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Fender MIM Strat VS Ibanez RG series


43 replies to this topic

#26
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Yeah you're going to find that "putting together a guitar" takes a lot more than just buying the pieces cheap and slapping them together. You'll need to be good at sanding, painting, leveling, and soldering to start and your results won't yield a good sound unless you know what you're doing. Pay a professional. Seems like it's not that hard of a concept to just hold your nut and not spend the $300 as soon as you get it.

But then, I was a young man like you once. I "built" my own bass with the help of an electrician friend. I went through endless second and third tier knock offs before I settled on a good, unassuming strat that just sounds the way I like but looks kind of goofy. It's all about getting to the point where you are calm enough to not just jump at the "next" step up because it seems like a good idea at the time of your current rig sounding ****ty.

#27
El Chalupacabra

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Thanks for the advice guys. Maybe the best route will be to find a used MIA strat and upgrade the hardware and electronics on that, then take it in for a pro set up\tuning, rather than build a guitar from ground up.
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#28
Ptodgekin

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I own a bunch of 6 and 7 string Ibanezes and a US Strat. My advice would depend on what kind of music you plan to play, but the best compromise would probably be a used American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS. The necks are comfortable and the pickups are very versatile. Despite its relatively traditional looks, it's quite a modern-feeling guitar.

http://www.fender.co...p?prodNo=011910

If that's too much of a stretch financially, the Standard Stratocaster HSS is a good option and you can always upgrade the pickups later (although be careful because Fender uses those funny humbuckers with two height adjustment screws on one side and one on the other). http://www.fender.co...rtno=0144702502

I've been to the Fender factory and you'd be amazed by just how much of the work is still done by hand. And here's a fun fact: the necks for the Mexican Fenders are actually built in the USA then sent to Mexico for final finishing.

Ibanez's Premium line is very well made with great fretwork. Made in Indonesia but don't let that throw you: very high quality. Ibanez is putting a lot of really hard work and money into ensuring that their new Indonesian factory is of a world-class standard. In fact, it's the first factory in Ibanez's history that they've actually held an ownership stake in, instead of contracting out the manufacturing to a provider like Fujigen, Cort, Samick or World.

Between Fender and an Ibanez RG It all comes down to what you think you'll do with the guitar. The way I approach it for me generally is: metal/shred/hard rock? Ibanez all the way. Hard rock/blues/classic rock/indie/fusion etc? Fender. Modelling amp or lots of distortion? Ibanez. Less distortion or a tube amp? Fender.
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#29
Pong Messiah

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Please post more, Ptodgekin. Thanks.

#30
El Chalupacabra

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Please post more, Ptodgekin. Thanks.

Seconded!

BTW, I am totally confused by Ibanez's naming scheme for their various RG lines, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to them. They have 4 categories of RGs, though :Prestige, Premium, Tremolo, and Fixed, but I don't know the "pecking order" in terms of quality, playability,etc. Can you help with that?
http://www.ibanez.co...sIntro-RG_Intro

#31
Ptodgekin

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BTW, I am totally confused by Ibanez's naming scheme for their various RG lines, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to them. They have 4 categories of RGs, though :Prestige, Premium, Tremolo, and Fixed, but I don't know the "pecking order" in terms of quality, playability,etc. Can you help with that?
http://www.ibanez.co...sIntro-RG_Intro


Prestige is (generally) built in the Fujigen plant in Japan, with higher quality fret finishing.
Premium is built in Hoshino's factory in Idonesia (Ibanez is a brand name owned by Hoshino, not an actual company in its own right). Very high quality.
RG Tremolo and RG Fixed guitars are made in Indonesia, although older ones will be from Korea. Those with a serial number starting in C were built by Cort, S were built by Samick, and W by World (who also build guitars for PRS SE, LTD, Schecter etc).

As for naming standards, if a guitar ends in '50' (as in, RG350) it will have two humbuckers and a single coil on a pickguard. If it ends in 70 (RG370, etc) it will have two humbuckers, a single coil and no pickguard. If it ends in 20 it has just two humbuckers.

As a general rule, the higher the first number, the higher the price and quality. RG170 is a cheapie, RG370 is a bit better, and once you get into the Japanese-made stuff (which has an extra number at the start) you're really getting into the good stuff: RG1550 (Ibanez pickups), RG2550 (Ibanez/DiMarzio pickups - real USA DiMarzios designed for Ibanez), RG3550 (DiMarzio pickups like the Tone Zone, Air Norton, etc).

#32
Ryn

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Please post more, Ptodgekin. Thanks.

Seconded!

I didn't even know he was back!

#33
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Please post more, Ptodgekin. Thanks.

Seconded!

I didn't even know he was back!


Hehe. Just dropped in for the first time in ages and of course I immediately noticed a guitar-geeky topic to spew my opinion on. How are ya, Ryn?

#34
El Chalupacabra

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Thanks for all that info, Ptodgekin. That really does help clear up my confusion on the RGs. I have to say, based on both your info and what I have read online (I found out my Squier wasn't built by Squier, but sub contracted to a company named Axl with a Squier logo slapped on it) it's a little disillusioning to realize that when a guitar says Squier, Fender, or Ibanez that it isn't necessarily built by Squier, Fender, or Ibanez, unless it is the higher shelf model, though.

Hey, if you don't mind geeking out about guitars a little more, have you ever heard of Xaviere guitars? I ran across them, while getting some upgrade parts at guitarfetish.com, a guitar and parts online wholesaler. They make all kinds of Fender and Gibson guitar knock offs, including a strat knock off called an xv-870 . From what I can glean, they seem to be better quality wood (usually using the same woods as an American Strat), but obviously the parts are constructed and assembled in China. From what I have read via google searches, opinions vary on them though, some people get good batches and love them, some say they are good platforms that are somewhere between a good MIM strat to approaching near a MIA strat BUT ONLY AFTER a professional set up and part upgrades (IE better trem, pickups, etc), others straight up call them garbage.

I was wondering if you ever ran across one, or heard about them? Not that I am really considering one, just I had never heard of them, and just curious.

#35
Ryn

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How are ya, Ryn?

I've been behaving.

I want to think I have a couple of your mp3's on an old hard drive section somewhere.

#36
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Thanks for all that info, Ptodgekin. That really does help clear up my confusion on the RGs. I have to say, based on both your info and what I have read online (I found out my Squier wasn't built by Squier, but sub contracted to a company named Axl with a Squier logo slapped on it) it's a little disillusioning to realize that when a guitar says Squier, Fender, or Ibanez that it isn't necessarily built by Squier, Fender, or Ibanez, unless it is the higher shelf model, though.

Hey, if you don't mind geeking out about guitars a little more, have you ever heard of Xaviere guitars? I ran across them, while getting some upgrade parts at guitarfetish.com, a guitar and parts online wholesaler. They make all kinds of Fender and Gibson guitar knock offs, including a strat knock off called an xv-870 . From what I can glean, they seem to be better quality wood (usually using the same woods as an American Strat), but obviously the parts are constructed and assembled in China. From what I have read via google searches, opinions vary on them though, some people get good batches and love them, some say they are good platforms that are somewhere between a good MIM strat to approaching near a MIA strat BUT ONLY AFTER a professional set up and part upgrades (IE better trem, pickups, etc), others straight up call them garbage.

I was wondering if you ever ran across one, or heard about them? Not that I am really considering one, just I had never heard of them, and just curious.


Haven't heard of them but I'm wary of anything where you have to do too much work after purchase. Also, even if they're using the same species of wood that Fender uses, you can never be sure that it's a good piece of wood, or that it's been adequately dried before use, or anything like that. Between buying something cheap then throwing money at it until it's good, and buying something that's good to start with, I'd choose the latter.

Also, don't be too concerned about AXL building for Squier. AXL does some pretty good work, and as far as I know there is no Squier factory (just as there was no Ibanez/Hoshino factory until this new Indonesian facility). It's just how the industry works. You can go to the NAMM trade show in Anaheim and meet with a Korean, Chinese or Indonesian guitar company rep, choose the specs you want, give them a graphic of your logo, and a few months later you get a shipment of your own branded guitars built to your exact specs, often with very tight quality control. It's pretty rare for a company to build everything in house in the USA the way Fender/Gibson/PRS do, and that's a big part of why you pay a premium on those instruments.

#37
El Chalupacabra

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Thanks again for your insight, Ptodgekin. I appreciate it and I had not even considered the drying of wood, at all. I wasn't even considering buying an Xaviere guitar at all, and was just asking out of curiosity's sake. Saying you never heard of them, reaffirms that. Also, thanks for the info on Axl and the other insight on how the guitar production industry works.

In fact, I received my pre-wired pick guard today that I was going to upgrade my Squier with (key word: WAS), and man was I disappointed with Guitar Fetish's QC. Indeed, if the following is what goes into an Xaviere guitar, all the more reason to stay away. Of course you experienced guys already know this.

Lesson learned (the hard way)

Anyway, I figured pre-wired pick guard with alcino pick ups for $50ish? How could I lose? After all I used to work for Honeywell soldering circuit boards, and I am somewhat mechanically inclined (I removed and replaced the engine and transmission of my car when I had them rebuilt, and I rebuild PCs all day), so this ought to be a piece of cake. Well, that is if the part isn't crap. I am sending this back for a refund.

Simply for sake of discussion, and the fact I am bored as hell, here is why.

Posted Image

Here is the pick guard itself. Damn Photobucket for the low resolution.

Posted Image

See how the end of that wire is frayed? Yes, I can cut the end, and redo it, but the point is I shouldn't have to.

Posted Image
This pick up wire appears it was pinched.

Posted Image
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Note the sloppy soldering job (can't see it well there, but there is black burns on the solder~no bueno! Means they probably touched the soldering iron directly to the part), and the capacitor is all contorted and hanging over the side of the pick guard.

Also, what the pictures really don't show well is there is all kinds of solder flakes all over the pick guard during the soldering job, and being plastic, they fused with the pick guard.

Maybe I am being picky, but if someone like me who knows very little about guitars can spot these mistakes, then back it goes whence it came!

#38
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A fifty dollar pre wired pick guard?? HOW COULD YOU LOSE?

This is why I talk down to you.
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#39
El Chalupacabra

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If what I have to say bothers you, the mature thing would be not to reply at all.

#40
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IM TRYING TO HALP

#41
El Chalupacabra

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ok, whatever you say.

#42
Ptodgekin

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Chalk it up to a $50 lesson. Seymour Duncan (who I work for, full disclosure) and DiMarzio (whose pickups I still use a lot and Seymour Duncan is cool with that) both do prewired pick guards which cost a bit more than $50 but are well worth it. Very high quality components, professional solder work and most importantly of all, they sound better than anything you can get for fifty bucks.
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#43
El Chalupacabra

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I admit it, I got sucked in and thought I could upgrade a cheap guitar for a cheap price to sound a little better. I was not expecting anything extraordinary... just hoping to get rid of or at least reduce the buzz of those ceramic PUPs. This was definitely a case where the actual product was not as advertised, but at least I am getting my money back for the pick guard. So I am not really out anything but my time and shipping cost. This ends my attempt to upgrade that Squier, but thanks for the suggestion about those good pick ups, and my future American Strat will get those :)

#44
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chup, that's how northerners talk. like ***holes. but they're ***holes who care and love. we did warn you :flirt: just keep dicking around with the squire the way it is and build your **** later when you have enough money. once you do that, your squire will sit in the closet forever like mine.



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