Ibanez. Prestige v Premium?

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fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 13261
edited August 2017 in Guitar
I'm in the market for a widdly machine.

Looking at the current Ibanez options there seems to be a bit of a cross-over in price between the Prestige and Premium lines. The lower cost Japanese built ones appear to be plainer choices, while the higher cost Premiums are a bit flashier, in top and colour options.

So how comparable is the quality? 

The Prestige RG2550 is about £1100, and so is the Premium blue floral Jem.

As much as I love the Jem (lusting after it like a teenage Vai fanboy tbh), is the RG2550 actually a better guitar?

Any thoughts?



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  • I've only played a Prestige, but it reminded me of my mates 80's RG550. 

    Awesome. 
    " Why does it smell of bum?" Mrs Professorben.
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  • EvilmagsEvilmags Frets: 5147
    The prestige is of very similar quality in terms of build to old 550s, with some of the fancier ones having more neck reinforcement. TBH second hand J Customs are not that hard to find and are really nice. 
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  • As you may gather by my hand-wringing at letting go a fantastic MIJ 540S a few days ago for south of £300, you should absolutely positively go used. A used RG550 (or 540S :anguished: ) would do you about a quarter of the price for at least the same spec.
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  • JDEJDE Frets: 1088
    As above, if you don't mind used, look for a J Custom, or grab a bargain and get an old 550 and put the pickups of your choice in. 
    If it must be new, the RG652 is, in my humble opinion, the best shred machine on the market. Try before you buy though - the neck is unreal thin, so you may like it or not! I wish I thought the Premiums were as good, because I'd love a Blue Floral Jem or the Blue Reef RG6PCM which I think are *beautiful* looking, but my 652 blows them out of the water. 
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  • JDEJDE Frets: 1088
    As an aside, Coda have (had?) ab RG1550 in their Used section for £500 - if I wanted to save some cash, I'd get that and a set of Evos or Gravity Storms if I wanted a budget Jem. Well under the cost of a Premium Blue Floral, but a better guitar, imo. 

    Also, there's actually nowt wrong with the stock Ibby pickups, but it's hard to compare a guitar with top line Dimarzio's to one without, that's all :)
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  • The Premiums are utterly outstanding. I have a RG870QMZ.... twice! It's just amazing on every level. And I paid £729 for what was one of the finest guitars I've ever played.
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  • Buy an old USA Hamer shredder ;p (I was bound to say that) if you are spending a grand, you could probably find something very special indeed!
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 13261
    Been watching demos.

    Now I want the UV70P 7 string as well.

    FML



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  • mike_lmike_l Frets: 5679
    JDE said:
    As an aside, Coda have (had?) ab RG1550 in their Used section for £500 - if I wanted to save some cash, I'd get that and a set of Evos or Gravity Storms if I wanted a budget Jem. Well under the cost of a Premium Blue Floral, but a better guitar, imo. 

    Also, there's actually nowt wrong with the stock Ibby pickups, but it's hard to compare a guitar with top line Dimarzio's to one without, that's all :)

    That was my thunking, same spec as my RG1550 which is a fannytastic guitar. Mine had Di Marzio's fitted when I got it.

    Ringleader of the Cambridge cartel, pedal champ and king of the dirt boxes (down to 21) 

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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    Is this any good for you ?

    Ibanez RG7620GN 7 String Guitar


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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    Or this ?.......which is frankly insane value for money !

    Ibanez Prestige RG2550EX


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  • Alnico said:
    Or this ?.......which is frankly insane value for money !

    Ibanez Prestige RG2550EX


    Those are amazing guitars. 

    My mate had one, stunning. Pickups are bloody good too. 
    " Why does it smell of bum?" Mrs Professorben.
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    Alnico said:
    Or this ?.......which is frankly insane value for money !

    Ibanez Prestige RG2550EX


    Those are amazing guitars. 

    My mate had one, stunning. Pickups are bloody good too. 
    It would be bought by me by now if I had spending money.
    Unfortunately / Fortunately I don't because 'That Thing' I just did is 2/3s paid for and it all fixed up now!

    This is a bargain but I've got bigger things going on right now.
    Hope this helps the OP find something cool though.
    :)
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  • NikkoNikko Frets: 1803
    Theres a nice looking RG1570Z in mystic blue for sale in my local shop. Quite tempting :)
    **Signature space available for a reasonable fee. Enquire within**
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 13261
    My local Pmt is getting a Blue Floral in tomorrow, so I'm going to try that before I decide.
    theyve usually got a Prestige or 2 as well so I can compare them.

    If my hamfisted, err, hands can't tell a difference, then I'll go with the one that looks like a tarts handbag!



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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 4082
    Hard to believe no-one has posted this yet...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dceB3SKBw9w

    We should all probably bear in mind more when posting on here (and I don't exclude myself from this) that the guitar world is very small, the Fretboard is quite well known, and it is not uncommon at all for the subjects of our posts to read them...
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 2170

    My personal verdict so far is that the woods aren't as good as they used to be. :( Even on Prestiges.

    Finishing and detail is usually great, with some crazy-good setups.

    I played a SFG JEM (unplugged only, I think, not really being my thing) and though the wisdom is "that's not a JEM", it felt good. I think that's the only Premium I've tried.

    It's not rubbish wood, otherwise one would not hear much difference between an ash 652AHM and a blackwood/basswood 652K (I did), but they wouldn't do what my beaten-to-death old '91 550 does. Nor would the reissued RG770s (with block heels!).

    I dare say Jen Majura could now get a pricier Ibby to play with Evanescence than the "not-a-JEM" Indo-BFP, but I'm also not sure I'd set the most store by her verdict. Maybe it's a good one.

    I've seen a fair few folk say it's better to look for a battered old Green Dot than a new UV70P, but I don't know much about sevenstrings.

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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22424
    I have a premium that is a really good guitar. It's not quite for me as I prefer a 24.75" scale length, but I had to give it a go!
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    DLM said:

    My personal verdict so far is that the woods aren't as good as they used to be. :( Even on Prestiges.

    Finishing and detail is usually great, with some crazy-good setups.

    I played a SFG JEM (unplugged only, I think, not really being my thing) and though the wisdom is "that's not a JEM", it felt good. I think that's the only Premium I've tried.

    It's not rubbish wood, otherwise one would not hear much difference between an ash 652AHM and a blackwood/basswood 652K (I did), but they wouldn't do what my beaten-to-death old '91 550 does. Nor would the reissued RG770s (with block heels!).

    I dare say Jen Majura could now get a pricier Ibby to play with Evanescence than the "not-a-JEM" Indo-BFP, but I'm also not sure I'd set the most store by her verdict. Maybe it's a good one.

    I've seen a fair few folk say it's better to look for a battered old Green Dot than a new UV70P, but I don't know much about sevenstrings.

    Why is an SFG considered "Not a Jem"?
    Is it because it's a lower price tag or is it that snobs consider the original Japanese ones to be the only 'Real' Jems and everything else is just a modern day copy?

    I've read somewhere on another forum that any of the Universe models that came after the original models are apparently very different and "A totally different playing experience"!

    How far back do you have to go to get a 'Real Jem' or a 'Real UV'?
    Is it something to do with the factory they were built in?
    I've heard a lot of good and bad things about J-Craft or Team J-Craft but then when I hear bad stuff about that it's confusing because I thought all the Japanese models were the good ones..........

    I'd love to find out about all of this.
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 2170

    @Alnico Yeah, the "not-a-JEM" thing started with the JEM 505/555/JR and basically comes down to Japanese = JEM

    The Indonesian (Premium) Universes have a very different vibrato system to the Japanese ones, especially the early ones.

    Picking through the Ibanez Rules website/Jemsite/Sevenstring/Metalguitarist selectively will get you a good overview. Rich Harris' forum posts are very informative on QC problems, he has to be seen as an authority IMO.

    Personally, I think that as soon as you want to use a vibrato system on a guitar, it becomes its heart, and had better be a good one. That means that it had better sound good and/or stay in tune (see Scott Henderson!). The Edge Zero is Ibanez current top-of-the-line system (outside the US, where they have patent infringement problems). I find my example frankly disappointing compared to my knackered old '91 Edge, which must be a German-made example. It works fine (though the feel is a bit different), but the metal is just not as hard. Moving metal parts wear and fail, its just a question of how fast. It's not as if we're not paying enough for the kit at current JEM/J-Custom prices.

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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 2979
    I Own a prestige RG1550, have owned a few old RG550's and played a fair few premium models.  IMO which is a bit controversial, the newer ones are better guitars that the 80's ones based on the ones I've owned.  There isn't a lot, if any difference in quality between the Japanese prestige models and the Indonesian Premiums, but the prestige models represent amazing value for money used, my RG1550 cost me £400 with a set of Bare Knuckle Emeralds installed 
    Do me a favour and like this:

    https://www.facebook.com/MarkedCoversBand
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    edited August 2017
    DLM said:

    @Alnico Yeah, the "not-a-JEM" thing started with the JEM 505/555/JR and basically comes down to Japanese = JEM

    The Indonesian (Premium) Universes have a very different vibrato system to the Japanese ones, especially the early ones.

    Picking through the Ibanez Rules website/Jemsite/Sevenstring/Metalguitarist selectively will get you a good overview. Rich Harris' forum posts are very informative on QC problems, he has to be seen as an authority IMO.

    Personally, I think that as soon as you want to use a vibrato system on a guitar, it becomes its heart, and had better be a good one. That means that it had better sound good and/or stay in tune (see Scott Henderson!). The Edge Zero is Ibanez current top-of-the-line system (outside the US, where they have patent infringement problems). I find my example frankly disappointing compared to my knackered old '91 Edge, which must be a German-made example. It works fine (though the feel is a bit different), but the metal is just not as hard. Moving metal parts wear and fail, its just a question of how fast. It's not as if we're not paying enough for the kit at current JEM/J-Custom prices.

    Thanks Dom,
    That makes a degree of sense now.
    I'll look all that up.

    BTW. ......I just found out recently that the edge zero II can wear the arm and socket from the original edge, so it can use the arm that has the little white torque bushings and, as my Iron label now has, the ultralight carbon arm.
    It's a revelation over the zero arm that has the screw cap torque setting and then clunks around like land rover suspension.

    The edge socket just bolts straight in, no drilling or mods, just be sure to get the spring and bolt/screw to make it a complete assembly.
    Total price of the mod kit is £27 with a standard edge arm or £67 with an ultra lite arm.
    I can get the part numbers and some pics of what i did to mine and post them when I get home if you like?
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 13261
    The mod kit info would be useful, thanks.

    Im going out in a mo and I expect to come home with a guitar!



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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    edited August 2017
    The mod kit info would be useful, thanks.

    Im going out in a mo and I expect to come home with a guitar!
    Cool.
    I'll be home in a couple of hours. 
    I'll post it all when I get back.

    Good luck with the new one !!

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  • DLMDLM Frets: 2170

    Thanks for the offer, @Alnico, but my Edge Zero isn't clunky at all (yet), and I have a spare bushing for it if it does go that way.

    The Edge Zero bar, being one piece, looks a lot more solid than the standard Edge bars. I break at least one of the latter a year if I'm gigging/practising a lot. They always fail in the same place. I understand Vai goes through them like Skittles.

    The Edge Zero II seems a quite different proposition. I hate sloppy wang bars. :disgusted: @LeeCassidy gave me the invaluable tip of melting the white Edge torque bushings slightly with a flame to re-tension them when they've gone sloppy. I'm not as arm-sag-phobic as Reb Beach, but I do love a flutter every once in a while, and now my arm stays boingy for aaages! :)

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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    DLM said:

    Thanks for the offer, @Alnico, but my Edge Zero isn't clunky at all (yet), and I have a spare bushing for it if it does go that way.

    The Edge Zero bar, being one piece, looks a lot more solid than the standard Edge bars. I break at least one of the latter a year if I'm gigging/practising a lot. They always fail in the same place. I understand Vai goes through them like Skittles.

    The Edge Zero II seems a quite different proposition. I hate sloppy wang bars. :disgusted: @LeeCassidy gave me the invaluable tip of melting the white Edge torque bushings slightly with a flame to re-tension them when they've gone sloppy. I'm not as arm-sag-phobic as Reb Beach, but I do love a flutter every once in a while, and now my arm stays boingy for aaages! :)

    Ahaaaaaa. 
    That's helped me out a lot.

    There IS a difference between edge zero and zero II. 
    That makes more sense now.

    Yes I'm Talking about the daft one with the screw cap and no bushings.
    Yours is better from the start as you say.

    I get what you say about the arms on the edge but the new carbon arm is amazing.
    Twice the thickness, weighs almost the same as paper and is virtually unsnappable. 
    Also because it weighs very little it stays where you leave it.

    The tip about melting the bushes a little is genius. Mine have a clunk after just a week so that will definitely be employed on all of mine.
    Nice one.
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    edited August 2017
    As promised, here's what I've found out by modifying my Iron Label and it's Edge Zero II tremolo.

    First off, here's the guitar on day 1...

    http://i.imgur.com/J5vD9oq.jpg

    http://i.imgur.com/SywjkLW.jpg

    and here's the arm and holder removed from the guitar.
    As you can see there is a torque bush at the top which adjusts arm tension but there's no bushing below that and that's where the arm is free to clunk around and has a fair amount of play in it....

    http://i.imgur.com/vfA208K.jpg

    So here's the part number of the arm socket/holder from the original 'Edge' Tremolo.
    I got mine from Alan at Ibanezguitarspares.co.uk but I'm sure Cottam guitars would also have these or could get them....

    http://i.imgur.com/hEBQvIC.jpg

    And here's the difference between the arm fitments.
    The new (Edge) arm has two little clip fitting bushes which stop play in the socket. I've removed one here so you can see the groove it goes into and how they fit. They're replaceable for when they wear out (Roughly £1 each).
    This photo also shows how much thicker the Carbon Ultralite arm is..

    http://i.imgur.com/xXtB2Jg.jpg

    And here's the new socket fitted to the guitar, it's just a ferrule nut under the baseplate and the new socket/holder fits the hole perfectly, no drilling or any modification, just bolt it on and use a deep 1/4"drive socket to tighten it....

    http://i.imgur.com/6wBDFgC.jpg

    The arm is now push fitting and the socket is much neater, plus you get to adjust the torque by removing one of the 2 bushes on the arm (or both of you want it with no resistance at all) and there's little to no play inside the socket.

    Here's the guitar with the carbon arm and the new Ibanez Sure Grip III knobs after i rewired it all with a new 85 pickup for the bridge position, moved the 81 into the Neck Position (Existing '60' neck pickup now spare), fitted EMG pots and switch, all solderless wiring harness and replaced the kill switch with a tone pot...

    http://i.imgur.com/lAy1IlH.jpg

    http://i.imgur.com/n2IeJEk.jpg

    http://i.imgur.com/CUSMhdk.jpg

    http://i.imgur.com/KxbTNXP.jpg

    and here's the Tremolo springs it now uses which are a lot better than the standard ones.
    Even with 10 gauge strings I only have 2 springs fitted but the claw is quite far forwards. If I fit 3 HD springs the claw is way back in the cavity but I prefer using only 2. These are £5 a set from THIS place here

    http://i.imgur.com/gDIuyhg.jpg

    .......and they're also fitted to my Strat which again, uses on 2 of them on 10 gauge strings.
    Here's the Strat and that's how far back the claw is, they're very powerful springs but with only 2 of them the tremolo arm action is featherlight......

    http://i.imgur.com/4znrLxp.jpg

    Hope some of this is at least interesting, maybe even helpful.




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  • StefBStefB Frets: 791
    JDE said:
    As an aside, Coda have (had?) ab RG1550 in their Used section for £500 - if I wanted to save some cash, I'd get that and a set of Evos or Gravity Storms if I wanted a budget Jem. Well under the cost of a Premium Blue Floral, but a better guitar, imo. 

    Also, there's actually nowt wrong with the stock Ibby pickups, but it's hard to compare a guitar with top line Dimarzio's to one without, that's all :)

    The RG1550 at Coda has been reduced to £299 today, so someone had better get a wriggle on for a ridiculous bargain - https://www.coda-music.com/summer-sale/ibanez-prestige-rg1550-phantom-blue-secondhand.html
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 4603
    edited August 2017
    StefB said:
    JDE said:
    As an aside, Coda have (had?) ab RG1550 in their Used section for £500 - if I wanted to save some cash, I'd get that and a set of Evos or Gravity Storms if I wanted a budget Jem. Well under the cost of a Premium Blue Floral, but a better guitar, imo. 

    Also, there's actually nowt wrong with the stock Ibby pickups, but it's hard to compare a guitar with top line Dimarzio's to one without, that's all

    The RG1550 at Coda has been reduced to £299 today, so someone had better get a wriggle on for a ridiculous bargain - https://www.coda-music.com/summer-sale/ibanez-prestige-rg1550-phantom-blue-secondhand.html
    Jesus !!!
    That's insane.

    If I could, I would.........
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