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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm offered good deals on a Prestige AZ 2402 with a standard finish, or a rare 8n stock MM1 TAB (the Martin Miller artist special version of the same guitar), which would cost me 900$ more than the standard, all in.

The MM1 differs from the standard as follows:
- mahogany body with flamed maple top in a nice translucent blue instead of alder body with solid paint.
- different knobs (metal instead of graduated plastic)
- exclusivity

Sound wise and feeling wise, the guitars feel very similar, to the point that I can't tell one from the other except from the looks.

I quite like Martin Miller and find the color scheme quite beautiful, but am questioning the wisdom of paying almost 50% more for his signature guitar compared to something plainer, bit also more under the radar, and as good functionally.

I'd be curious to know how you'd approach that dilemma?

On a side note, while the necks were nice, the fretboard edges and fret edges were not what I would have expected for such pricey guitars, and certainly below the level of my Genesis RG570.

Fire away!
 

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Hmm depends on a few things i guess..

- how much more you like the MM1
- how much $900 is to you.

But I'd also guess resale value might be important. If you're gonna sell it on again in a few years will the MM1 get a bigger return?

I'm a gearhound... Other than my 77FP (that's untouchable) I buy 2nd hand and sell on every few years. So my thought process is usually deciding if I'm buying cheap enough to break even make a small profit.. Helps fund next year's GAS attack...

Otherwise if you're keeping it long term as your main axe then "buy the best instrument your budget allows" is a good rule of thumb. Which would be an MM1 vote i guess...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm depends on a few things i guess..

- how much more you like the MM1
- how much $900 is to you.

But I'd also guess resale value might be important. If you're gonna sell it on again in a few years will the MM1 get a bigger return?

I'm a gearhound... Other than my 77FP (that's untouchable) I buy 2nd hand and sell on every few years. So my thought process is usually deciding if I'm buying cheap enough to break even make a small profit.. Helps fund next year's GAS attack...

Otherwise if you're keeping it long term as your main axe then "buy the best instrument your budget allows" is a good rule of thumb. Which would be an MM1 vote i guess...
I guess my main issue is that in Canada, the regular AZ is 2800 and the MM is $3500.

These felt like OK $1000-ish guitars but not 3 grand guitars, I don't care how much roasting and stainless frets cost extra.

They just didn't feel special, or even particularly well put together (no neck or fret finish) to even compare with my RG570 Genesis, which costs only a third as much.

Bottom line, justifying the discounted regular production one might still be OK given how versatile an instrument that is, but the MM1, which I find much much prettier, simply doesn't feel like a 3 grand+ guitar. That's too bad. I really would have wanted one, but at that price, I expect what I buy to feel like something of a luxury, which this didn't.
 

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I guess my main issue is that in Canada, the regular AZ is 2800 and the MM is $3500.

These felt like OK $1000-ish guitars but not 3 grand guitars, I don't care how much roasting and stainless frets cost extra.

They just didn't feel special, or even particularly well put together (no neck or fret finish) to even compare with my RG570 Genesis, which costs only a third as much.

Bottom line, justifying the discounted regular production one might still be OK given how versatile an instrument that is, but the MM1, which I find much much prettier, simply doesn't feel like a 3 grand+ guitar. That's too bad. I really would have wanted one, but at that price, I expect what I buy to feel like something of a luxury, which this didn't.
Sounds like you already have your mind made up, if that's the case why start the thread unless to bash the pricing structure?

More expensive features breakdown kind of like this. The roasting of maple changes the appearance and supposedly the tonality. I've only owned a EBMM with a roasted neck and thus never compared and identical model without. Not all wood will become suitable for a neck so it's possible this process increases waste and, as a result, cost, Ive been told that stainless steel is not only more expensive but harder to work and requires new/different tools. Again, this all increases cost. Finally the Luminlay side inlays cost more than black or white plastic dots.

At the end of the day between the AZ and MM you're paying for 3 extra things:
1: A premium for a name attached to the guitar with it's perceived value
2: A limited production finish.
3. Abalone inlaya

The rest of the features seem interchangeable except those two. Only the buyer knows their worth.

Lucas
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess my main issue is that in Canada, the regular AZ is 2800 and the MM is $3500.

These felt like OK $1000-ish guitars but not 3 grand guitars, I don't care how much roasting and stainless frets cost extra.

They just didn't feel special, or even particularly well put together (no neck or fret finish) to even compare with my RG570 Genesis, which costs only a third as much.

Bottom line, justifying the discounted regular production one might still be OK given how versatile an instrument that is, but the MM1, which I find much much prettier, simply doesn't feel like a 3 grand+ guitar. That's too bad. I really would have wanted one, but at that price, I expect what I buy to feel like something of a luxury, which this didn't.
Sounds like you already have your mind made up, if that's the case why start the thread unless to bash the pricing structure?

More expensive features breakdown kind of like this. The roasting of maple changes the appearance and supposedly the tonality. I've only owned a EBMM with a roasted neck and thus never compared and identical model without. Not all wood will become suitable for a neck so it's possible this process increases waste and, as a result, cost, Ive been told that stainless steel is not only more expensive but harder to work and requires new/different tools. Again, this all increases cost. Finally the Luminlay side inlays cost more than black or white plastic dots.

At the end of the day between the AZ and MM you're paying for 3 extra things:
1: A premium for a name attached to the guitar with it's perceived value
2: A limited production finish.
3. Abalone inlaya

The rest of the features seem interchangeable except those two. Only the buyer knows their worth.

Lucas
I'm not "bashing the price structure". To me a guitar has to be more than just the sum of disparate parts, no matter how much these cost.

All I'm saying is that I was surprised that, given their price, these guitars didn't feel special, or even particularly well put together.

Most guitars $750 and up that I've played or handled had better finished and smoother fret ends and fretboard edges than the 5 different AZs than I've handled, including that MM1.

Since pretty much the only "reviews" available are nothing more than advertisements, I thought that without bashing, sharing my impression that despite their nice features, and great sound, these expensive guitars absolutely did not FEEL expensive. That's all.

If I had more toy money, I'd still like the MM1 (I'd get a luthier or someone like Rich at Ibanez Rules to sort out the fret ends and fretboard edges) because I love the colour, like the features and the look, but since I can't throw away money, I personally would rather get something that feels special and like someone actually spent some time finishing if I spend that kind of coin.
 

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It's the fret ends, they're sharp, the edges of the board aren't rolled, it's the same with virtually all maple fretboard guitars. They never feel good out of the box, and nothing rosewood feels like it did 10 years ago. You can work the fret ends but you can't do anything to the fretboard edges because the roasting color is only the surface, it strips right off.

The other difference in the MM is the royalties and perceived extra coin they can get from fans, but actually it's the flame maple top. That adds $800 right now if you want to do a prop run on any Prestige. And the Koa top is a $3500 guitar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rich,

I understand that, and my comment would have been the same regarding the regular Prestige AZs, which came down to about 300$ less than the MM1. They don't feel like as expensive a guitar as the price tag suggests.

Serious question for you of all people: why would sharp fret ends be acceptable on a "Prestige" level guitar at this price point, especially one aimed at the discerning player?
 

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If you're interested in a Prestige MM signature AZ just buy a Suhr, at least here in the UK the prices are close enough, you can get a Modern Pro for give or take £300 more. On my Suhr (roasted maple board, SS frets) the frets came flawless, the edges were rolled and the maple was sculpted around the frets to accentuate the rolled feel. I've only played the Premium AZ so far and I was left a bit uninspired and really wasn't massive on the neck shape, so I only have hearsay to go on regarding the Prestige AZ, but if they aren't up to scratch then the real deal doesn't cost that much more.
 

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I guess my main issue is that in Canada, the regular AZ is 2800 and the MM is $3500.

These felt like OK $1000-ish guitars but not 3 grand guitars, I don't care how much roasting and stainless frets cost extra.

They just didn't feel special, or even particularly well put together (no neck or fret finish) to even compare with my RG570 Genesis, which costs only a third as much.

Bottom line, justifying the discounted regular production one might still be OK given how versatile an instrument that is, but the MM1, which I find much much prettier, simply doesn't feel like a 3 grand+ guitar. That's too bad. I really would have wanted one, but at that price, I expect what I buy to feel like something of a luxury, which this didn't.
Sounds like you already have your mind made up, if that's the case why start the thread unless to bash the pricing structure?

More expensive features breakdown kind of like this. The roasting of maple changes the appearance and supposedly the tonality. I've only owned a EBMM with a roasted neck and thus never compared and identical model without. Not all wood will become suitable for a neck so it's possible this process increases waste and, as a result, cost, Ive been told that stainless steel is not only more expensive but harder to work and requires new/different tools. Again, this all increases cost. Finally the Luminlay side inlays cost more than black or white plastic dots.

At the end of the day between the AZ and MM you're paying for 3 extra things:
1: A premium for a name attached to the guitar with it's perceived value
2: A limited production finish.
3. Abalone inlaya

The rest of the features seem interchangeable except those two. Only the buyer knows their worth.

Lucas
I'm not "bashing the price structure". To me a guitar has to be more than just the sum of disparate parts, no matter how much these cost.

All I'm saying is that I was surprised that, given their price, these guitars didn't feel special, or even particularly well put together.

Most guitars $750 and up that I've played or handled had better finished and smoother fret ends and fretboard edges than the 5 different AZs than I've handled, including that MM1.

Since pretty much the only "reviews" available are nothing more than advertisements, I thought that without bashing, sharing my impression that despite their nice features, and great sound, these expensive guitars absolutely did not FEEL expensive. That's all.

If I had more toy money, I'd still like the MM1 (I'd get a luthier or someone like Rich at Ibanez Rules to sort out the fret ends and fretboard edges) because I love the colour, like the features and the look, but since I can't throw away money, I personally would rather get something that feels special and like someone actually spent some time finishing if I spend that kind of coin.
I get what you're saying now. I've yet to see an AZ in person, so I'm disheartened it's that bad.

Serious question for you of all people: why would sharp fret ends be acceptable on a "Prestige" level guitar at this price point, especially one aimed at the discerning player?
They're not, but I'll give you the same answer they give me.

Nobody else is complaining.
Good grief, that's terrible. And I remember you saying even the JCs are suffering. That's a shame because I LIVE some of these new features like the luminary markers new pickups etc.

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Luke,

Not that it's "that bad". The guitars sound great, and cover a lot of ground. The components are quality and the features are great.

What I'm saying is that in terms of craftsmanship, which is a feature that is important to ME -and not necessarily to others- at that price point, they seem generic and disappointing, and certainly not special.
 

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Luke,

Not that it's "that bad". The guitars sound great, and cover a lot of ground. The components are quality and the features are great.

What I'm saying is that in terms of craftsmanship, which is a feature that is important to ME -and not necessarily to others- at that price point, they seem generic and disappointing, and certainly not special.
Yeah, I understand. I played a 5120M at GC and I love all the features, but the fret sprout was pretty bad. I guess it wasn't JUST that guitar!
 

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I think if you're spending $2600US ($3500CAD) you deserve, and should certainly expect, to be overwhelmed by the guitar in every way - nothing less. I wouldn't part with that cash under any other circumstances.
 
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