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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really haven't found much backup on this, just here and there. Understanding this forum may be biased towards Ibanez, I would still like all opinions of superstrat type guitars and how they compare sonicaly and as far as quality (and visually if interested). Which guitars I have in my mind are...

Ibanez Prestige
Ibanez J.Custom
Ernie Ball MM
Charvel
Jackson
Suhr
Caparison
Tom Anderson
Carvin, and similar types.

Lets hear from the guys who have had experience with a few different brands and see how they truly compare. And if this is dumb let me know haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also I didn't mention, wood types is a big factor; don't compare an alder charvel to a mahogany suhr, please compare similar type woods and bridges if possible. :)
 

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i played a suhr once there very nice and have a jazzy tone
i think it compares a little to a j custom based on craftsmanship
the j custom also has a bit of a jazzy tone from my playing experience i think it is more verstile and gets other sweet tones.
my opinons
 

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well, I've been a long time ibanez fan, but i do cheat on ibanez.
now, besides ibanez, i also have caparisons.

I once had : ESP custom mirage, washburn mercury, jackson dinky, edwards, all are superstrat style.
they all crap compare to my ibanez.

what can I say, once your heart makes the decision, you won't turning back.
it's like : ibanez is my wife, caparison now is my mistress.
I've got all the fun with caparison, but i always go back home to my ibanez.
 

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For me and my money Ibanez delivers the goods. But I'm no jazz player. Also, I've played a few other brands that I liked such as ESP, Jackson and EBMM. The ESPs and the EBMMs are the ones I've liked the best besides the Ibanez.

But dollar for dollar, yen for yen, pound for pund, euro for euro etc. I think Ibanez makes the best super strat.
 

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I'm not sure I'd call a Suhr a superstrat. I see it more as a higher quality standard Strat. The Wolfgang and its consumer versions are kinda superstrats, considering they were Van Halen's designs.

I've either owned or just played many EB/MMs, Jacksons, Kramers, and Charvels. As of last year however I've reduced my superstrats down to just an Ibanez RG550 20th and a vintage Kramer Baretta II.

Speaking of the Ibanez Prestige, it's a great value. It's very well made. My RG550 feels precise without feeling cold and mechanical. It feels like a violin, and I feel encouraged to play it lightly as opposed to hard like I might a Kramer or an ESP. I mean to say that my RG550 feels more efficient. I put less effort in, but get more back. Much of this comes from the Wizard neck and the Edge bridge, but also there's the general shape of the body and the scalloping.

The Charvel is my next favorite. The San Dimas is a very expensive guitar. Expect to shell out $3~4 grand. The lower $2,000 end will get you a cool graphic and a single humbucker config. I was always a one humbucker guy myself, being a Kramer nut that I am. There are consequences though to just having the one, especially if you're used to playing with three. You can get a HH config though. Most Charvels will be alder bodies with original non-recessed FRs and Seymour Duncan JBs and '59s/Full Shred/or Jazz pickups in the neck. This is a setup that will make you stand in front of a JCM 800 and scream, "I am Godzilla, you are Japan!"

The necks are smooth. Most are unfinished maple combined with maple fretboards. They feel like smooth heavily used Fender Strats, and that's a good thing. They are very responsive hot rods. The good news is, there's two new lines going for a $1000. The new San Dimas and the new SoCal use Korean FRs and some great pickups. If you're mostly an Ibanez guy, I think you might like the SoCal just a little more.

The Jacksons are getting disappointing. I am a fan myself, but you will be paying Charvel prices for the very best Jacksons (Select Series, custom, PC-1 signature). The MIJ Pro Series should be your minimum standard for a Jackson. The compound radius neck is nice. It feels smooth, and it is flat, but I found it a little cramped for my tastes. I just never meshed well. The best Jacksons IMO are the PC-1 which is a unique guitar and the Select Soloist. I'm a bolt-on guy myself. But at Select level, you'll unlock all the Jackson graphics options whether you go Dinky or Soloist. Jackson does make good guitars, but I've found more variance in their quality in the last few years than I care for. EDIT: The PC-1 is by all means a great guitar, and the neck is wide. You will have a difficult time demoing one without first buying it though. :(

The Earnie Ball Music Man. Arguably the Axis-Sport, if that's what you're talking about, is better than Peavey's own version of the Wolfgang. The one I played had a maple cap on basswood, and a non-recessed FR. I believe most use a Wilkerson bridge - not sure though. As with the Charvel, a non-recessed FR mounted MM will limit you a little with whammy bar tricks, but at the benefit of greater sustain... that's the way Eddie likes it. The neck is smaller, narrower. It's a world apart from the Wizard neck, but it feels comfortable even for my ogreish hands. The necks are unfinished birds-eye maple. That guitar sings. Look for one with the DiMarzio custom customs, designed for that brown sound. These guitars have great sustain. However, in the last year, I've seen more and more of them in stores looking rushed. Ultimately, I walked away from these because I wanted more sonic flexibility and more comfort when composing. Plus, I have my Les Pauls for when I want a big big sound. EDIT: I forgot to mention that the Axis I played had direct mounted pickups. I'm in the school that believes direct mounting = more tone and sustain. If you're not, then it's more of a hindrance than a feature. :D

I don't know anything about the others on your list from personal experience. I think you should also look into vintage superstrats. Pick up a vintage Kramer. Even look at a vintage Japanese made Kramer Focus. They will beat out most superstrats made today when it comes to quality. Also look for a Nightswan. My '88 Kramer Baretta II was made by a then little, somewhat unknown company in Japan called ESP. *wink* Great neck, and this guitar has outlasted most others with no surgery required. Also, take a look at vintage Peavey's like the Vandenberg. There's also the BC Rich Gunslinger, which was designed in part by Wayne Charvel as a superstrat that could compete against Kramer, Charvel, and Jackson. Sorry for the long-winded reply, but I hope it helps.
 

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Ibanez Prestige
Ibanez J.Custom
Ernie Ball MM
Charvel
Caparison
Jackson
Carvin
All these brands have good and better guitars. You can go wrong with all, and you can go right. Especially if you say Ibanez and take away Prestige. ;)

Suhr and Tom Anderson are high end single coil based guitars, and are in another division. Both buildwise and in looks. I would say better than any Ibanez. Suhr prefers the same wood combo as many Ibanez guitars, basswood and maple body.
 

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Suhr and Tom Anderson [are] in another division. Both buildwise and in looks. I would say better than any Ibanez.
They're definately a different division yes, but perhaps more a different sport (with the exception of maybe the Suhr Modern ).

The J-customs I've tried (and a couple of the other high end Japanese Ibanez guitars) hold up well against the Andersons or Suhrs I've tried. YMMV :)

Oh and looks are a personal preference, but I also like the Ibanez superstrat body shapes better too :p
 

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I realize lots of folks view Andersons and Suhrs as made for a particular type of music (blues/jazz/pop etc.) but this Suhr of mine is a metal guitar to me. :D Flamed maple on basswood sounds great.



It's a cliche to say perhaps, but I'm done looking. I've owned forty-something guitars by now and my Suhr has easily eclipsed anything I've ever owned. I'm still a fan of the RG based guitars and will always love and recommend Ibanez guitars. But I'm speaking honestly when I say that the quality difference is very noticeable, to me. I have one J-Custom and have played others and have owned very nice high-end Ibby's and don't dispute they are really good guitars. But this particular Suhr just plays and sounds amazing. The pickups are so freakin' clear, it's easy to dial in really great tones. And don't get me started on how much I love the stainless steel frets which have been pleked to perfection. :)

The only other guitar I've owned which came close to this one in quality was my Anderson. But it had a Floyd, as do many of my Ibby's, and I just wanted to get away from so many Floyd guitars.

I think for Ibanez devotees who are looking for a boutique guitar, they really should check out the Moderns by Suhr if given a chance to sit down with one. They are the first 24 fret guitars being built by Suhr and I'm sold. Fast necks and very, very good access to the upper frets. And yes, I'm getting one. :) I have no agenda with Suhr, I just think they are that good that I should share my experience. I think the Modern will really catch on with lots of folks. I tried Suhrs about 5 or 6 years ago and just didn't dig them. I'm thinking it was just the one I test drove that didn't do if for me. But I went back again and found the right guitars for me and man, I haven't regretted it at all.

paul
 

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over 30 guitars here. above $1k its all the same all nice none crap. i say it doesn't matter. Not even soundwise you hear a difference between a ebmm or a Ibby or a ESP or Charvel.
 

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thats a wide range of prices too, I consider that heavily when looking at bang for buck, ie, the 20th rg is hard to beat IMO in terms of bang for the buck...
 

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over 30 guitars here. above $1k its all the same all nice none crap. i say it doesn't matter. Not even soundwise you hear a difference between a ebmm or a Ibby or a ESP or Charvel.
Yeah I'm with you. I understand there are different tones, but above a certain price I don't think anything sounds bad. So obviously I also think there are different feeling guitars, but above a certain price level there aren't bad feeling guitars.

I'd say that it's above $1700 though not $1000. They are close at $1000 but I've played a few bad Gibsons at that price range. But that's just my opinion.
 

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I've played many bad Gibsons, too many this year alone. In order to find a Gibson that meets the expectation of quality the name carries, expect to spend over $2K.

I myself stepped away from Charvel and Jackson altogether once I got my RG 20th. My superstrat choice is vintage Kramers -- the only guitars that shipped with an OFR worth owning, none of this screw-in tremolo arm stuff. ;-) But if I wanted a guitar that captures the raw power of a Kramer, I'd go Charvel.

But my RG 20th is superior to any San Dimas. The scalloping, the pickup configuration, the more ergonomic body shape, the Edge tremolo, and most importantly the structurally improved Wizard neck. I still love the San Dimas though as I'm a DeMartini and '80s Gary Moore guy. But any prospective buyer should be aware that the San Dimas was created to be a hot-rodded strat with powerful pickups, better electronics, proper shielding, good hardware, and a shredder's neck that manages to feel like a vintage Strat. If you're a Soloist guy, you might not like the Charvel's feel. Nowadays, people seem to prefer pointier horns and sleeker looking carved tops, so the OP might even consider a Schecter. I've played only 4 ever, but they all were relatively inexpensive and were incredibly well built. They're darker than what I like, but they are quality instruments.

I recommend the OP look at the current RG770 reissue, then try out the new Charvel $1000 San Dimas and SoCal, and then compare those two to the other brands on his list. Any Guitar Center will have at least one Music Man Axis in, though not likely another model.
 

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thats a wide range of prices too, I consider that heavily when looking at bang for buck, ie, the 20th rg is hard to beat IMO in terms of bang for the buck...
+1

I second that and I have only touched one of my "old" guitars since I bought the 20th. The wizard neck is highly addictive.

I am actually looking for another superstrat as a backup/workhorse...got to have a wizard neck and a maple fretboard, any suggestions???
 
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