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Ibanez is one of the biggest guitar manufacturing brands who sit upon the same pedestal as Fender, Squire, and PRS. It’s been operating for some 62 years ago and is a Japanese brand owned by an even older musical house with, however, slightly less renown called Hoshino Gakki.
There are virtually hundreds of models from Ibanez world-class series, such as Artcore, Artist, FR, Mikro, and such, and they even have numerous signature guitars they’ve fashioned after some of the most famous guitarists, such as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Herman Li, Paul Stanley, Nita Strauss, and such.
If there’s one thing Ibanez is famous for, it’s the exceptional sound quality their guitars make. Namely, their main field of operation is the rock and metal sphere, although various artists use their axes. They excel in providing the edgiest, full-bodied sounding guitars, so if you’re searching for a punchy tone, you definitely need some of what they have to offer.
Ibanez RG Series – What’s so ‘Prestige’ About This Guitar?
The RG series is undoubtedly one of the most successful Ibanez series. It’s comprised of the J custom, Premium, Gio, Prestige, IronLabel, Genesis Collection, and the RG Standard. All of these guitars share a similar body type, although almost everything else differs between them.
For instance, the J-Custom has the most exotic finish and, perhaps excels the most in aesthetics. The Premium has a set of very peculiar dotted inlays which might appear confusing for beginners.
Gio is pretty much everything you’d expect from a hard-core Ibanez guitar made for those with a heavier taste while Iron Label resembles ‘Premium’ in many aspects, although different pickups and hardware were used while manufacturing it – Ibanez also describes it as ‘Metal to the Core’, which only affirms that it’s made specifically for rockers and metal-heads.
Now, the ‘Prestige’ is strikingly different from all the other models. It aims to provide the player with the three crucial ‘P-s’ – precision, performance, and of course, playability. It boasts bleeding edge technologies, sounds exceptionally full, and is made of exceptionally durable materials.
Basically, the Prestige has quite a lot of high-quality features. Some of the most notable ones include a 5-piece maple neck, ash body, maple fingerboard, DiMarzio pickups, Edge bridge, and a complementary hardshell case.
Maple & Walnut Neck
In essence, Maple is the very definition of ‘brightness’ – it is very hard and makes up for its heaviness with plenty of stability, sustain, moderately warm feel and excellent compatibility with virtually every other tonewood. On the other hand, Walnut is typically used for guitar’s body, but in combination with Maple it ads just about enough warmness to the, according to some guitarists, ‘a bit over-the-top brightness’.
This particular combo, the Walnut and Maple set out a plain message. You can rest assured that ‘Prestige’ will offer you a ton of durability and sustain, and that’s putting it mildly.
Ash is most certainly an upgrade from the Ibanez traditional basswood body type. It provides a rather bright tone and offers plenty of sustain, but what’s so great about it is that it’s also very durable.
It gives a lot of grain to the body as well, which is why it looks as beautiful as it does. This particular body tonewood is completely opposite in comparison to basswood, which is ultra light, warm, but lacks brightness (which is perhaps the reason why some people don’t like it all that much). So, even though it’s true that Ash gives a slightly heavy feel, it resounds phenomenally in terms of sonic performance and it’s as sturdy as possibly can be.
We’ve already mentioned what type of tonewood maple is, but the situation is slightly different when this material is used in the construction of a fingerboard.
Namely, being so firm and dense, a fingerboard made of Maple is hard and stable. The particular form of maple used for Prestige’s fingerboard is somewhat lighter and refined so as to provide a slicker surface, making it easier to perform techniques such as hammer-on, pull-off, finger tapping, and such.
The ‘Edge’ bridge is Ibanez’s patented type of double-lock tremolo system that bears much semblance to the Floyd Rose, although many guitarists claim that the former is superior in many aspects.
Namely, there are locking studs that significantly improve the already great tuning stability, as well as spring retainers that enhance it even further. The only ‘bad’ thing about this form of ‘Edge’ bridge is that it’s subpar in quality when compared to the improved versions – Edge Pro and Edge II.
There are two DiMarzio pickups on the ‘Prestige’ – the Air Norton on the neck and Tone Zone on the bridge. The Air Norton pickup is sometimes called the ‘Airbucker’. It works exceptionally well with high gain amps, offering a very deep, warm sound that resounds with minimal distortion and muddiness.
As for the bridge magnet, the Tone zone, it’s also perfect for heavier music as it gives a boost to the guitar’s attack. Many guitarists describe it as ‘high output pickup that sports a huge dynamic range’, and that would be the perfect definition if there ever were one. So, what these two pickups do when combined is provide you with plenty of bass and mids, although you might need a good EQ pedal to even out the slightly lacking treble section.
Playability is a very important factor in every guitar. It determines how easy it is to play it and the sort of a ‘learning curve’. A highly playable guitar is perfect for beginners and pros alike, whereas low playability usually means that it’s reserved for seasoned veterans and advanced level players.
Standard Dotted Inlays
The only reason why we even mention the inlays is because numerous models from the RG series have unconventional inlays carved in the E and A strings (rather than A and B). This form of dotted inlays gives us a clear message that Ibanez designed ‘Prestige’ for both beginner guitar players and advanced musicians.
Jumbo frets & Prestige Fret Edge Treatment
Again, the ‘jumbo’ frets are yet another feature that explains why Prestige is so good for newcomers. The ‘lowest’ frets are slightly wider than average, making it easier to press on them (hence harder to make a mistake).
The fret-edge treatment is just a fine touch, a finish of sorts, which basically means that the frets were neatly brushed, leaving a smooth overall feeling.
The sonic performance of a guitar is its voice, and this is by far the most important aspect of performance for as long as we’re talking about instruments. In short, Prestige has a detailed, strong sound, having also a very characteristic voice.
Basically, this guitar has a 5-way selector knob that allows you to switch between the pickups and further customize your ‘onboard’ sound. The sound is clear at all times, and though the magnets work best on high gain amplifiers, the aforementioned knob will help you find your way in virtually any situation (any amp, rig, playing style or music genre). The guitar also works like a charm with a variety of effects attached to your pedal board.
We’ve already mentioned the outstanding ‘Ibanez Edge’, which does wonders for Prestige’s intonation. It will remain in tune for months at a time, maybe even more with proper maintenance.
Punch-Through Lows and Great Midstage
Sonically, Prestige does great in terms of lows and mids due to the specific combination of DiMarzio pickups, although the tonewoods only complement its sound signature with a huge level of brightness.
Though Prestige is not the most expensive guitar on the market, it’s definitely not among the cheaper ones. Since price is a huge factor, we’ve decided to share with you our insights regarding its price point category and value for the money.
Price Point Category
Ibanez’ RG Prestige belongs to the lower bracket of the ‘boutique’ price point category, which means that it might be expensive for beginners, but it would appear as fairly priced, if even cheap for professional guitarists.
Value for the Buck
It’s definitely a keeper since it brings a wide variety of benefits onboard. This guitar excels in so many fields of performance that it’s definitely worth the money. It might be smart to consider saving up for a couple of months in order to get it.
Good and Bad About Ibanez RG Prestige
- Amazing lows and mids
- Superb intonation
- Huge playability
- High value for the money
- Excellent aesthetics
- Works best for heavier playing styles
- Needs a proper EQ due to the lacking in the high section
- Quite expensive
Basically, you can’t go wrong with this one if you have the money. Ibanez’s RG Prestige is one of the few guitars in the boutique price range that actually surpass the price tag with such a huge value due to excellent overall performance, durability, and versatility. It might just be the best guitar model in the RG series if not one of the finest Ibanez ever designed.