Thanks for the input all – very helpful. A couple follow up questions as I have changed my criteria a bit:

(1.) I have played a bunch of Ibanez models (JS 1000/1200, RG 1570, JEM). For the money the 1570 seems like a great guitar, especially the thin neck which I like. The only thing not hot on for the 1570 is the pickups (I think they are stock Ibanez Hums – IB8 and IB7??). They seemed a little weak. Anybody have any experience with them?

(2) I am coming around to being open to a neck-thru, but most of the neck thrus I have come across seem to have the back of the neck painted the same color as the guitar. The Ibanez I have been playing for 20 years has an unpainted back of neck. Does a painted back of neck affect the feel and speed of the neck – i.e., is it less fast than an unpainted neck?

(3) I never had a good impression of BC Rich but just came across a BC Rich model that seems to be getting rave reviews –everywhere I look the ASM Pro (see http://tinyurl.com/asmpro ). It has original (not copy/license) Floyd, EMG 81/85. But it has a painted neck (see previous question) and I am unsure whether the neck is as fast/thin as an Ibanez RG 1570. I am going to try to find a store stocking the ASM Pro so I can play it but any opinions would be appreciated.

(4) If I do start to now look at neck-thrus and painted necks then I will probably take another look at ESPs. For $1,500 or so any models you would reco?

(5) Finally, for a budget of up to $1,500, would you pick the ASM Pro, Ibanez RG1570 or an ESP? Or another? Key to me is neck speed, good pickups and ideally neck and bride Hums, no centre PU at all.

Sorry for long post and thanks a mill for thoughts


I currently play an Ibanez EX Series circa 1990 (a $500 guitar at the time). I am considering upgrading to a guitar in the $1,200 - 1,500 range. Here are the things that I am looking for:
1. Neck - thin, fast, bolt-on, not a painted neck
2. Pickups - would prefer Hum on bridge and neck, with no middle pickup at all
3. Ideally would like to stick with 22 frets (vs. 24) but will make the move to 24 if no choice
4. Rosewood fingerboard - not maple (too bright)

A few questions for the forum:

Q1. I have looked at the entire lines for Ibanez, ESP and Charvel. ESP and Charvel seem to be out based on above criteria (Charvel only seems to do maple fingerboard and ESP necks seems to be mainly neck-thru and painted). Of the Ibanez line, the RG1570 seems to be closest (except it has a middle pickup and 24 frets – both of which I am not happy about but could live with if no choice). The Ibanez JS 1000 seems to be out of my price range and I have read that the neck is not as fast as the Prestige/Wizard necks – the JS 1000 is more like a Strat neck. My question for the forum on this point is are there other manufacturers you know who would meet above criteria? Also am I missing something in the Ibanez family?

Q2. I have been playing electrics with 22 frets for over twenty years (it is what I learned on). I am nervous about making the move to 24 frets if I have to – will the neck be longer, will my left hand and right hand arm position be thrown off/have to retrain, muscle memory, etc. Any comments from the forum on this?

Q3. Some Ibanez models I have seen state they use “medium” frets while others say “jumbo”. What is the difference and which do you think is better for my style (metal, hard rock, shred , Satch, Vai, etc.)

All comments appreciated

I would recommend Ernie Ball Music Man guitars. Particularly the Axis or Axis Supersport.

22 Frets
Bolt On Neck
Non painted Neck
Non laquered neck (gunstock oil and wax, VERY fast smooth neck)
2 Humbuckers (bridge and neck), no middle pup
Rosewood fingerboard avialable.

I may be biased, but it seems to fit all your criteria.

New, it will stretch your budget a little, maybe $1700

But can be had used on ebay around $1000.

I had good experience with buying mine on ebay, excellent guitar.

2001 Ernie Ball Music Man Axis Super Sport
2001 MIM Standard Strat
Peavey Classic 30 112 Combo.
My Gear
I would suggest either B.C. Rich or ESP LTD guitars, they are modestly prced for the active/learning musician and can handle it strain of hard gigging as well. hot guitars:

LTD M-1000 deluxe, EC-1000 FR and the Jeff Henneman sig's and in the B.C. Rich; the Kerry King, as well as the bolt on models, too!
I'll sell you a new axis super sport right now for $1500. like this one

PM me
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how difficult is it to build your own guitar?
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It's hard, annoying, and makes you want to punch a baby.
$1500? umm, did Gibson ever skip through your mind? Nothing like a good gibby, and I've never really been held back by a painted neck. They're more an aesthetic choice anyway. Painted necks never hindered my playing, and I doubt, (if its a good paint job) You'll be fine too.
You could get an SG special for like 1000. And if you want to go even better, look at their lower end les pauls, like the studio. Yummy. If you are open to extreme shapes, a Flying v will set you back around 1200. Or if you want, you could go for a really nice PRS. F***in' sexy beasts!
PRS are pretty guitars, but are you playing it or taking it to bed? Gibson's definately the way to go for that price range. Les Paul Studio.
Gibson Signature Les Paul
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