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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I’ve lurked on here on and off for a number of years when looking for specific info but now I’m needing to draw on your collective experience for some help. I’ve emailed Rich a few times and he’s a wealth of knowledge, but he’s trying to run a business and can’t deal with an Ibanez newb forever.

I live in AR so to say that good gear is hard to find is an understatement. I’m looking to buy my first “modern” Ibanez and am needing some direction. I had a USA Custom a few years ago but sold it because I just couldn’t warm up to the paint job (no bones about it). So I’m now looking at picking up a Prestige S or RG. I could hold off for a while and even get a J. Custom, but I’ve seen there’s a lot of controversy about whether or not it’s different other than looks. Other than the USA custom I’ve played a 3550 with KTS rods and a 5470 very briefly.

I’m looking for a BIG sound. I’ve always been more of a Satch and Petrucci fan, tonally. I’ve got a pretty extensive stable of guitars but have a hankering for something with a locking trem. I’ve got the most experience with LPs and strats, both ash and alder. Had a KILLER EBMM 25 anniversary that I sold maple neck basswood/maple top with a mahogany tone block. It had a vintage style trem, sounded super though.

I favor British style amps and an oddball Tweed Pro head that makes the ground rumble and confuses everyone that hears it. I’m running through all your basic analog pedals too. My style is...something like sloppy trying to get faster And better. I’m not a shredder by any stretch but I’m definitely trying to add some speed and dexterity. I’ve mainly played in 70-90s bar bands.

Hopefully that helps somewhat and thanks in advance!

Luke
 

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Talent + experience + time = a great instrument.

Time carries the most weight in this equation. Whenever you play a guitar with a fantastic neck that really stands above the rest, it was either the result of random chance or more time was spent building and refining the subtle details that create a great guitar neck.

Unfortunately, the amount of time spent building a great guitar is not an exact science because it starts when the wood is harvested. You want this to have occurred years ago, not weeks.

So, if your question is Prestige or J-Custom, I would say the J-Custom is a better guitar, but maybe not for your needs. The difference in price is considerable. I played an S5470 and it was an easy guitar to just let myself play. The modern J-Customs I’ve played (both of this years models) wear hard to not be cautious with because of the price but also because guitars suffer wear and tear every time they are played. That probably wears off after awhile though.

Rich could have written what I wrote with 5 words. Read what he has already written then ask questions. He “knows” Ibanez...biblically. 8O
 

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I think any "modern" Prestige or J-Custom S/RG would suit your needs to be honest. I have no experience of J-Custom (not wealthy enough and they are somewhat hard to come by in Scotland). But my Prestige has served me well for 13 years now. Unless Prestige quality has changed during that time I'd recommend one.

The "sound" you are looking for is probably achieveable using the above and a stonking great British amp (I assume Marshall or similar?) plus a few select OD/Dist pedals, although its more to do with technique and production IMO. I think your sound and style is very similar to mine, but I wouldn't compare myself to any great guitar player (I'm more Elvis Costello than Joe Satriant to be honest)...!

If you can find any in your area to try, go for it, and good luck finding that special guitar.

'87
 

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I live in AR so to say that good gear is hard to find is an understatement.
Welcome. By this do you mean find guitars locally to test drive? You can do like everyone else does buy used from reverb or buy new online take advantage of return policies. Guitar Center has a great policy for used guitars also BTW.

You really should first determine your budget and max price? Also do you want new only or is used OK?

I wouldn't overthink it much past that. Since you want a double-locker, a lot boils down to body shape (S/RG) pickup config then then of course looks. The MIJ Ibanez have some small tweaks/refinements here but like models are relatively similar giving 30 years of axes to dig thru. If you're looking to spend j.custom money in the USA you should look at Suhr, etc. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think any "modern" Prestige or J-Custom S/RG would suit your needs to be honest. I have no experience of J-Custom (not wealthy enough and they are somewhat hard to come by in Scotland). But my Prestige has served me well for 13 years now. Unless Prestige quality has changed during that time I'd recommend one.
I know what you mean, I've just now got to a place where I can really splurge on things, and although I grew up "not getting" Ibanezes I have now come to the place where I do and want to get the best out of the box instrument I can.

The "sound" you are looking for is probably achievable using the above and a stonking great British amp (I assume Marshall or similar?) plus a few select OD/Dist pedals, although its more to do with technique and production IMO. I think your sound and style is very similar to mine, but I wouldn't compare myself to any great guitar player (I'm more Elvis Costello than Joe Satriani to be honest)...!

If you can find any in your area to try, go for it, and good luck finding that special guitar.

'87
Yeah I've got a 2204 that was made the same year I was! :grin2: I also did some "horse trading" a few years back and picked up a 101B too. Although both "Marshall-y" that 2204 is just NASTY with a boost!

Welcome. By this do you mean find guitars locally to test drive? You can do like everyone else does buy used from reverb or buy new online take advantage of return policies. Guitar Center has a great policy for used guitars also BTW.
I've only seen one Prestige, which was used, at my local GC and it was gone when I made up my mind to buy it. I've seen one, used, Prestige S which was in Northwest AR at a different GC. Plenty of MIM Fenders and quite a few MIA Fenders, no Japanese ones though, some PRS, quite a few run-of-the-mill LPs with an occasional historic. That's about it.

You really should first determine your budget and max price? Also do you want new only or is used OK?
Truthfully I prefer used. I let the OTHER guy take a hit on the purchase. Budget is squishy, but I'm building a house and definitely will need to wait if I'm going to hit the $3k mark. On Reverb I've been watching a J Custom RG, a few Prestige 5570s, and then there's Rich's site....wow. I'm really liking he's idea for the 1020 with an ebony board.

I wouldn't overthink it much past that. Since you want a double-locker, a lot boils down to body shape (S/RG) pickup config then then of course looks. The MIJ Ibanez have some small tweaks/refinements here but like models are relatively similar giving 30 years of axes to dig thru. If you're looking to spend j.custom money in the USA you should look at Suhr, etc. Good luck.
I know there are a lot of opinions on Edge Vs Lo-Pro. I think I like the Lo-Pro better, but I've only had marginal experience with them. I'm pretty proficient at setups, even locking ones, fret work is the place I will not/do not go with tech work. At that point it has to go out of state because there is NO ONE competent in AR for that kind of work.

Suhrs are completely unknown to me and the headstock isn't my favorite...trivial I know. To complicate things further, I've also got a line on a 03 or 04 Jackson SL2H that's in great condition...I'm just not a big alder fan, so I go back and forth. I won't put up any pre-tense either that I'm worried about the S sounding too close to a Custom 24 (mahogany/maple/rosewood). That's a sound that I'm not looking for anymore. Thanks to Pandora I've been exposed to more, better, music with bands using Ibanezes or "superstrats" as their mainstays and I'm wanting to get in that tonal vein. Alot of it being European Power/Symphonic Metal, Dragonforce Iron Savior, or Japanese instrumentals, Black Mages. Then of course there's the obvious Satch influence, my favorite tone of his was 04 Live in San Francisco, and Petrucci, which I really like the Ibanez AND EBMM eras.

Thanks for the help!

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oops, possibly most important thing, the guitars in question! On the RG front I'm looking at a 3550, 652AHM, and 7570. On the S side, a 5570.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well....I’ve got a S5570 en route. I Love the doom purple burst. They rarely come up for sale, so I figured I’d pounce on the on Reverb. I can’t help but think that I’m going to change the pick ups, because the S5470 had very lackluster pick ups in my opinion. If anyone has any experience with 5470/5570 swaps I’m definitely open to suggestion.
 

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All the ibanez guitars in the past few years have been excellent if it's setup properly. I have played a few 550 reissues at Guitar center vs one some one locally purchased and setup by Rich from Ibanezrules, huge difference. The key imo is a good setup, and dont trust any tech's that works at big box stores.

If you have to have a floyd type then obviously look for a model with one of the more stable versions of the Edge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I got in the 5570 yesterday. The guitar was mint. The fretwork was great, setup was spot on. I don’t know if it got dropped but the case handle broke on me! The seller freaked out. I told him I’d be good with a leather replacement instead of trying to drill out the rivets and replace the handle.

The previous owner installed a Tremol-no. It’s pretty wild. I haven’t had great luck with it yet. The guitar had 9s on it so after a few hours I switched to 10s. Surprisingly, the adjustment was minimal, it’s a little beefier sounding, obviously. I also figured I’d go for the nickel wound balanced tension D’Addarios rather than the strings the previous owner sent me just to eliminate variables.

As for the bad....I’m not a fan of the pickups. The neck is too “flute-y” or crisp for me. I expected a little more Petrucci tone since theyncopied the look. The bridge pickup looks mean but the fatness and output aren’t really what I expected l, at all. I sent dimarzio an email last night about the options from the “pickup picker”. The software suggested the FS-1, SDS, and Red Velvet. I fully expected it to suggest the tried and vindicated True Velvet.

I’m bought this particular guitar because it has the Purple Doom Burst finish. That finish was the first time I was ever smitten with an Ibanez, so I figured it was a sign. It still has the collett knobs, which I LOVE, and the Lo-Pro and I couldn’t get enough of a feel for opinions on the Zero bridge to feel comfortable importing the J Custom I was looking at.

All that said, the major let-down was the neck feel. Fretwork was great, wood looks great etc, but I was expecting a less blocky feeling fingerboard. Maybe I’m used to Fender rolling the fretboard edges, or maybe I’m accustomed to used guitars but the 90ish degree falloff caught me off guard. Maybe I’m thinking of there being binding there? I’m not sure?

So here is where I give props to Rich. I’ve never sampled his work, but after playing my prestige last night, joyously might I add, I can safely say I understand MUCH better what he was talking about in his emails and know what he’s doing. I’m not a great tech, for instance I don’t do fretwork, but I’m better than mediocre. I decided that instead of a simple restring I’d work on the fingerboard. I spent about 2 hours with steel wool, cleaner, lemon oil, and some various grits of fret erasers to make the guitar more...broken-in and “home-y” feeling. I’m sure my process is rudimentary compared to people like Rich, but it REALLY made a difference. I could’ve done more but it was getting late and I had to go to bed eventually.

Anyhow, if I can get the pickups straightened out it’s gonna be a monster. Even though I had to do some work it’s a great Guitar I’m pleased with and proud to own.

Luke
 

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The edge is a razor blade scrape, unless you have one of those pieces of rosewood that is inconsistent and you get a lumpy scrape, then you have to go to files laid on their side, and just be careful how you dig into the clearcoat on the sides. Sand that all out smooth with 400 then steel wool and it'll feel like an old friend, as long as you do the fret ends too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
The edge is a razor blade scrape, unless you have one of those pieces of rosewood that is inconsistent and you get a lumpy scrape, then you have to go to files laid on their side, and just be careful how you dig into the clearcoat on the sides. Sand that all out smooth with 400 then steel wool and it'll feel like an old friend, as long as you do the fret ends too.
Thanks Rich! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me. A razor blade would've been much better now that you mention it, definitely a faster yet more controllable method. In the higher frets the way I've always done it I've never been as happy with the result because removing material is much harder there.

If I can keep a house under budget I'm planning on doing the 1020, and I'll let YOU do that one so it'll be perfect from the get go...well minus the J Custom style 3-way toggle, but that's an old school hollow body mindset!

Luke
 

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Glad to hear you got what sounds like a superb guitar.

I'm surprised to hear that the fretboard is quite blocky. I thought that all prestige models had rolled fretboard edges to give that "played-in" feel. When I bought my RG in 2005 it was one of the things that made me go for the Prestige model rather than the standard RG (which I admittedly liked enough, however the feel of the 'board and the pickups/sound swung it in favour of the Prestige). Maybe they stopped doing this at some point?

'87
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I took a little time and did some very mild razor blade scraping. I think next string change if I replace the pups and tear the Guitar completeyndoqn like I expect then I’ll try a little more. But with what I’ve done to the fingerboard plus burnished frets and lemon oil the guitar is stupid fast feeling. Still not used to the super wizard profile.

Any input on a Steve’s Special for a S?
 
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