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Anybody can sell you a guitar, I deliver instruments.
Choose wisely.

Package Overview - Bronze Level is the  "loss leader" and represents about 2+ hours of technical work alone to transform the guitar you choose, into the instrument you want. There is no time limit set though, the job is not finished until everything is right. Ibanez Rules guitars are setup by a specialist in Ibanez guitars, that knows all known issues, is always the first to find new ones. and is afflicted with  OCD when it comes to instruments, me. I have always recommended Silver as "pure" instrument level because it assures the fretwork is absolutely perfect and highly polished, but with Bronze you are guaranteed an instrument, completely debugged, maintained, setup, and tested, guaranteed to play without choking on big bends at 1.5mm action, and setup to your specs, tuning, choice of gauge, etc [some very heavy gauge setups will require an upcharge for opening the locking nut up to fit the big strings using a diamond coated Dremel bit]. Silver is a finer instrument, as perfect as it gets, nothing more can technically be done to make it play better. Gold and Platinum Levels just adds unnecessary frills, fret end rounding, fingerboard edge rounding, sanding, smoothing, higher level of polish, etc. Very fine instruments, but include things not necessary for your guitar to be the instrument you want, Each level is charged a fair bench fee from the base price, but also receive a 1% margin bump to even out the 4% added bump that used to be included in the Silver lever alone when I offered 6 package levels. The lower priced guitars will end up being the most expensive compared to List prices as that's just the way the numbers work out when adding up all the labor, material, and expenses involved. The highest priced guitars at the highest service level should be the closest to typical pricing, it's just the way the numbers work out.


    Lifetime Technical Support

Setup Levels


What every guitar sold will receive, It's a very long, technical, and boring read, but it's your money, and you should care about what you're paying for.
This can also serve as a guide for you to use with guitars purchased anywhere else.

Cosmetic - Every square inch of the guitar is closely inspected under 300W Halogen to find any cosmetic flaw, in the paint, surface of the wood, tool marks in the fretboard, scratches on the hardware finish, level of polish to the clearcoat, neck joint cracks, everything you would look for to find a reason not to buy that guitar. Anything that fails for any reason is rejected or if minor enough negotiated to a B Stock and discounted. My main interest is how nice are the woods used, color of the rosewood and it's grain, the figure of a flametop, how interesting, boring, or lame it is. Unfortunately only in rare cases can a guitar be returned because I don't like the look, except when I can argue a claimed specific grade top [ie. AAA] has not been achieved. High res picture folders of every guitar in inventory will let you choose the exact guitar to purchase. You will always know exactly what you're buying when you buy a guitar from Ibanez Rules.
Technical - The details that make a guitar capable of becoming an instrument. The neck is my main concern as the neck is the heart of the guitar, The neck relief profile [shape and tangent of the curves location and how it relates to the fretboard] is scrutinized. The best neck will be smooth and even from the nut through the last fret with even relief on both sides [or even a little straighter on the treble side as the unwounds don't need much relief]. It can't have late relief [where the neck is straight too far up the fretboard to be effective nearer the nut, rejected], and it can't all be centered before the 5th fret [or it leaves no relief thru the rest of the board, rejected]. It must not have any tendency to backbow at the nut when the neck is straightened [S Shape necks]. It must be able to give .5mm of relief with a loose truss rod at pitch by factory spec. While these are being checked the function of the truss rod is observed. How accurate is the string alignment on the neck at the last fret, and at the first, if off, how much work will it take to align them perfectly [neck pocket alignment issue], with the decision to reject or fix based on severity [and quality of the rest of the guitar] as it must ship to a buyer perfect. Does the nut mate flush to the end of the fretboard correctly and is it centered. Is the bridge centered, is there enough pull up range on the trem [current 752 need more neck angle to get ample pullup range], is there enough dive range [ZR equipped S Series the bar would not drop free to the body without installing a neck shim for greater angle].  By this point the guitar has been pretty much "adjusted", but is a very long way from ready to ship. Notes are taken as needed and taped to the box, but many times something reveals itself during the "real setup" process that needs to be addressed. You will always be guaranteed an "instrument" when you buy your guitar from Ibanez Rules.

- These guitars do not need a warranty, problem guitars need warranty. I would never buy a problem guitar, so I don't have any in inventory to sell. But of course the standard Ibanez Rules Platinum Warranty is included with every New instrument. As an authorized dealer everything comes with the Hoshino factory warranty of course if you prefer that option [crazier things have happened!]. My warranty costs are insanely low. I can't remember a year it exceeded $100, typically a pot that seized [not covered by HUSA BTW], a stripped nut [also not covered by HUSA, nor is any stripped thread except for known issues like stripped saddle lock down threads in the baseplates of Edge Zero and EZ2 bridges] a broken saddle [was common on early Edge Pro trems] and if a part breaks, I have it in stock - with the largest dealer parts inventory in the world. For anything more serious of course I will pay your return shipping if it needs to be returned for service. I can't remember the last time, it's been years.
Lifetime Technical Support - Guitars technicalities can be mysterious to some, and second nature to others. Instruments must be maintained and adjusted to continue to play at their best so Lifetime Technical Support is included with every instrument purchased. It all starts with the Tech section, but you always have somebody to answer your questions, at any time. Any other dealers offer a "tech on call" for lifetime support of your purchase? This level of service is just not available from anybody else.

Service Package Levels

I bought these guitars, I do not buy guitars I don't believe in.
I would never sell anything I wouldn't own, and technically I owned them first.
At every level you will get far more than your moneys worth,

Bronze -

Factory D’Addario 9-42 are left on [for most guitars, fixed bride come with 10's, Jazz boxes, Apex, JBM's, 8 strings, etc. will be different gauge] or the strings are changed to the gauge of your choice. I stock D\'Addario strings in all gauges. Feel free to send your favorite strings if you prefer something else. It is preferable that your guitar be setup with the strings you will be using. Custom settings and gauges as requested or desired, and custom tunings never a problem. Very heavy gauge setups that require locking nuts and tuners to be opened with diamond bits to fit large strings, and extra springs if the tension is so increased, will require additional fees.

Tremolo Setup

The guitar had a basic setup during incoming inspection so most adjustments have already been made for setup inspection.
Any notes taken during inspection noted.
Setup pre-inspection for what is needed to correct all adjustments to perfect.
Including nut height, string alignment, range of the trem both up and down, and exposed fret ends from neck shrinkage.
Any sharp exposed fret ends filled back and Micro Mesh polished if needed.
If the filling removes the Prestige, J Custom, or Premium fret end finishing, it can only be smoothed to the level purchased.
I cannot reproduce ball fret ends on a J Custom if you are only paying for a Bronze setup , etc.
Neck pulled to do the fret ends and polishing so done in that order below.
The guitar tuned to pitch, truss cover removed, tuners tightened.
Strings fully stretched, retuned, neck relief set to .2mm, action set to 1.5mm standard low.
Fretwork is tested now by big bending every note on every string to find any choking frets.
Anything found will be spot leveled in the process later, you are guaranteed there will be no choking notes at 1.5mm action.
Intonation of high E and D strobe set for more accurate intonation saddle preset.
The nut is locked and the trem is removed with strings on to be checked and prepped.
Saddles pre aligned to expected correct intonation pattern using the previously strobe set E and D saddles.
Arm holder spring inspected for binding and corrected [very common].
Arm holder tightened and holder nut tightened.
Knife edge specs checks, corrected [nearly uncommon].
With the trem out [with strings on] any fret oxidation or corrosion is removed.
The fretboard is treated and moisturized with current exotic oil'de'jour.
Currently Fret Doctor - or Dr. Ducks Axe Wax [go figure].
Maple fretboards never treated.
Fret playing surface high polished to 6000 grit Micro Mesh.
Problematic string alignment addressed by removing the neck.
Brass nut shim pieces are used to hold the neck in place at perfect alignment.
Misaligned neck pockets perfectly side sanded to correct alignment.
Sometimes the trems locator knife edge can be pulled out slightly to help correct pocket alignment issues.
Neck pocket shimmed for neck angle adjustment if needed for trem range [common on S's and 7's].
Any paint pimples shaved from the back of the neck so it's perfectly smooth.
Trem reinstalled, guitar retuned,
Action height set, trem angle set perfect for that system [Edge/Lo Pro vs. ZR/EZ/w/ZPS].
Neck relief double checked at .2mm at the 9th, or your requested spec.
Nut height set perfectly for optimal 1st fret action with minimal buzz.
Some nuts still need to be ground thinner to get low action at the first [getting scarce but common on Premiums].
For current and future adjustability thru your frets life.
Top mount nut screws checked for stripped holes and bolstered if needed.
Everything reset to perfect after adjusting nut height.
During pre inspection it is determined if the strings can be lowered to touch the frets without a neck shim.
If it needs a neck shim to lay the strings on the frets it is added when the bridge is out, I'll pull the neck, and reverse it when radiusing is finished.
Radius is very rarely perfect, by laying the strings on the fret you know exactly what the radius match is.
Anything out of radius is matched to within .001 [.001 to perfect at Silver level]
I have shims made by the thousand by a local fab shop in .005, .008, .010, and .012 thickness.
Lost my supplier due to pandemic so am using copper shielding tape doubled to make .005 shim.
Shims made in centered hole for all Edge, Lo Pro, Edge Pro.
Shims also made in offset hole for all ZR, Edge Zero, EZ2 trems.
.005 is the thinnest metal that can be worked into a shim.
Copper shielding tape is about .003 and used for the sub .005 shim often needed. [Actual of most is .0025]
This is time consuming but a perfect match makes a huge difference in touch and feel.
With the radius perfectly matched all strings will be the exact height from any fret.
Your pick is also attacking a perfectly smooth radius as it should be but to do this every guitar, the A will be left slightly low to get better pick radius match.
Thankfully some guitars will actually be perfect with nothing needed, but this is extremely rare.
With the radius matched the action is set to standard low setup of 1.5mm even from high to low, or your requested spec.
Bridge is precisely intonated by Strobe tuner using 5th and 17th comparative method [Pederson recommended].
This method leaves the guitar playing much more in tune to itself in both low and high register than common open /12th harmonic cannot do.
Complete setup triple checked to make sure it's perfect, tuning, action, neck relief, trem angle.
When perfect the nut pads are locked, trem abused, pads unlocked, guitar returned if needed, and locked again, then fine tuned.
Pickups are height adjusted to even and level on both sides.
The strings must clear the bridge pickup at full pullup range on the trem so they don't choke on the pickup.
Sometimes the foam under direct mount pickups that are too low must be replaced as it doesn't release from the compression.
The stud set screws are locked [where applicable] and slop removed from the threads making the fulcrum point rock solid.
Studs rotated 180* and lubed with Chapstick for optimal tuning return, and spun 180* back under the knives.
Trem system is heavily abused to make sure the tuning return is perfect from dive, and tuner checked on pullup to within spec.
Thru this process there are 100's of model and brand specific bugs and idiosyncrasies that can found
All corrected, fixed, modified, and optimized, as needed, always.
I would list some but100's but it would put you to sleep, as would just 10.
Example, Nut rout end of the fretboard not cut crisp and doesn't allow the nut to seat flush against the end of the fretbaord and must be shaved true.
Example, I always replace the lowest locking pad bolt on trem model 7 and 8 strings with a longer bolt to prevent stripping as only 2 threads engage with the original.
Example, There can be sharp little frags at the end of the fret edge that need to be filled off.
Example, Sometimes an otherwise superb guitar will have light orange peeled clearcoat on the back of the neck that must be sanded down to 1200 grit to remove.
Still awake?

Fixed Bridge Setup

The obvious differences from the Trem Setup section is, these are non locking guitars.
These guitars have their own setup bugs that need to be addressed, and the package pricing is different from the trem guitars.
Other than the following, everything else in the procedure is the same as above.
The action is set either by raising 2 studs, or by raising each individual saddle, depending on bridge type.
The set screws used in the individual saddles are checked for exposure on the low string saddles, these will be sharp.
If they are exposed a thin neck shim will be added so the set screws will top out at a position they can't be felt.
Each saddle is radiused matched to the frets at the exact desired action height.
The regular nuts can be cut poorly even on Prestige guitars, either far too high, or far too low.
Typical would be a mix of high strings and a low string or two.
You would not notice these until the neck relief is adjusted as usually it is set with lots of bow to disguise the low cut strings.
Once the neck is correctly adjusted these becomes very apparent and buzz badly off the first fret.
Low cut slots must be built up using Cyanoacrylate, which is harder and more durable than the nut material itself.
All slots are then filed to give correct optimal first fret action.


The guitar is plugged in for electronics check and play testing.
Volume and Tone knobs are spun full range to check for noise and correct operation.
Switch is checked on every position to make sure everything is wired and functioning correctly.
Play testing insures the guitar feels as it should whatever the setup spec it has been adjusted to.
And because after all that work I deserve a little "play time"!!


Every square inch of the guitar is micro inspected as it is wiped perfectly clean of fingerprints, dust, etc.
This includes removing buff buildup left from the factory wheel polish that needs clearcoat polish to soften and remove [common]
The guitar is put in case, bag, whatever the factory package includes and the package is checked to verify it is complete.
All tools, cards, manuals, accessories verified to be present and correct.
Your receipt printed and placed inside the case with the paperwork.
Packing, padding, preparation for shipping.
Prepared and packed correctly inside the case and out
These are instruments, not car parts.
Thin sheet styrofoam is placed between frets and strings to protect the frets during shipping
Bubble wrap strategically placed inside the case to minimize guitar movement, prevent collet knob tops from unscrewing, and push pull pots from blowing out.
Every case or shipping box is wrapped in 1/2" bubble wrap to alleviate shocks caused by the several guerillas working for the shippers
It is then double boxed for maximum protection.
If you're buying one of the $5000 Limiteds in flight case, it will be wrapped in at least 4-6 wraps of 1/4" bubble wrap.
I am an expert, I have pack and ship OCD also.


Domestic Lower 48 shipping is by UPS Ground fully insured which is included with the purchase price..
Faster at your option and your expense.
APO, HI, and some AK shipping will be by USPS Priority mail insured and usually requires additional cost.
All purchases over $750 ship Signature Required as demanded by Card Processors.
The only exceptions is if you have paid with Money Order and choose to waive the signature.
You will be notified by email as soon as the guitar is ready to ship, and sent the tracking number so you will know when to expect it.


Congratulation, you have chosen wisely and have received the finest guitar you could for your money.
What you should do as soon as you receive the guitar.
If there is any damage visible from the outside of the box please point it out to the UPS driver and contact me immediately.
If the weather is extremely cold, unpack to the case and let it warm for a couple hours, if you can stand the wait.
IMPORTANT!! That is MY GUITAR until you accept it as yours and the transaction is final.
I fully expect it to be treated with kit gloves thru your inspection and play testing.
This includes making sure no shirt buttons, buckles, rings, bracelets, etc, etc come into contact with the guitar.
And the guitar does not come into contact with the door, walls, ceiling, or your wife's head.
If it ends up a return it must be in the exact flawless new condition it was when you received it!
Now to the details, fully inspect the guitar visually.
Any condition issues you find must be reported to me immediately.
You cannot tell me you found a small scratch on the guitar after you've had it for 2 days.
You will be found responsible for any condition issues not reported and found on a returned guitar.
Plug it in and play if you wish but the setup is going to need to be checked to make sure it hasn't wandered.
It should be very close to perfect tune, if the high strings are sharp and the low strings flat, or vice versa, the neck may have shifted.
Visually check that the strings are perfectly aligned on the neck if in question.
Setup details that wander in acclimating to a new climate are neck relief, and trem angle.
Any questions just email to ask but these are both covered in detail in my tech section.
Without specific instructions otherwise the neck relief should be set to .2mm off the 9th fret with the low E string fretted at the 1st and last fret.
The trem angle would be set perfect, current trems Edge and Lo Pro set by the knife edge parallel to the body top.
Check detailed pics in tech section if you are unfamiliar, because you will need to get familiar to maintain the setup in the future.
Typically if these two measurements are readjusted the setup falls right back into place with the action set at 1.5mm at the last fret.
If everything checks out, plug it in and play until you are satisfied it is your guitar, at which time, you can bump it into any wall you wish.
If not, please see my Returns page, or contact me directly for instructions.
You have 7 days to make that decision, while you're making it I expect you to treat it as what it is.
Mine, not yours, yet ;o}

Bronze price Loss Leader and the current upcharge from base guitar price is $100, which includes all Inspecting, Maintenance, Debugging, Setup, Packing, and Shipping as it's all individually factored into the final price. You pay for card processing fees, you pay for shipping, you're paying for the bubble wrap that you're very happy is surrounding your instrument.

Silver -

This is pure instrument level where everything has been done to make it the finest instrument it can be.
Each higher level builds on the previous and all previously described work is included.
With the neck and strings removed it gets an expert fret level using a 24” Stew Mac box beam milled to a zillionith degree of tolerance
The fret level not only guarantees a perfectly level playing surface, but also smoothes and optimizes the relief profile of the neck.
Cutting all the frets in unison is the only way to insure a perfectly level playing surface.
If a neck has a slight anomaly in it’s bow profile that is not enough to reject under inspection, it is corrected by jig cutting the neck under stress to simulate string tension.
Frets are then crowned to under 1mm spec.
Crowning file scratches sanded to 400 grit.
Fret ends are enhanced to be far nicer and smoother than factory Level Prestige
The fret ends are then rubbed down with 1500-3200 Micro Mesh to begin the polishing process.
The entire fretboard with fret ends and edges are scrubbed with 0000 steel wool to smooth everything out.
The frets are then masked off with tape and the metal polishing process begins.
I have had to move to machine polishing from age and injury but it is done in 4 steps to keep heat to a minimum.
The result is absolute mirror polished frets, I hate to touch the strings to the frets as it does dull the tops where they touch
Steel always wins when competing with nickel silver.
If the guitar is maple fretboard it has no fret end finishing from the factory and the frets are clearcoated in with the fretboard.
The fret ends will be outstanding and the clearcoat is stripped from the frets and the entire fret mirror polished.
The Silver upcharge may seem high but it's only because you are paying full market price for expert work.
And I'm recouping some of the work given away in the Bronze loss leader. It's only fair.
Don't forget the 1% margin bump added into each level to even out prices.
Silver Level is an extremely good choice.
A true instrument, nothing more could be done to make it any more perfect.

Gold -

Gold and Platinum are levels that modify the fret ends and the edge of the fretboard only.
It takes the factory finished fret ends [or some cases, unfinished] and makes them much rounder and more comfortable.
It also takes the top edge of the fretboard and rounds it over to make it more comfortable on the hand.
Unfortunately this cannot be done on maple fretboard guitars as the fretboard is clearcoated.
Gold uses the final stages of the Platinum process in about a third the time, energy, and cost.
After the fret level and crowning is finished the I use the diamond crowning file used to smooth out the jewelers file work from Platinum to round the fret ends.
Then the biting edge of the jewelers file is used to cleanup and enhance the mating point where the fret meets the wood.
The fretboard edge is then scrape rounded using a razor blade [except clear coated maple fretboards].
The fret ends are then rubbed down with 1500-3200 Micro Mesh to begin the polishing process.
The entire fretboard with fret ends and edges are scrubbed with 0000 steel wool to smooth everything out.
The frets are then masked off with tape and the metal polishing process begins.
I have had to move to machine polishing from age and injury but it is done in 4 steps to keep heat to a minimum.
The result is absolute mirror polished frets, I hate to touch the strings to the frets as it does dull the tops where they touch
Steel always wins when competing with nickel silver.
This greatly enhances the Prestige finishing the factory performs without going to the extremes of time and labor of all the tedious, precise, hand file work of Platinum.
After the Gold level enhancement is finished the setup is completed as described in Bronze above.

Platinum -

After the fret level and crowning is finished the smooth edge side of a jewelers file is used to round the ends of the frets, from the wood up to the crown.
This is a fiddly and tedious job that is repeated 44 to 48 times [or even 72 times on a 36 fret model!]
They are filed as close to a perfect ball as possible, but it is hand worked so results will vary slightly.
It will be very close to current J Custom work but they start with unbeveled fret ends so have a little more meat to work with.
After the end is worked, the sharp edge of the file is used to clean and round the fret at the mating surface of fret and wood.
This is done as carefully as possible but you have to dig into the wood a bit because the fret is pressed against it.
Most of this evidence of work will be removed later in the Platinum process, but there will always be some evidence left.
When all jeweler file work is finished, a diamond crowning file is used to further round and smooth out the rounded fret ends.
The edges of the fretboard are the scrape rounded using a razor blade [except clear coated maple fretboards].
The scraped wood is then sanded on the round with 400 grit paper, sanding the fret ends at the same time.
The fret ends are then rubbed down with 1500-3200 Micro Mesh to begin the polishing process.
The entire fretboard with fret ends and edges are scrubbed with 0000 steel wool to smooth everything out.
The frets are then masked off with tape and the metal polishing process begins.
Platinum does include all the polishing that has to be done even in Silver level.
After the Platinum level enhancement is finished the setup is completed as described in Bronze above.
At this point I'm out of tricks, there is nothing left I can do to the guitar to make it any better, in any way.




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