Ibanez model numbers are used to identify a guitar model. Most Ibanez model numbers have three sections:
- A series code,
- the specific model number,
- one or two suffixes.
A model number could look like this: RG3520Z where RG is the code for RG series, the specific model number is 3520 and the suffix is Z. Sometimes, for instance in catalogs, the abbreviation defining the model finish is included to the model number, so you would get RG3520Z HBK or even RG3520ZHBK (without the space).
The series code usually is an abbreviation of the series name. For the RG series models it's RG and for S series models S. For Steve Vai's signature JEM series the code is JEM and for his Universe series it's UV. Joe Satriani signatures use the JS designation. Most other signature guitars employ a naming convention using the artist's initials followed with an M (presumably standing for Model), for example see Paul Gilbert's PGM line .
Occasionally an additional character is appended to the end of the series code. For example, in RGR (see RGR321EX) the second R stands for reversed headstock on and RG body while in RGT (see RGT6EXFX) the T indicates an RG body with neck-thru construction. Another example is the SAS guitars (see SAS36FM or GRGS22) — in this case the S indicates set-in neck construction.
For the Iron Label series introduced in 2013, models are given a two character identifier after the series code and before the number. These include:
- IR, which indicates a rosewood fretboard,
- IX, which indicates an ebony fretboard and abalone binding on the body, and
- IB, which indicates a baritone model
Specific model numberEdit
The specific model number, usually 3 or 4 digits, defines the model and its place within the series. There is a certain system for the model numbers, but it suffers from all kinds of exceptions. The RG series uses this system since 1987. For the S series (including derivatives), it has been fully implemented since 2001, although it already has been used for some models introduced since 1987. Other series that have used this system are the Ergodyne and Talman series
- The thousands and hundreds indicate the quality class (and with that, the price-range) of the guitar with the basic rule: The higher the number, the higher the class.
- The 100 and 200 series guitars are usually produced in low-wage countries with cheaper components. Most of them now fall within the GIO range guitars.
- Models with four digit numbers (from 1000 and on) now fall within the Prestige range, the higher quality class guitars, usually produced in Japan, although there are some Korea produced Prestige guitars. An exception are numbers starting with 7 (so for instance, the S7320). This 7 indicates that this is a 7-string guitar. Actually these guitars are part of the S7 and RG7 subseries.
- The tens define the pickup configuration and whether a pickguard is used or if the guitar has the pickup and control cavities back-routed:
10 H (RG2610E) 20 HH (RG1520A) 30 SSS (and pickguard) 40 SSH (and pickguard) (RT140) 50 HSH and pickguard (RG1550) 60 SSH (RG560) 70 HSH (RG1570 80 HSH and matching headstock
- The last digit gives some extra information:
0 not specified or standard to the series. 1 fixed bridge guitar (RG1521) 2 12-string guitar (RG1512 and RT452) 5 D-tuner equipped or missing a middle single coil (RG565) 7 7-string guitar (RG1527) 8 8-string guitar (RG2228
A comprehensive article about suffixes, like FM, DXL or Z is available here: List of suffixes used for model names.
Last but not least, a word about finishes: it is important to know that the color of the guitar is NOT part of the model number. For example the ARZ300 is available in black (ARZ300 BK) and white (ARZ300 WH) but since they both are the same model fundamentally, they share the same model name.
A few singularities may occur: although their specifications are identical, the RG920QM features a quilted maple top (available in several different finishes), but the RG920 (no suffix nor finish code here) is featuring a plain-black coat and obviously, no quilted maple top.
A comprehensive article about finishes is available here: List of finishes.