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#1: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-27 15:32:26 by Jack Zucker

I know you guys laugh whenever I review any gear so let the jokes fly.

I wanted to give a mini review of 2 guitars which I recently picked up.

I've been playing primarily on an Ibanez GB-10 (George Benson) for the
past year. I was waiting for a new Hofner model and it still isn't
available so in the meantime I went the Ibanez route.

As some of you know, I owned a PM-120 previously but sold it because I
wanted a brighter tone. However, the GB10 provides me with a nice
bright jazz guitar tone and I thought the PM-120 would be a good
compliment to the GB10.

The PM-120 is roughtly modeled after a 175 with the primary differences
being an ebony fingerboard, slightly thinner body and a double cutaway.
Regarding appearances, folks seem to either really love or really hate
the PM-120 guitars. I happen to be in the former category (really
love). The guitar has an art-deco sort of look to it which really
appeals to me. I guess I'm just tired of the typical sort of single
cutaway jazz guitar style. Additionally, I like to use the entire range
of the instrument when I play and I've always struggled with
articulation using "thumb-position" on a single cutaway archtop. With
the PM-120, you don't have this issue. You can access every fret
without having to rotate your wrist and thumb like you would on an
upright bass!

The guitar has a laminated maple top back and sides, mahogany neck,
ebony fingerboard, really groovy 18:1 tuners, metal tailpiece,
tuneamatic bridge, silent 58 pickups (more on these later).

The guitar produces the characteristic Pat Metheny sound - That of a
'60s 175 with the tone control turned down and that Methenyesque
"chirp" attack at the beginning of each note. This "chirp" is one of
the things that I've found on '60s 175s but missing from newer Gibsons
and it's something that really makes the guitar sound organic. Unlike
the 175, the silent 58 pickups have a darker sound as if you turned the
tone control down to 6 or 7 on a 175. This is cool from the standpoint
of emulating the PM tone but frankly, I'd prefer a brighter pickup and
the option of turning the tone control down a tad to get the PM sound.
I would say that tonally, this guitar falls somewhere in between a GB10
and a 175 in terms of tone, volume, acoustic woodyness, etc. Perfect
for a gigging instrument. It will feedback when you get extremely loud
but a bit of packing tape over the F-Holes will get you through even
the loudest gigs. The treble pickup has a bit of bite and growl to it
and works great for funky rhythm (along with the neck pickup) or
fusiony/bluesy leads though with the trapeze tailpiece, I'd want more
sustain if I were using it for a dedicated fusion gig...

The neck of this guitar (like the GB10 I have) is perfect. Ibanez seems
to really have the best quality control of any of the major production
guitars I've seen including Gibson, Fender, Guild, Gretch, etc. The
workmanship is fabulous. Everything is cut and fitted perfectly unlike
some recent Gibsons I've seen which had the inlay slots cut too wide.
The high-end Ibanez guitars are amazingly consistent. I've yet to see
one with a bad neck. Not sure how they accomplish this, particularly
because these guitars ship by boat to the US. The US manufacturers
ought to take note...

Like all of the high end Ibanez archtops, this guitar did not come with
a strap button on the neck side. Why would they do this?!? Do they
think folks will play them with a string around the headstock like
you'd see in the '50s and '60s or do they just assume you'll only play
it sitting in your bedroom? Ibanez, please fix this issue. This ended
up being a more serious issue than it should have been because I
installed a strap button about a 1/2" below the neck heel and then
discovered that with the strap button in this position, the guitar is
ever-so-slightly neck heavy. The last PM-120 I owned had the strap
button in the neck heel and that balanced better. I didn't realize how
close to the center of gravity this was, hence the mistake on my part.
The only saving grace is that it's so close to being balanced that I
think I'm going to put an ebony tailpiece on it which should fix the
issue due to the extra weight of the tailpiece.

One other omission is that lack of a pickguard. This is a personal
issue of course since some folks don't like a pickguard and being a Pat
Metheny artist model guitar, this guitar is true to Metheny's personal
preference. However, Ibanez ought to make a pickguard available for
this instrument and either provide it with the guitar or make it an
after-market option. I ended up having an ebony pickguard made for the
guitar which I'm really happy with.

----------------

The review would end here except for one thing...Just after receiving
the PM120, I found an incredible deal on a 2004 PM-100 guitar which I
couldn't pass up. At first, I decided to use it as trade-bait but the
more I played it, the more I fell in love with it. It's very similar to
the PM-120 in many respects. The differences are:

- Thicker body (approximately like a 175)
- Single Super 58 pickup (vs. dual Silent 58 pickups on the 120)

The guitar has the same basic tone and chirp of the PM-120 but with
more acoustic woodyness as you'd expect with a thicker body. I compared
it to my son's Gibson ES-165 and it was louder, woodier and just plain
better sounding. I had been envious of the 165 for many months and had
been secretly looking for a 175 because I loved that sound so much but
I think the PM-100 has the same basic type of sound, just better.

Setup, playability, neck, etc., are every bit as good as the PM-120.
Again - How do they do that?!?

Being a bigger bodied instrument, it's slightly more prone to feedback
but again, tape over the F-Holes seems to fix the problem. The PM-100
is richer and more full sounding than it's little brother. For me, it's
the perfect guitar to use for solo playing and recording while the
PM-120 the perfect instrument for gigging and playing louder and more
varieties of music.

Anyway, these two guitars seem perfectly suited for playing jazz and in
the case of the PM-120, other types of music as well.

I hope this information is helpful to anyone who has an interest in
these guitars.

Jaz
www.sheetsofsound.net

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#2: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-27 15:53:47 by o-a-s-y-s-c-o

&quot;<a href="mailto:jaz&#64;jackzucker.com" target="_blank">jaz&#64;jackzucker.com</a>&quot; &lt;<a href="mailto:jaz&#64;jackzucker.com" target="_blank">jaz&#64;jackzucker.com</a>&gt; wrote in
news:<a href="mailto:1106836346.324358.313550&#64;z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com" target="_blank">1106836346.324358.313550&#64;z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com</a>:

&gt; I know you guys laugh whenever I review any gear so let the jokes fly.

I 'aint laughin', Jack. I love your reviews and this one was a good 'un.

Greg

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#3: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-27 16:04:03 by dmorton

In article &lt;<a href="mailto:1106836346.324358.313550&#64;z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com" target="_blank">1106836346.324358.313550&#64;z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com</a>&gt;,
<a href="mailto:jaz&#64;jackzucker.com" target="_blank">jaz&#64;jackzucker.com</a> () wrote:

&gt; - Thicker body (approximately like a 175)
&gt; - Single Super 58 pickup (vs. dual Silent 58 pickups on the 120)

Thank you for that. I had never sought out a PM100 to try since I always
assumed - incorrectly - that it was just a single pickup version of the
120. I'll hunt one down now.

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#4: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-27 16:05:36 by KevinW

<a href="mailto:jaz&#64;jackzucker.com" target="_blank">jaz&#64;jackzucker.com</a> wrote:&gt;
&gt; I hope this information is helpful to anyone who has an interest in
&gt; these guitars.
&gt;
&gt; Jaz
&gt; www.sheetsofsound.net
&gt;

It is indeed, thank you.


KevinW

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#5: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-27 17:08:08 by Kevin Van Sant

I suggest all you GAS'ers out there just hang onto Jack's review so
you'll have it handy when he sells these guitars.

:)))



_________________________________________
Kevin Van Sant
jazz guitar

<a href="http://www.kevinvansant.com" target="_blank">http://www.kevinvansant.com</a>
to buy my CDs, hear sound clips, see videos, and get more info.

Visit my new Instant Download Mp3 Store at:
<a href="http://www.onestopjazz.com/mp3-store.html" target="_blank">http://www.onestopjazz.com/mp3-store.html</a>

Alternate site for gig tape soundclips
<a href="http://www.soundclick.com/bands/kevinvansant_music.htm" target="_blank">http://www.soundclick.com/bands/kevinvansant_music.htm</a>

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#6: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-27 17:55:32 by thom_j

&quot;Kevin Van Sant&quot; wrote:
&gt;I suggest all you GAS'ers out there just hang onto Jack's review so
&gt; you'll have it handy when he sells these guitars.
&gt; :)))
Well you read my mind ole great and wornderful Carnac 8^)~'
or is it Karnak? alwayz curious tee'..

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#7: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-27 18:18:19 by Paul Sanwald

thanks for the review, jack. I have a PM-100 and have often thought
about getting a PM-120 as a &quot;backup&quot; guitar that I could also use on
louder gigs, since the PM-100 is definitely feedback prone. one
question, is the PM-120 thicker or the same thickness as a 335? I got
the impression it was the same thickness.

--paul

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#8: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-27 18:30:59 by Jack Zucker

Paul, it's about the same thickness as a GB-10. Thicker than a 335.
You'll have to tape the F-Holes if you're playing REALLY loud. Not a
big deal really. It works great and doesn't change the tone much at all.

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#9: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-28 15:44:53 by musguit

Jack, Probably I am one of the many in this newsgroup who would not
laugh but is appreciative of your informative and passionate gear
reviews. I am also one of those who are reverting back to an ES-175
body size and design because, you are exactly right--louder, woodier
and just plain better sounding. When I got a 1981 my Gibson ES-175
recently, it was just so good that I feel sick thinking why I sold my
1964 ES-175 three years ago. I think Gibson got it right when they
designed the ES-175. The 24.75 scale length, maple laminate body
(laminate is in vogue again thanks to Sadowsky)--less proned to
feedback, and some 'chirp' to its tone, 16&quot; body, that florentine
cutaway, and even the neck-split-block shell which make playing one a
joy to behold. Yes, I love the high-end Ibanez', I used to own two
early models. But there is just something in an old, vintage ES-175.
Some mystic to it. Not just the tone as a result of the settled wood
and varnish, or maybe the glue(?)--but the vibe of playing a Gibson
ES-175; there is just so much history attached to it: Joe Pass, Jim
Hall, Jim Raney, Herb Ellis, Pat Metheny, Steve Howe(?), and yes even
Wes Montgomery. The best jazz guitar CDs that I own and listen
consistently were all recorded with an Gibson ES-175.

rene

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#10: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-28 16:46:56 by o-a-s-y-s-c-o

&quot;musguit&quot; &lt;<a href="mailto:rolivero&#64;temple.edu" target="_blank">rolivero&#64;temple.edu</a>&gt; wrote in news:1106923493.853038.317310
@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com:

&gt; Jack, Probably I am one of the many in this newsgroup who would not
&gt; laugh but is appreciative of your informative and passionate gear
&gt; reviews. I am also one of those who are reverting back to an ES-175
&gt; body size and design because, you are exactly right--louder, woodier
&gt; and just plain better sounding. When I got a 1981 my Gibson ES-175
&gt; recently, it was just so good that I feel sick thinking why I sold my
&gt; 1964 ES-175 three years ago. I think Gibson got it right when they
&gt; designed the ES-175. The 24.75 scale length, maple laminate body
&gt; (laminate is in vogue again thanks to Sadowsky)--less proned to
&gt; feedback, and some 'chirp' to its tone, 16&quot; body, that florentine
&gt; cutaway, and even the neck-split-block shell which make playing one a
&gt; joy to behold. Yes, I love the high-end Ibanez', I used to own two
&gt; early models. But there is just something in an old, vintage ES-175.
&gt; Some mystic to it. Not just the tone as a result of the settled wood
&gt; and varnish, or maybe the glue(?)--but the vibe of playing a Gibson
&gt; ES-175; there is just so much history attached to it: Joe Pass, Jim
&gt; Hall, Jim Raney, Herb Ellis, Pat Metheny, Steve Howe(?), and yes even
&gt; Wes Montgomery. The best jazz guitar CDs that I own and listen
&gt; consistently were all recorded with an Gibson ES-175.
&gt;
&gt; rene
&gt;
&gt;

You know, if I didn't already have an ES-175, your psot would be giving me
GAS like crazy.

Greg

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#11: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-28 16:59:08 by Jack Zucker

I agree Rene. The absolute best jazz guitars I have ever played were a
mid '60s 175 and a '67 Barney Kessel which is basically a double
cutaway 175. I am starting to believe more and more it's the thickness
of the ply and the older glues which were not as stiff.

The PM100 is not quite in the same league but has the same general
vibe.

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#12: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-28 17:22:04 by davidjl

&lt;<a href="mailto:jaz&#64;jackzucker.com" target="_blank">jaz&#64;jackzucker.com</a>&gt; wrote:
&gt;
&gt; The review would end here except for one thing...Just after receiving
&gt; the PM120, I found an incredible deal on a 2004 PM-100 guitar which I
&gt; couldn't pass up.

GAS. Terminal GAS.

&gt; At first, I decided to use it as trade-bait but the
&gt; more I played it, the more I fell in love with it. It's very similar to
&gt; the PM-120 in many respects. The differences are:
&gt;
&gt; - Thicker body (approximately like a 175)
&gt; - Single Super 58 pickup (vs. dual Silent 58 pickups on the 120)

I thought the 120 had a block running through the body, i.e. that
acoustically, it was a 335, not a 175.

&gt; The guitar has the same basic tone and chirp of the PM-120 but with
&gt; more acoustic woodyness as you'd expect with a thicker body. I compared
&gt; it to my son's Gibson ES-165 and it was louder, woodier and just plain
&gt; better sounding. I had been envious of the 165 for many months and had
&gt; been secretly looking for a 175 because I loved that sound so much but
&gt; I think the PM-100 has the same basic type of sound, just better.
&gt;
&gt; Setup, playability, neck, etc., are every bit as good as the PM-120.
&gt; Again - How do they do that?!?

Didn't you go through this before and decided you liked the 120 better, and
that the 100 was a dawg. Like 5 or 7 years ago??? (Or was that someone
else???)

&gt; Being a bigger bodied instrument, it's slightly more prone to feedback
&gt; but again, tape over the F-Holes seems to fix the problem. The PM-100
&gt; is richer and more full sounding than it's little brother. For me, it's
&gt; the perfect guitar to use for solo playing and recording while the
&gt; PM-120 the perfect instrument for gigging and playing louder and more
&gt; varieties of music.

The block down the middle (???) in the 120 should help a lot with feedback.

David J. Littleboy
Tokyo, Japan

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#13: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-28 18:40:28 by Jack Zucker

David J. Littleboy wrote:

&gt; I thought the 120 had a block running through the body, i.e. that
&gt; acoustically, it was a 335, not a 175.

Nope, not it all. It has 2 parallel brace struts along the top but not
a block that goes from top to bottom like the 335.

&gt; Didn't you go through this before and decided you liked the 120
better, and
&gt; that the 100 was a dawg. Like 5 or 7 years ago??? (Or was that
someone
&gt; else???)

That was probably me. I've owned both before but the PM100 I originally
had was much darker than the PM120. Not sure what Ibanez has changed
but the PM100 I have is brighter than the PM120. I believe it's the
pickups which are now labeled as Silent 58 (on the PM-120) whereas the
PM100 has a super 58. The super 58 is a PAF style pickup and my guess
is that the Silent 58 is a darker version of the Super 58. I can get
the PM100 as dark as the PM120 by turning the tone control down a tad.

&gt; The block down the middle (???) in the 120 should help a lot with
feedback.

See above...

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#14: Re: Mini review - Ibanez PM-120, PM-100

Posted on 2005-01-28 19:08:02 by Greger Hoel

On Sat, 29 Jan 2005 01:22:04 +0900, &quot;David J. Littleboy&quot;
&lt;<a href="mailto:davidjl&#64;gol.com" target="_blank">davidjl&#64;gol.com</a>&gt; wrote:

&gt;I thought the 120 had a block running through the body, i.e. that
&gt;acoustically, it was a 335, not a 175.

Nah, it's hollow.
--
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