough for adjustment, the new batches of trems where the arm retention spring doesn't stick to the hole are in use, and the rest of the build is right there with it. What is missing is the level of finishing they had reached in the past, and of course these maple boards that receive none. And I know we've bantered back and forth about this but if you check any of these maple board model specs on Ibanez.com you will find it says "Prestige fret end treatment", which is a complete 180 from the truth.
Other than odd choice of finishes, etc. I think Ibanez might just be outputting among the finest Prestige axes overall at this point.

Ibanez needs to better explain what is going on if the maple boards are inadequate... but if you've told HUSA not to touch them and distributors are tweaking for dealers the obvious question is why Ibanez is doing that? Perhaps the labor rates & availability from Fujigen exceeds HUSA flxing/finishing? And/or provide the local touch to clean up some "sitting in cargo containers for months" issues? I think that's better than perfect setup in Japan all of which is for nothing by the time the customer gets it. That people pay dealers to setup new axes sorta indicates this. I'm on record as you know wanting HUSA getting PLEK and using it for axes out of spec or tweak which provides the secondary benefit to further differentiate Ibanez from other brands going to same dealers who carry multiple products (HUSA is competing with other brands for sales to most dealers).
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post #13 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 11:37 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

They answer that it is "process", to which my reply is it's time to change the process. They did just fine on the JEM777's.

Although PLEK would be more useful 3 months after build when the neck has had time to settle, PLEK at Fujigen is where it would need to be. The US is 1/2 the world market but that leaves 50% of the guitars without, and not exactly fair. And in the end they'd only PLEK what financially deserves to be when you're cranking thru 15,000+ guitars a month. So not only would the PLEX cost $110k but you'll pay another $50k a year for somebody dedicated to using it, and at most it can do how many a year?

BTW I've seen close ups of the AZ's and they are a different process, they appear to be fretted after the necks are cleared as they are not covered in clearcoat.
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post #14 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 11:50 PM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

They certainly need to explain more even if to say "we gave the $3900 guitar more TLC". I'm OK with that.

Ibanez outsources Fujigen and clearly there is more of a disconnect with things like maple at a time when maple will be more necessary vs Rosewood (CITES). I would never suggest what Fujigen should or shouldn't do because they're simply a subcontractor... they do what they are hired to do no more no less. Ibanez asks less and less of them with Premium, China & Sugi taking on notable contracted jobs (last years UVs for example).

$100k investment by HUSA makes much more sense to me becuase it helps mitigates the "not made in USA" factor and total disconnect between paying $3500 for a guitar sitting in a cargo ship for months perhaps. HUSA needs to provide value to ibanez dealers giving them reason to purchase Ibanez. They could even negotiate/spec models ready to be PLEKd (lowering cost of product coming from japan). You only buy Ibanez from distributors but mom/pop dealers even buy multiple brands (not just Ibanez). The GC i was at today in NYC buys many products other than Ibanez (just 1 Prestige there). Lots of possibilities it's not all or none.
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post #15 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 12:03 AM
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Re: When were Prestige/JC guitars at their height of quality?

The flip side is, it's just not going to happen. Japan would never approve it, but management here has kept all departments understaffed to keep expenses as low as possible and profits as high. He would like to go back to Japan with the reputation of being able to run a tight and profitable ship. This is just my opinion, there may be other factors at play on why they are so understaffed, but the fact is, they are. So the thought of hiring a specialist to work a machine Japan would never approve to purchase is just all fantasy from what I see. Nice fantasy, but I don't see it ever being reality.
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