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In 2009, all Ibanez basses with the Prestige name will once more be made exclusively in Japan. The obvious question is: why is Ibanez is going against the grain of current manufacturing which seems to be always looking for new venues of cheap labor and manufacture? "It isn't uncommon for highly expensive basses made in boutique shops, one at a time, to achieve the extreme levels of precision desired by today's pro bassists," explained Kiyo Yamada of Ibanez in Bensalem, PA. "But our Ibanez luthiers in Japan are some of the very few, if not the only bass makers, that can achieve that consistent level of craftsmanship from bass to bass in modern bass manufacturing. That's especially important for our Soundgears where there's a precise balance between the mass of the neckwhich you need for toneand the thinness of the neck that's the hallmark of the Soundgear. You have to have just the right U-shape to achieve that combination, and it must be consistent from neck to neck. Our bass makers can do that."

A prime example of the 2009 Japanese-made basses is the Soundgear Prestige SR5000 Series, available in the 4-, 5-, and 6-string versions. The SR5000 Prestige models feature 5pc wenge/bubinga necks, mahogany bodies with wenge tops and backs, the Mono-Rail IV bridge, and Bartolini Custom pickups. Of particular note is the new PWCIII Power Curve EQ with bypass switch, mid boost and cut control, and the Power Curve control which allows rapid and easy midrange fine tuning.

Models: SR5000EOL 4-string, SR5005EOL 5-string SR5006EOL 6-string

List: $2533.32 4-string, $2666.65 5-string, $2799.99 6-string,

Available Finish: Oil Body Material: Mahogany with Wenge top and back Neck Material: 5pc Wenge/Bubinga Neck Type/Scale: SR/34" No. Frets/Type: 24/Medium Fingerboard: Wenge Bridge: Mono-Rail IV H/W Color: Gold Neck Pickup: Bartolini Custom Bridge Pickup: Bartolini Custom EQ: Power Curve 3-band Case: Hardshell

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