The J Custom Series – The Luxury Guitar From Ibanez

Ibanez J Custom Guitar JCRG20126BGA

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The best of the best from Ibanez Japan

The J Custom is what you get when you gather together the finest luthiers in Japan and give them all the resources Ibanez has to offer.

Prior to 1996, the J Custom was only available in Japan.

Each of these guitars is a product of a ridiculous amount of work – Ibanez can only produce 12 of these a month. Normally, Ibanez takes orders on the J Custom in January and February, and then they stop.

The J Customs sport the very best woods and necks, pickups and tremolo systems Ibanez has to offer. The frets are filed and dressed with the most painstaking attention – they’re each rounded on the ends by hand – and the maple tops are thicker than on most other Ibanez guitars.

RG1302 – One of the first made available in the USA

Ibanez J Custom RG1302 - 1996
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The RG1302 had an ash body, Lo Pro Edge Tremolo, and DiMarzio Pickups. It was later produced as a Prestige series guitar, with very few changes.

The Latest J Custom – JCRG20126

Ibanez J Custom Guitar JCRG20126BGA
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The latest J Custom guitar comes with an Alder body and a beautiful flamed maple top. The neck is a Super Wizard J Custom, and has a bound rosewood fingerboard, with the “Tree of Life” inlay.

The sound in produced with two Seymour Duncan pickups – a Jazz Model in the neck and a Custom 5 at the bridge. The Custom 5 gives you a vintage, clean and very present sound, with less distortion. The Jazz pickup (SH-2n) – provides a very articulate, clean sound, with moderate output.

Speaking of the bridge, fine tuning and tremolo duties are performed by a Edge Zero tremolo w/ZPS3.

What is ZPS3?

Ibanez Edge Zero ZPS
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That’s Ibanez’s zero point trem system. While not limited to the J Custom series, it’s still a pretty cool bit of machinery.

It’s made of lightweight Duralumin, that provides much greater tuning stability – even staying in tune if you break a string – which is some feat considering that floating tremolo systems are pretty much centered around string tension vs spring tension.

You can adjust the spring tension with a simple turn of the spring adjustment knob, on the back.

It’s a very cool tremolo system overall – and like everything on the J Custom guitars, it’s the best stuff Ibanez has to offer.

The five piece neck is finished on the back to a fast velvety sheen, and stays slim – 17mm at the first fret, and only 19mm at the 12th fret.


Ibanez J Custom Fret Closeup
Click to check out that fret work!

You know a guitar that is made by the best luthiers Ibanez has – a guitar that is only produced at the rate of 12 per year – is going to cost you a pretty penny. This one has an MSRP of around $5,000. This is still a fair price considering all the hard work that goes into these guitars, and their relative exclusivity.

One thing you can always say about Ibanez – you get what you pay for, and they do offer guitars at price points that will make sure nobody gets left out – whether its the pro musician who needs absolute perfection, or the 15 year old’s first guitar. The J Custom is definitely geared more toward the pro musician.





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Tim Monaghan

Tim has been playing guitar & bass since he was 12 years old and has been in Jazz, funk, rock & metal bands. Influences include Jeff Beck, Stanley Clarke, Doug Stegmeyer, Baden Powell, Steve Vai, and pretty much anyone else who has a unique style that expresses their individuality. One of Tim’s many hobbies is building, tweaking, and repairing basses and guitars.

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10 years ago

The J customs never fail to catch my attention, ive never played one or considered it because my opinion is the 25.5 scale is ridiculously short to my hands and doesnt facilitate drop tuning, but they have released an 8 string j custom with longer scale length and my mouth waters. Overall the price is absurd. My theory is no guitar in the world should cost more than 1000 unless its made with gold parts or something

10 years ago

I’m not sure I’d agree that this is the result of what the finest luthiers of Japan would create, I’ve played a couple of J-Customs and for the money I would much rather get a custom guitar built by a local luthier. In fact I have a local luthier that will basically build a guitar to any shape and spec so you could in theory get exactly the same guitar as one of these J-Custom’s but much much higher quality. I certainly wouldn’t pay the asking price for one of these which here in Aus is the same price as a Suhr which I consider to be of higher quality personally.

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