Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ibanez and me...

You know, when you've been playing for many years on many guitar brands you develop a kind of sixth sense towards gear.

I've been playing Ibanez (a "sabre" model and the first John Petrucci model, the JPM 100, that I've lately sold on eBay) for something like 6 years and I can now say that there are basically 3 types of Ibanez players :

- Ibanez whores
- fanboys
- beginners.

The thing is, every time I see a guy with an Ibanez guitar I know there are 80% chances that the guy sucks as a guitar player. Let me explain :

1) The Ibanez whores are, as the name implies, people who are paid to play on Ibanez guitars. Steve Vai and "Joe Satriani" being the most famous. Don't misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with that. I mean, a guitar brand offers you to get your own model, with your own specifications, and you get as many guitars as you want ? Any musician would sign. I would. What you must understand is that those guys would play the same on any other guitar, because they can play.

2) Fanboys. I would say that 90% of people playing on Ibanez are fanboys. Really. When I see all those guys on Youtube playing on this :

I know all these guys think there is a kind of "Steve Vai Inside" sticker on the guitar. Just because Steve Vai plays on this doesn't mean you will sound like him or play like him. I can't say this guitar is a piece of shit but I can say that for the same price you could get a baby that looks 10 times better. I mean, look at the guitar : it's WHITE. For the price you get a plain WHITE guitar, whereas if you asked Carvin you'd get a AAAA quilted maple top guitar with super high craftsmanship. But because you're such a fanboy you probably never heard about Carvin guitars, right ?

I've already talked about a friend of mine (the one that couldn't help playing shitty because of a really bad rythm guitar player). Well, that friend of mine played most of his life on an old shitty plain yellow Aria Pro II. He did not change pickups nor anything, he just trained his fingers so he can play on anything because the sound comes from the fingers, remember ? When you see him going on stage with his shitty guitar you start thinking that he must be a noob, then he starts shredding your ass out and sweeps arpeggios all over the place. As soon as he puts some of his stuff on Youtube, I'll link to his videos (he doesn't play on that guitar any longer though...).

3) Beginners are an easy prey for Ibanez for several reasons, like fanboyism, beautiful ads, beautiful guitars, and affordable guitars. Let's face it, Ibanez guitars have a sweet design and are quite affordable. They don't play bad either. The problem is that manufacture-wise, it's cheap. The neck feels cheap, the accessories are cheap (screws and all), plus there is that so common "composite sound" that has no real personality, it doesn't sound woody. I think that cheapness is really what defines an Ibanez guitar and that's why I switched to something better.

Beginners also lack the technical knowledge that could help them smell fishy stories... Take this one for instance :

That's the "new" tremolo developped by Ibanez. It's called the ZR bridge (for "Zero Resistance") and it should be revolutionary. OH REALLY ?! Let's be a bit technical here : a "normal" tremolo uses a knife edge as a point of contact between the floating bridge and the guitar body (the position of the floating bridge is maintained by the tension between springs in the guitar body and the tension of the strings). The problem is that the permanent friction tends to make the guitar end up out of tune. Here the knife edge is replaced by ball bearings, which sounds like a really cool idea : no friction, so the guitar stays in tune forever. That's the beautiful story Ibanez wants to sell you, but 2 "details" remain untold :

a) that ball bearing system has been discovered and already been used for decades by French guitar maker Patrice Vigier (Vigier guitars). A revolution, indeed.

b) "ball bearings" means "less friction", which also means "less contact between the bridge and the guitar body", which also means.... "great loss of sustain". Oooops !

To be honest, Vigier doesn't talk about it either...

Not all the people playing on Ibanez suck, but when I see a guy with one going on stage I know I shouldn't have high expectations, because guitar players who are really serious about their gear or sound usually tend to play on a more personal kind of gear, something that's not "the average".


Blogger faust23 said...

i l0ove ibanez,but everything you said is true,as is everything else on this site but how do you feel about individualization through customization or the exact opposite, i.e ed romans scorpion guitars? im really interested in your response

8:13 AM  
Blogger faust23 said...

i love ibanez but you are 100 percent correct, but how do you feel about individuals who actually customize thier gear or the opposite, people who buy/play guitars like ed romans scorpions? im very interested in your response

8:15 AM  

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