Ibanez Guitars - Axion, Iron Label, Premium, Mid Range Ibbys!
Todd Simpson
Feb 22 2020, 11:23 PM
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IBANEZ GUITARS - AXION, IRON LABEL, PREMIUM

PREMIUM

The PREMIUM models were introduced in 2011. These guitars feature better finishes than the starter line of Ibanez guitars (Gio/etc) and have DIMARZIO or IBANEZ pickups. This series has the “WIZARD PREMIUM” neck which is 18mm at the first firet. Making it just a pinch thicker htan most prestige necks. It does feel thinner than the NITRO WIZARD necks on the other mid ine Ibbys. These guitars were introduced to provide something better than the starter ibby, but something cheaper than a prestige. Sadly, the price point ended up being so close to the prestige that many folks just went and bought a prestige. These guitars are INDO builds (made in indonesia) and as such, take a bit of a hit on resale compared to Japanese made Ibby’s. All of the Mid Line Ibbys are pretty much INDO builds. These are still very fine guitars and some have great looking flamed maple and other exotic tops.


IRON LABEL

Introduced in 2013, these Ibby’s were built for “METAL”. They feature EMG or DIMARZIO or IBANEZ (fusion) pickups and the NITRO WIZARD neck. Most are “INDO” (built in Indonesia) builds except for the Les Paul clone which is built in China. If you are looking for an Ibby, and you are into METAL. One of these may be for you. There is a “MULTI SCALE” (fanned fret) model and from 6 to 8 strings are available on various models. These are a bit stripped down in terms of features, many models lack a tone knob. As these are “INDO” builds, they typically do not enjoy the same resale value as PRESTIGE models built in Japan. Also, the NITRO WIZARD neck is a bit more beefy than the Japanese builds as it’s 19mm at the first frett. Only 2 MM thicker than the super thin original Wizard neck, but it does feel thicker. Some people prefer a thicker neck and don’t care about resale value, for such buyers, the Iron label is worth a look.

IRON LABEL VS PREMIUM


AXION


Introduced in 2019, these guitars offer high end pickups like BARE KNUCKLE and FISHMAN and offer Multi Scale/ERG models. They use the same NITRO WIZARD neck as the IRON LABEL guitars but have more exotic finishes and better hardware in general. As a result, these are a bit more expensive than the IRON LABEL.guitars. They are considered generally superior to IRON LABEL axes but below PRESTIGE models. These are also INDO builds, so they rank a bit below the Japanese built guitars by most Ibby fans. Not to say there is anything wrong with axes built in indonesia as these are fine guitars to be sure and sound great. Just worth noting that the thicker neck and indo build may inhibit resale price compared to a prestige.


AXION REVIEW



QUESTION: ANYONE OWN AND LOVE A ONE OF THESE SERIES?

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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Feb 22 2020, 11:30 PM
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Caelumamittendum
Feb 23 2020, 12:11 AM
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I used to own an 8 string Iron Label (pictured below). It was actually a great guitar, though I wasn't a fan of the active EMG pick-ups, but then I've never been a fan of EMGs.

What I hear is that these CAN be great guitars, but quality control checks seem to be so and so, meaning it can be a gamble. That's just what I hear though, so I don't know if it's true or not. Mine wasn't bad smile.gif

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Kristofer Dahl
Feb 23 2020, 10:25 AM
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I don't have much experience from these since I avoid guitar stores like the plague.

But back in the days when I was more courageous I remember testing lower end RGs and when they were well set up they played like a dream most of the time

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Todd Simpson
Feb 23 2020, 11:37 PM
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BEN: I had one of these as well when they were first released. It was my first eight string guitar. I had the starter version though with CORT bass pickups in it. I must say I HATED the pickups. I had EMGs in an ESP Eight String and hated that as well. I LOVE my 7 string. The low B sounds great on high gain. I never did find a tone that I liked for an eight string so I got rid of both of them and kept my 7 string Golden Era RG7620. These can be found for really cheap prices these days if one digs around. They were the first 7 string for the masses and created as a cheaper alternative to Steve Vais signature 7 string.

QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Feb 22 2020, 07:11 PM) *
t I hear is that these CAN be great guitars, but quality control checks seem to be so and so, meaning it can be a gamble. That's just what I hear though, so I don't know if it's true or not. Mine wasn't bad smile.gif


I usually enjoy guitar stores smile.gif I like to go through and play everything at least once to see if there is any guitar that really speaks to me. You are spot on about the lower end RGs, if they are setup and actually tuned and ready, they can be a great axe at a great price. Sadly, at Guitar Center, they seem to have given up and just put the guitars on the wall without any sort of setup and many of them play really bad and none are even in tune.

QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Feb 23 2020, 05:25 AM) *
I don't have much experience from these since I avoid guitar stores like the plague.
But back in the days when I was more courageous I remember testing lower end RGs and when they were well set up they played like a dream most of the time

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


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Kristofer Dahl
Feb 24 2020, 11:43 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Feb 23 2020, 11:37 PM) *
I usually enjoy guitar stores smile.gif I like to go through and play everything at least once to see if there is any guitar that really speaks to me. You are spot on about the lower end RGs, if they are setup and actually tuned and ready, they can be a great axe at a great price. Sadly, at Guitar Center, they seem to have given up and just put the guitars on the wall without any sort of setup and many of them play really bad and none are even in tune.


There is a quite a cultural difference between the service you get in stores/restaurants in Sweden compared to the US.

We don't really have any tipping/bonus system in place - Americans visiting Sweden are usually surprised that service is so poor.

This is especially true for guitar stores personel I find, since they are usually filled with wannabe rockstars who really don't want to be be there in the first place.

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Mertay
Feb 24 2020, 01:23 PM
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They're getting better and better every year, my only warning would be to check the nut-height on the locking trem. models. Often I notice they're too high and fixing that would mean fieling the wood under it, which has a potential risk.

I remember only "really" liking EMG's on ESP/LTD eclipse models.Those guitars sort of give a unique tone to them. As for active SD blackout's have a good passive vibe to them and replacing is easy from EMG.

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Todd Simpson
Feb 24 2020, 05:01 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Feb 24 2020, 06:43 AM) *
This is especially true for guitar stores personel I find, since they are usually filled with wannabe rockstars who really don't want to be be there in the first place.

Ahh. Now it makes sense smile.gif We have a similar thing here in music stores in terms of it being a day job for rockers. Really bad service and attitude would make the experience bad. It's getting worse here at guitar centers. They used to be fun, now the employees are pretty grumpy. It seems they are being paid less than before as the company is struggling big time.


QUOTE (Mertay @ Feb 24 2020, 08:23 AM) *
They're getting better and better every year, my only warning would be to check the nut-height on the locking trem. models. Often I notice they're too high and fixing that would mean fieling

Very true! Now they have bare knuckle and fluence pickups standard! In days past mid range guitars would have ibanez cheap pickups in them and folks would have to swap them out. The prices have gone up as well. These are around $1,000 which used to be the price point for a Japanese Ibanez with a hand finished neck.

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