Question for the Ibanezerati: Old MIJ vs new MIJ...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by sixesandsevens, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. sixesandsevens

    sixesandsevens Member

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    Given a choice between a newer MIJ (prestige?) model and an older MIJ model (say, a glossy-necked 7xx from the early '90s or '89) which would you choose and why?

    I had been considering one of the new RG premium (Indonesian) models, but it seems like you can get an older MIJ RG for a fair bit less.

    Thanks!
     
  2. sixesandsevens

    sixesandsevens Member

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    Oh come now TGP... I know from reading the archives that at least some of you play Ibanez guitars! ;)
     
  3. chucke99

    chucke99 Member

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    I'm big on Ibbies, but not for guitars past about 1986, until you get to 2006, when they started to put out some really excellent semi-hollows from China.

    I would probably err on the side of getting an older MIJ RG rather than a new one, unless the newer one has features the older one does not. Buying the older one used, it will definitely hold its value. Even if you buy the new one used, you don't know how the model will hold value in the future. One other thing about '87 to '89 models, they have a much better trem on them than later (or new) models.

    If you can play both before you buy, and you really like the newer model, then, by all means, get that one.
     
  4. Dipintoplayer

    Dipintoplayer Member

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    If i'm playing a Ibby its all about Pre 89 MIJ S540 LTd's or higher..The older MIJ Ibby's are great buys ..The older MIJ RG's are one of the best bang for your buck guitars out there..They have fallen off in price because of the reputation of being a beginners model like todays RG's..If you can find the older MIJ's for a fair price your getting a lot of guitar for your dollars....
     
  5. RedTiger

    RedTiger Member

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    Older. I can't recommend the new Prestige models based on price/quality vs. the old ones. I also like the way the older ones feel, and I prefer the original Edge and Lo Pro to the current trem, but that's just a personal preference. I actually have mine trems block off for right now.

    And yes, most shops, except maybe for the big box stores, that have the older Japanese ones are completely clueless about what they have and price them the same as the cheaper Korean/Indonesian/Chinese models

    The ONLY thing I'd put in favor of the new ones is the necks. They are just flat-out made better. 5 piece maple and walnut with titanium reinforcement is going to keep that thin neck in much better shape over the long haul. But that's the only thing.

    I would look for a Japanese made RG from the late 90s or early 00s. Those are the best years. If you can find a Prestige from those years (back when Prestige meant something and wasn't just a synonym for "Made in Japan"), that's even better. Those are some of the finest guitars FujiGen made, or so I've heard.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  6. DR5Guy

    DR5Guy Member

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    +1 :agree
     
  7. fracs

    fracs Member

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    IDK, I have a '92 540s and outside of the stock Pups I love it. I put a Dimarzio paf Joe in the bridge, a chopper in the middle and a fast track 1 in the neck position and it just sings now. That guitar plays so well that it is the only Ibby I have left (sold off my 3 jems).
     
  8. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    Up to 2001 MIJ "Prestige" were very nice. Find a RG3120tw or RG3120dw and be very happy.
     
  9. sixesandsevens

    sixesandsevens Member

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    Thanks for the perspective! The early RG necks didn't do it for me at first play, but the prices sure are right. :)

    I've been thinking I might A/B the JS1000 (which has a decidedly non-wizard feel) with a few older RGs if I can find some and see what comes of it.

    :dude
     
  10. Sidmore

    Sidmore no talent hack Silver Supporting Member

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    I've owned/played an 89 RG550 since 1991 and much prefer the original Wizard neck over any subsequent iteration
     
  11. carderoni

    carderoni Member

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    The so-called "Golden Age" of MIJ Ibanez guitars ends around the early or mid 90's, depending on who you ask. I've found that the best Ibanez guitars I've owned - and I've owned over a dozen and played many more - were generally made in the 80's and early 90's.

    By the mid 90's they'd kicked the stock DiMarzio pickups and started using their in-house designs which simply don't compare. They also started using such "exotic" materials as fiberboard (see the Talman circa '95) when they were having trouble sourcing alder and some other traditional tonewoods. Not to mention this was also when they started moving away from the higher quality Edge and Lo Pro designs in favor of cheaper designs like the Edge Pro.

    If you're looking for something JS-esque, try to find an old R series - it is, after all, what they modeled the JS after. Better value than paying for the JS name, just harder to find.
     
  12. carderoni

    carderoni Member

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    Funny thing - I have a '91 540S and also put a PAF Joe in the bridge. Great guitar! Absolutely on par with anything else I own from the big USA companies.
     
  13. RedTiger

    RedTiger Member

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    The Edge Pro was introduced in 2003 when their license with Floyd Rose expired. The regular production and Prestige guitars from the late 90s and early 00s still had the original Edge and Lo Pro.

    The mid 90s did seem them start making a distinction between higher and lower end guitars, moving production out of Japan, etc., but a Japanese made RG during that time would still be made of the same woods.

    As for the "golden age", I know what I prefer, but the late 90s early 00s were the point where the craftmanship on their Prestige guitars was highest and was truly distinct from a regular production FujiGen Ibanez. I played a 2001 7VWH a while back and the tree of life inlay was immaculate.
     
  14. sixesandsevens

    sixesandsevens Member

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    As a minor clarification, I've heard that it wasn't a license that expired, but several of the patents on the OFR design that expired. At that point it seems they thought they could design a replacement with those features that no longer incurred the license fees, thereby saving money.

    I've been trying to find a side by side comparison of the 540R and the JS, but haven't found one yet. I read in one place that the neck is a lot slimmer on the older models than the "digitized strat neck" on the MIJ JS models. I haven't held a Radius in 15 years or more, but I also don't recall the body on the 540R being as thin as on the JS. Are they much different?
     
  15. paulscape

    paulscape Member

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    I was just looking at some ibanez's on ebay. Some great deals and also a few unique models for cheap like these:

    teleshredder
     
  16. Darkness

    Darkness Member

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    2001 RG3120 has the vaunted LoPro Edge. Pups are Dimarzio PAF and Tone Zone.
     
  17. Honk

    Honk Member

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    I have a closet full of MIJ Ibanez and feel the best value and materials can be found in the older range you're looking at. The market is so saturated with them that great deals can be found all the time.

    It's worth pointing out that, for the RG range, the older ones you're looking at will be much more likely to have cracks at the heel and behind the locking nut. The original Jem/RG shape has a beautiful but impractical curve from the top horn to the heel that gets down to a couple mills thick; in a well played guitar it almost always results in a nice long finish crack. Won't give you any trouble, though. They padded that out to a less beautiful but stronger shoulder in I think '93. The weakness behind the locking nut, a result of a thin neck, scarf joint, and large drilled holes to mount the nut nut, took quite a bit longer to address. I can't remember what year they started using a 'volute' here to strengthen things up.

    So you might want to push into the nineties if those things scare you. It all still feels better to me than recent "Prestige" models.

    A bummer with some 540Rs versus the JS is individual pickup switches, a feature my 540P shares. Often they have one toggle switch for each pickup, so flipping between neck and bridge, say, takes two moves, which isn't very practical mid solo! Just look out for it. Some have regular 5-ways.
     
  18. sixesandsevens

    sixesandsevens Member

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    Thanks for info. The finish cracks don't scare me as I'm just as happy to have the first few dings be inherited. :)

    Thanks again on that!
     

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