Back in the late-'70s, the control covers of Ibanez’s flagship models featured the inscription, “Built by the proud craftsmen of Ibanez Japan.” The statement was as bold as it was true, but that attitude has always remained strong with the builders at Ibanez Japan, even though that message no longer appears on their electric guitars.
Some of the finest examples of this are the company’s Prestige line instruments. The new MSM100 model is a direct descendent of Ibanez’s AZ Prestige models, developed in collaboration with Italian guitarist Marco Sfogli and featuring several custom enhancements.
With its asymmetric double cutaway alder body, dual humbucking pickups and a tremolo bridge, the Ibanez MSM100 falls neatly into the popular Super Strat category, but it has so many outstanding upgrades that it should be called a “Superb Strat.”
That alder body is topped with a 4mm-thick slab of gorgeous AAA flame maple featuring a dazzling Fabula Green Burst finish. It’s complemented by an S-Tech Wood single-piece roasted maple 25½-inch scale neck, with 24 stainless steel frets, abalone dot inlays and luminescent Luminlay side dots. Playing comfort is enhanced by the neck’s AZ Oval C shape and Prestige fret edge treatment.
Pickups consist of a DiMarzio Air Norton humbucker at the neck and a DiMarzio The Tone Zone humbucker at the bridge, wired to a three-way pickup selector that provides neck/inner single coils/bridge settings and master volume/tone controls.
The hardware is top-notch as well: a Gotoh T1802 tremolo bridge with machined titanium saddles, Gotoh Magnum Lock tuners with height-adjustable posts and an oil-impregnated bone nut that all ensure rock-solid tuning comparable to a double-locking system.
The MSM100 is a stunning example of Ibanez’s experience and commitment to guitar craftsmanship. The neck feels incredibly luxurious, with smoothly rounded surfaces and a silky satin finish that make it feel like your fingers are gliding on air. The generously scooped-out treble bout cutaway provides unrestricted access all the way up to the 24th fret. The entire instrument exudes an alluring combination of precision and soul that gives off an overall vibe of quality.
The sound quality is stellar, with a lively brightness, full body, exquisite definition and dynamic expressiveness that makes the MSM100 a true player’s instrument. In addition to big and beefy neck and bridge humbucker tones, the middle setting delivers brilliant single-coil snap and twang. Experienced guitarists will love how reactive the MSM100 is to finer nuances, even when playing with high-gain distortion.
- PRICE: $2,499.99
- MANUFACTURER: Ibanez
- NECK TYPE: AZ Oval C S-TECH WOOD 1pc Roasted Maple neck
- NECK SCALE: 648mm/25.5"
- BODY: AAA Flamed Maple (4mm) top, Alder body
- FRETBOARD: S-TECH WOOD Roasted Maple
- NUMBER OF FRETS: 24
- INLAYS: Abalone dot
- BRIDGE: Gotoh T1802 tremolo bridge
- NECK PICKUP: DiMarzio Air Norton passive/Alnico humbucker
- BRIDGE PICKUP: DiMarzio The Tone Zone passive/Alnico humbucker
- STRINGS: D'Addario EXL110
- NUT: Bone
- HARDWARE COLOR: Chrome
For more information, head to Ibanez.