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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to get some opinions on this. I've owned at least 20-25 Ibanez guitars over the years. Mostly RG models but I also had a JEM and a JPM model for a while.

Now I realize that Team J Craft is a specialized group of Ibanez's most experienced builders and the VAST majority of their guitars are great but I'm wondering if anyone has noticed that a Prestige model TODAY is basically the equivalent of say a higher end Japanese RG model circa 1990-1994. (EG: RG5XX. RG7XX) I own a '94 RG550LTD that is absolutely bulletproof. It sounds great (with all original pups) and plays as well today as it did when I bought it new.

On the other hand, today I pulled a brand new RG2570 out of the box and it was a real clunker. The frets were not filed correctly, the trem angle was all wrong, and the 5 way switch was loose. Recently, I played a friend's RG1570 (about a year old) and this one had some poorly filed frets as well. When the "Prestige" line came out I played two identical RG3120s. One was great (so I bought it) but the other had similar problems to the ones I mentioned above. Even my brand new RG2550 had a volume pot go bad after about a week.

So my question really is this: Is it just me or are there still some considerable inconsistancies in the overall build quality of even the higher end Ibanez models?
 

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Now I realize that Team J Craft is a specialized group of Ibanez's most experienced builders and the VAST majority of their guitars are great but I'm wondering if anyone has noticed that a Prestige model TODAY is basically the equivalent of say a higher end Japanese RG model circa 1990-1994. (EG: RG5XX. RG7XX) I own a '94 RG550LTD that is absolutely bulletproof. It sounds great (with all original pups) and plays as well today as it did when I bought it new.

On the other hand, today I pulled a brand new RG2570 out of the box and it was a real clunker. The frets were not filed correctly, the trem angle was all wrong, and the 5 way switch was loose. Recently, I played a friend's RG1570 (about a year old) and this one had some poorly filed frets as well. When the "Prestige" line came out I played two identical RG3120s. One was great (so I bought it) but the other had similar problems to the ones I mentioned above. Even my brand new RG2550 had a volume pot go bad after about a week.

So my question really is this: Is it just me or are there still some considerable inconsistancies in the overall build quality of even the higher end Ibanez models?
It's not just you. Of course not. I have used nothing but RG's since 1987, including 550, 750, 3120, 7421. The guitars now are no better than the oldies, the only difference is better fret work on the Prestige, although the 2570 you saw had bad frets. usually this isn't the case. I'd say paintwork isn't as good now, though. Some finishes I've seen are extremely thin, in fact I have an RG550 20th with bits of the wood exposed around the trem spring cavity. It's not blatantly obvious unless you're up close, but having played hundreds of older RG's since forever, I have never seen one with a sh*tty paintjob. Where Ibanez skimp on small details is where they fail. Stuff like an extra coat of paint would go a long way. Locking studs for the Edge Pro. Pots and switches that don't break so easily (happened on my 20th after a week), and so on.

I had a Prestige 3120 with a huge gap between the neck and body joint. This was a high-range model costing around $1500 originally. There's no way you should be able to fit 2 or 3 business cards in gaps between the joints. Similarly, my RG 20th is slightly looser than I like it, but nowhere near as bad as the 3120. On the other hand, I have 550 and 750's from 1987 and 1990, and those joints are perfect.

So yes, it's fair to say that sometimes (too often for my liking) we see shoddy build quality, and it seems to be worse now than it was 20 years ago. I understand also that the cost of building a guitar in Japan right now is higher than ever, so costs are bound to be cut somewhere.
 

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Keep trying to live in the past, your assesment is based on your current feeling about Ibanez and nothing else. The build "quality" was far worse in the 80's and 90's. Is the paint thinner now? Yes. What does that have to do with quality? The pots are not made by Ibanez, this has been stated many times, but you always blame Ibanez for them when one locks up. And I've seen some of the nastiest neck pocket gaps on 80's JEM's.

The OP would have to prove to me what exactly "bad filling" is to him, complaining about a trem angle is crying to the wind on a guitar that hasn't been setup.
 

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Expecting good craftsmanship and quality control is "living in the past"? I don't see how that works. Yes, my own assessment is based on my current feeling about Ibanez. How could it not be? Exposed parts of the body wood... yes, this surely means quality has slipped somewhere? I haven't seen an older RG with this problem, and I've seen lots of RG's.

Tell us who makes the pots and I'll openly slate them for being crap. Ibanez should still be in control of quality, should they not? I have discussed with you certain things like the VLX-53 switch, the one that came on original RG550's, 750's and some JEM's, among other guitars. The newer 5-way in the RG 20th is pants. My 20 year old VLX is still working as far as I know. It was perfect last time I checked. These subtle hardware / electronics changes and drops in quality add up to a big deal in the end.

I'm sure you've seen plenty of dodgy JEM neck joints, btw, I wouldn't dispute that. All I can speak from is my own experience, and while it's not as vast as yours, it's significantly large enough for me to be able to speak on this, and my opinion is that overall quality isn't as good now.
 

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Living in the past is thinking everything made in the past was better, when the facts show it's not true. I've seen plenty of exposed wood in plenty of cavities. If you want me to think yours is anything out of the ordinary post a picture. Otherwise craftsmanship is far better so who knows what you're looking at to judge it on. The electronics are not made by Ibanez and you know it. Ibanez did and still does wind pickups but they aren't making switches or pots of piezo's or anything else electronic. All that is subbed out to electronic manufacturers, and it's THEIR job to be in control of the quality of the components they sell to Ibanez. Obviously the bad batch of pots just gives you plenty of fuel to burn at the company with.
 

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All that is subbed out to electronic manufacturers, and it's THEIR job to be in control of the quality of the components they sell to Ibanez.
Is that really how it works? Isn't Ibanez at all responsible for parts that other companies make for them?

Seems very strange to me. I'd like to think they would inspect them regularly to make sure the parts are up to par.
 

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I used to be a die hard "old Jem neck" fan!!! Then I tried the newer 5 piece Prestige necks and have been hooked every since:)

The fret finishing is better and being someone who has tried many older and newer models alike, I see a definite improvement in overall quality on the newer Prestiges VS. the older Ibanez Models;)

My 2 cent....take it or leave it :)
 

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Is that really how it works? Isn't Ibanez at all responsible for parts that other companies make for them?

Seems very strange to me. I'd like to think they would inspect them regularly to make sure the parts are up to par.
Please, of course Ibanez is ultimately responsible, their name is on the headstock. But at the same time they do not make the part, and they expect a quality part for the money they pay for it. Just like any company that buys parts from other companies and uses them in their products. But who is ultimately to blame for the parts failure? It's manufacturer, end of story.
 

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They do have the option to go for another manufacturer, at another cost. But yeah, I agree with you.

You have to remember us foreign people are utter crap in understanding written english. :p
 

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One bad batch of pots, which by all indecations is exactly what this was, is no reason for Ibanez to break ties with that manufacturing partner, because in Japan that's just the way things are done.

When Ford Explorers were flipping because the tires were delaminating, who was to blame? Ford? Or BF Goodrich? Did Ford abandon BFG even after all the lawsuits? No.

Companies have manufacturing problems, it's universal. It may not even be the fault of the company that makes the pot. It may be the fault of the company that makes the carbon pad. Who knows, surely not us. But who gets called the company with poor quality?
 

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I think that part of the problem is that we now expect every Ibanez to be perfect, in the same way that we expect a PRS to be perfect. As it happens there seem to be problems with Ibanez quality control, passing guitars off as 'checked' that clearly have problems, and I'm not talking about electronic component failure. Things I don’t understand, considering that the wood cutting is done on CNC machines, are neck pockets cut too wide (or too tight), trem posts not being parallel to front of the trem routing, scratch plates that have not been cut accurately so that a pickup is mounted at a slight diagonal (and I’m not talking about pickup height), the list goes on and on. Now in the majority of cases Ibanez must get away with producing shoddy guitars, as not everyone is going to be as critical as we are, or even know where to look to find the more subtle faults! As such they probably don’t get the number of rejected guitars that their QC dept deserves. We are very critical, but generally fairly loyal, every guitar I own is an Ibanez now, but it still p*sses me off knowing that every time I buy a brand new one mail order there is a 60% chance that it'll have some fault and have to go back, if they cant always make a guitar without flaws, and don’t want to have to rebuild it, then they should mark these as B grade in advance not send them out to us as they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Keep trying to live in the past, your assesment is based on your current feeling about Ibanez and nothing else. The build "quality" was far worse in the 80's and 90's. Is the paint thinner now? Yes. What does that have to do with quality? The pots are not made by Ibanez, this has been stated many times, but you always blame Ibanez for them when one locks up. And I've seen some of the nastiest neck pocket gaps on 80's JEM's.

The OP would have to prove to me what exactly "bad filling" is to him, complaining about a trem angle is crying to the wind on a guitar that hasn't been setup.
I knew Rich would chime in on this one. :)

What I mean by bad filing is: rough edges around frets one through four (on the recent 2570) and if I recall, the same on some of the higher frets on my buddy's 1570. In my opinion, the one major improvement since the 80's-90's overall HAS been the neck and fret work in general.

Regarding the pots: In manufacturing, it makes sense that you're always looking for a less expensive way to build a better mousetrap. Then you measure the reported failure rate vs. the cost to repair or replace the failed component. After reading Rich's review of the Edge Pro Trem vs. the Lo-Pro and the locking stud mod, it's obvious that he knows this as well. Simple economics. Turn the original volume knob on my 1992 RG570 and try and tell me that the ones today are just as good and that it was "one bad batch of pots". They're cheaper as in less expensive AND lower quality. Period.

Crying about a trem angle when the manual that comes with the guitar SHOWS how the trem should be set up is reasonable I think. I little tweak here and there? Sure. To have the a** of the thing sticking up two or three inches (I didn't measure it, that's just an estimate) out of the trem cavity? Or lying against the bottom of it? I don't think so.

If an $800-$1200 guitar has "passed" a QC check, then shouldn't the neck joint be solid? Shouldn't the pickup selector switch be tightened? Shouldn't the trem be adjusted to the correct angle as specified by the manufacturer? I suppose some of these are problems which possibly could have occurred in shipping but I've seen quite a few; not nearly as many as Rich mind you, but enough to make me question it.

I'm as passionate about Ibanez guitars as most of the other folks here. I love the damn things. I've been using them for most of my guitar playing life and will continue to. That's why I joined Jemsite.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your opinions!!
 

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Rough as in ends exposed because the neck has shrunk? Here's a news flash, it's wood, it shrinks. I do a lot of end filling on brand new guitars.

Open a new VWH and you'll see the same pots that are in a 94.

Crying about a trem angle when the manual that comes with the guitar SHOWS how the trem should be set up is reasonable I think. I little tweak here and there? Sure. To have the a** of the thing sticking up two or three inches (I didn't measure it, that's just an estimate) out of the trem cavity? Or lying against the bottom of it? I don't think so.
You were doing OK until this statement where you just lost all credibility. The whole trem is only 3" long, but it's sticking out of the cavity 3"?! Right. All your statements are now very suspect.

Anything else is SETUP!! Distributor QC gets about 2 minumte per guitar, RG270 or 7VWH, that's how long a HUSA tech gets to spend on it. QC today means, it plugs in and makes noise, and it's major blem free.
 

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Wow….that’s the very strange theory, something like saying memory problem in Dell computers are not Dell problem because they are made by other manufactures. Shouldn’t the guitars in this price range come with 99 percent flawless or at least per their recommendation setup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm not interested in entering a pissing contest with you about anyone's credibility. I was simply pointing out my personal experience and sharing my opinions.

As I mentioned in my last post, the two or three inch gap was an "estimate" not an exact measurement but it WAS fairly big.

Thanks again for your observations!
 

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Wow….that's the very strange theory, something like saying memory problem in Dell computers are not Dell problem because they are made by other manufactures. Shouldn't the guitars in this price range come with 99 percent flawless or at least per their recommendation setup?
will you complain if side mirrors on new car are at the wrong angle? Or will you read the manual and put them in position that suits you? I try indonesian RG 350dx White and could not bellieve how good is it! I will allways prefer it to black 94' RG 560 with EDGE that I try few months ago. ( I like to play them, I don't bother how they make them :) )
 

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I'm not interested in entering a pissing contest with you about anyone's credibility. I was simply pointing out my personal experience and sharing my opinions.

As I mentioned in my last post, the two or three inch gap was an "estimate" not an exact measurement but it WAS fairly big.

Thanks again for your observations!
1/2" is a lot, 2-3" is not an estimate, it's such an exageration that it brings into question anything else you say.
 

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IMHO, quality is better right now. My Indonesian made V-Blade is far better than any korean Ibanez I've ever played (and even some low end japanese, think RG470), and Prestige level guitars have better detailing than old ones.

Still, I wish paint was thicker, I don't have any durability/sound issues with it, but I do like a solid finish.
 

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Still, I wish paint was thicker, I don't have any durability/sound issues with it, but I do like a solid finish.
And if it was thicker [and anywhere near as thick as it used to be] then all the "tone zealots" would complain about how encapsulated with plastic all Ibanez guitars all. There's no way to win. You may have also found a shift in what is actually being used. The polyester they used to use is extremely nasty, it was outlawed in California in the 80's. It's been a long time since anyboidy had current information about what is currently in use.
 

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And if it was thicker [and anywhere near as thick as it used to be] then all the "tone zealots" would complain about how encapsulated with plastic all Ibanez guitars all.
and if Ibanez send guitar with high action then setup is poor because
''tremolo is 3 '' upward''
but
if guitar is suplied with low action then factory setup is poor because tone iz robed and sound is not full...
 
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