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What's the difference between Korean and Japanese Ibanez guitars?
Darin
#1 Posted : 12/23/2007 6:57:33 AM

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I'm just wondering what the difference is, is it parts...wood?
riffsurfer
#2 Posted : 12/23/2007 9:03:54 AM
riffsurfer


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quality and consistancy
ibanezed4yrs
#3 Posted : 12/23/2007 9:06:28 AM
ibanezed4yrs


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i don't know.. they all look the same to me.. lol.. just kidding..
if you're not livin on the edge, you're takin up too much room..
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#4 Posted : 12/23/2007 9:28:41 AM
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#5 Posted : 12/23/2007 9:30:41 AM
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The first S guitars (Saber) had something to prove, as did all of Ibanez's guitars. Many vewied them as cheap "Jap" guitars (no offence).
They proved them wrong. Ibanez did quite well and made quality instruments for many years after that. At some point Ibanez rose to become a "respectable" guitar manufacturer, even above average. They continued for several years after that. It was then that they were starting to get into major mass production. Along with that became a need to minimize production cost etc. (long story short). As time passed they needed to start manufacturing guitars at different locations (read costs). They had tried manufacturing guitars in Korea and other countries and had been fairly succesfull producing and selling those instruments. Though most of them were lower/inexpensive models (series). After that succes they moved on to include some more and more and more...

In recent history, it has become harder and harder to obtain quality woods (that's another story/post)


I could include alot more detail.....


Anyway, Fast Forward.

Now all S guitars are made in korea. What has changed? Alot. If you read the book, "Ibanez the Untold Story", you will see that Ibanez themselves had concerns about exporting it's manufacturing to Korea. Well.....they made that work for a while, but when they included ALL of the S series....they messed up. Maybe it was because sales were down and the newly ZR equipped S MIJ wasn't doing well. There weren't many mainstream guitarist playing the S either. So...here we are.

As far as this forum being a marketing tool....I'd say it's more R&D than marketing.


I can guarantee Ibanez is listening....duh (sorry).


Oh just so you know...I'm not just some guy that says this because I own this one or that one.



Those three guitars illustrate almost every iteration of S made. 1990-2006...

ZR trem
Lo PRo
Edge

ANNJ Wizard II (Prestige 5pc.)
ANNJ Wizard I (1pc.)
Standard Neck Joint (1pc.)

All bound and all the top of the line S guitars availible at the time. It wasn't long after 97 that you had to buy a "Prestige S" to get what was once availible as a 540....think about it. Then they moved it all to Korea.


I'm a c_r_a_p photographer.







Ok...so what has changed?


Body

The Korean made S series guitar is thicker. Not only the horns, but the entire body. You can clearly see the increase in the horn size from some of the pictures posted on this forum. The thing that is difficult to see... is the thickness towards the center of the body. It is not proportional to the increased thickness of the horns. It is even thicker, proportionally. At least that is my experience.

The neck pocket is not routed as deep as it used to be. Even the guitars that appear to have "decent" routes are not as deep. It appears as if they are, but they are not. Why?..The thickness of the fretboard and binding has increased. This gives the illusion that it's as deep, on some examples, but in the end it's still not as deep.

Overall, this makes the guitar heavier and takes away from some of what used to make the S a thin/sleek guitar.

And, the shallow neck pocket joint (SNPJ) requires the pups and bridge to be raised higher above the body. Again, this takes away from the sleekness of the guitar.

Obiviously there are other perceived differences that I won't bother going into at this point.



More pics...


1997 S540FMTP(MIJ) Neck Pocket....





2006 S2170(MIK) "Prestige" Neck Pocket....






This is what it does to the bridge and pup height....















Neck

All Korean made S guitars are equipped with Wizard II necks, which are thicker. The difference with the S is that it also has a different curvature/profile on the back of neck when compared to a Wizard I. This is not as apparent with other series such as the RG. The RG retains a similar profile with it's Wizard II neck... I don't know why they did this?

Anyway...it's a little odd.

Additionally, the Wizard II has a 400mm fretboard radius as opposed to the 430mm on the Wizard I. The result is a fretboard with more curvature. This affects the height in which the action can be set. More curvature...higher action. Less curvature lower action. Even if you manage to obtain the same action height, the Wizard II will fret out with large bends (as in bending notes on the fretboard)

Plus the fretboard/binding is thicker, as I mentioned before.


Couple all of this with the additonal weight and you may find that what was once similar, is no longer.






Trem


Korean manufactured S guitars always had some trem issues, until the ZR. The ZR is a pretty nice unit. It is one of the "smoothest" trems out there. IT elevated korean manufactured S guitar trems. Though, it's had it's far share of problems. The D-tuner thing never really worked out and before the thumbwheel... there were problems with the allen key spring adjustment. Additionally, the trem arm holder is still an ongoing problem. Recently there have been reports of rattling... Like rattling saddles.

The ZR is also different in that it provides a different fulcrum and pivot geometry. In simple terms...it requires more bar movement to obtain the same amount of pitch change compared to the knife edge type trem units.

In retrospect, the edge and lopro units on the MIJ guitars have only really suffered from one issue. That would be the loose trem bar syndrome. The problem is with the plastic bushings...they wear out too quickly. This is easily fixed with some teflon tape. I've also had the same problem with the ZR (trem bar too loose).
I used the same teflon tape to fix that as well.






Pickups

This will be short. The IBZ pups, currently availible on the prestige only, do not compare to the IBZ pups that were offered when the guitars were made in Japan. They claim they are still MADE by Dimarzio. Honestly, I have my doubts. Pups are subjective, so I won't say much more.






Hardware

The cosmo finish on the pup rings, particularly my S2170's has been crap. I wore the finish off in a month.
Conversly, the finish on my 1990 (I purchased it brand new) has held up wonderfully for 17+ years.

The volume and tone knobs are now plastic, at least on the inside. The knobs on my 90 S540LTD are SOLID metal.

The tuning keys have plastic knobs on my S2170, the S540LTLD are metal. The plastic keys look cool and match the scheme of the S2170, but... at the end of the day, I'd rather have metal over plastic (in most cases).

The locknut mounting hardware is missing the locking washer...I believe this is true of all current Ibanez guitars (MIJ included).




Here is a pic of it....





This piece...












Quality Control


Not very good. IMHO. Lack of consistency.....at best.

The two S2170's had the following problems:


Cracked truss rod cover.

Crooked pup ring.

Crooked trem.

Loose parts flopping around in the case during shipping. (allen screw and locking pad for locknut)

No intonation setup.

No truss rod adjustment (completely loose... floppy loose)

etc.






Another pic....





You can't make this stuff up! lol




So...you made it this far Congratz!!!


Again, I could have said ALOT more. The new S isn't a horrible guitar by far. So don't hate me. Ibanez probably hates me now. naughty



Fret not, 2008 will be great!!!


S-man
Gizmo
#7 Posted : 12/23/2007 10:13:48 AM
Gizmo


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o.o .... lol, S man u need to save that post incase next time this question is asked Clap It would be a shame to do all of that again >.<
Representing for all odd ball musicians "INDIVIDUALITY IS KEY"
bryanarzaga
#8 Posted : 12/23/2007 10:34:40 AM
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"What's the difference between Korean and Japanese Ibanez guitars?"

When i play my RG220 Korean i have to speak korean and if i play my RG7460 I have to speak japanese.
plus korean made quality is hot as kimchi and japanese made is hot as wasabi,

With korean made ibanez are made using the fine art of taekwondo, kicking and punching the wood, with japanese made ibanez first the neck is augmented using aikido and chopped using karate,

Ibbys: USARG30, ART2EX1, RG1527, 1608 J.custom, 2020X, RX60, RT150 93' , GRX720

Non Ibbys: Suhr Modern, Benford Firechief, Warrior Instruments Knight, Gary Kramer Crusader 1 & 2, Fender Blacktop Strat, Gibson 60's tribute Lp, SX PB hawk, Ed Roman Baker, Taylor Baby acoustic

AMPS: Bugera 1960 + SA cab, Bugera V22, Blackstar HT5 Halfstack

http://www.soundclick.com/bryanarzaga
ibanezed4yrs
#9 Posted : 12/23/2007 11:00:47 AM
ibanezed4yrs


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silat kicks all their butts... except for aikido which i took for about 6 yrs.. i liked judo the best (10 yrs.. woo hoo!)
if you're not livin on the edge, you're takin up too much room..
bryanarzaga
#10 Posted : 12/23/2007 2:30:42 PM
bryanarzaga


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silat is similar to our countrys martial art. i took taekwondo and a bit of aikido.

upcoming in my collectionez is a neckthru RGT-42 and yellow jem and lespaul cops'
Ibbys: USARG30, ART2EX1, RG1527, 1608 J.custom, 2020X, RX60, RT150 93' , GRX720

Non Ibbys: Suhr Modern, Benford Firechief, Warrior Instruments Knight, Gary Kramer Crusader 1 & 2, Fender Blacktop Strat, Gibson 60's tribute Lp, SX PB hawk, Ed Roman Baker, Taylor Baby acoustic

AMPS: Bugera 1960 + SA cab, Bugera V22, Blackstar HT5 Halfstack

http://www.soundclick.com/bryanarzaga
SP2333
#11 Posted : 12/23/2007 2:48:39 PM
SP2333


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Korean made S series have the neck made from a baseball bat
1960s Guyatone
1987 Ibanez 540P Power WH
1989 Ibanez 540S LTD DY Desert Yellow
1990 Ibanez 540R Copper metalic CM
1991 Ibanez UV7BK Universe
2001 Ibanez JS1000 WH Parts Built
Various other guitars....
GodBlessTexas
#6 Posted : 12/23/2007 2:58:37 PM
GodBlessTexas


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S-man wrote:

I can guarantee Ibanez is listening....duh (sorry).

S-man


Pretty spot on post, S-man. I edited out most of it to save space. We all know Hoshino US is listening, it's the Japanese home office that calls the shots that doesn't always listen to their US employees. I think the if the US guys had a greater voice in the company (I've heard several of them complain about it in the past and at Ibanez Days this summer), we'd not see some of the issues that we have with Ibanez as a company. I'm excited about 2008 as well. It will be the first time I've ever purchased an Ibanez guitar new. There's at least one SV and one S in my future this coming year.
I love Ibanez guitars and Mesa Boogie amps.
GodBlessTexas
#12 Posted : 12/23/2007 3:07:25 PM
GodBlessTexas


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SP2333 wrote:
Korean made S series have the neck made from a baseball bat


Early Korean models aren't that bad, circa 1994 or so and up to 2000, as I had a 2000 S470 that wasn't bad at all. My 2003 S470DX and S470DXQM are/were baseball bats though. I sold the DXQM and kept the DX. The only thing bad about it is the neck profile, which I'm seriously considering thinning down a bit.
I love Ibanez guitars and Mesa Boogie amps.
arand0n
#13 Posted : 12/23/2007 3:17:34 PM
arand0n


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Are the 2008 models revealed somewhere... some of you speak as though you have already looked through the 2008 offerings and have picked out what you will be buying.
GodBlessTexas
#14 Posted : 12/23/2007 3:34:28 PM
GodBlessTexas


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arand0n wrote:
Are the 2008 models revealed somewhere... some of you speak as though you have already looked through the 2008 offerings and have picked out what you will be buying.


Nothing official, but definitely pictures and some winks and nods from the Ibanez US guys. There's a thread in this forum called "New S Guitars" that has pictures.
I love Ibanez guitars and Mesa Boogie amps.
arand0n
#15 Posted : 12/23/2007 3:38:02 PM
arand0n


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ah... ok I saw that... has anyone seen any of the 2008 RGs?
fretrunr
#16 Posted : 12/23/2007 5:29:35 PM
fretrunr


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S-man Thank You for that In-Depth Report.

My Addendum:

The FINISHES on the MIK Ss are totally inconsistent. Some are Beautiful, others are terrible:
as in bad book matching inconsistent bursts and colors that range from rich to washed out.


We SMen are ALL hoping for the quality that was always available in the earlier MIJ Ss.
1989 S540CR "ELLA"
1991 FGM100PS "FRANKIE"
1992 S540BMAV "BURLENE"
1993 S540FMTT "JADE"
1996 S540FMTP "PLUM"
2007 S470DXQMBLB "LUNA C."
2007 S620EXQMGTB "GREYLYN"

Guest
#17 Posted : 12/23/2007 6:16:28 PM
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