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Ibanez RG 550 1987

 
Ibanez RG550 1987


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Accept no substitutes! featured

Sound My '88 rg550RFR made in Japan Got this 15 years ago.This has been setup with d'addario 9's played through my marshall JVM205H and 1960a, I play all sorts of music ranging from neo classical, metal, southern and rock and roll.

Stock pickups still on them H-S-H(v7,S1,v8), I have never needed to change the pickups have been tempted on many occasions, they are solid not the greatest but can sort of do everything (jack of all trade)hence why I have kept them in.

This guitar is suitable for all styles of playing from jazz,blues,pop to metal. It all depends on what effects or channel on your amp you want to use and what sounds you want to get out of it.

This tonewise is one guitar yous can literally use for any genre.


Action, Fit, & Finish I actually don't remember how it was setup anymore.
But over the years the setup has pretty much stayed the same. I have never needed to adjust the truss rod or fiddle around with pick up heights. Coming from the Fujigen factory i'm sure they setup all their guitars to a pretty high standard.


Reliability & Durability Over the years guitars have come and gone, I have spent thousands on high,mid and low end guitars but my RG550 is still king! Its without a doubt the most beat up guitar I have but like an old friend will never let me down.

I got this as a teen, played various cheap gigs with it had all sorts of stickers stuck on (teen phase) and removed over the years, has travelled asia and back to uk with me several times outliving a couple of cases.

Yes she has battle scars, and a strap button I have even epoxied at one stage of her life (rowdy gig in Japan).
But I still look at her and think what a gorgeous guitar she still is.

Very reliable and will probably outlive me.


Customer Support Never need to deal with them.


Liked about it 1. versatility
2. the neck is perfect.
3. it's a beautiful guitar


Didn't like what is there not to like about the rg550?


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By ashleighhhh
May 14, 2010
 
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A Modern Classic featured

Sound Basswood body, with a bright maple neck, and they sound great together. The stock pickups are surprisingly good, but you might want to put some Duncans in there, it really broadens the sound. This thing is HOT with distortion, really sounds very good. It sounds nice for clean settings too. I play straight through to my Marshall 100HDFX and it sounds great. So overall sound is really nice, but you might want to upgrade the pups.


Action, Fit, & Finish Ibanez guitars shine in the looks, finish, and parts department. These things just look awesome, and are made with great parts, much better than the parts on my Fender Stratocaster USA HSS Deluxe, and that guitar was practically 3 times what I paid for my RG550. My RG550 is a '91 I believe, and is purple with a purple mirror guard and it looks INCREDIBLE. My guitar just needed a tiny basic setup, and its been perfect ever since.


Reliability & Durability I bought this guitar used about a year and a half ago, and being a '91, this thing has held up great, and it gotten a lot of play time previously to when I got it. The neck and frets and especially the bridge have held up amazingly great for its age. The body has various dings which are to be expected, but other than than that, its sweet.


Customer Support N/A, never had to deal with the company its held up so well.


Liked about it My favorite thing by far is the neck, its the fastest neck I've EVER played, second would have to be the looks because this thing looks amazing, and last would have to be the Edge Tremolo, which when set up right has stayed in tune as well as the Original Floyd Rose on my Charvel.


Didn't like The pickups are good, but you're going to want to change them out probably. Other than that, my only other issue was changing the strings which is always a problem with ANY floyd rose system.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By Shmoofer
Apr 04, 2010
 
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A classic in its own right featured

Sound My main rig is an Egnater Mod 50 head with the Bassman and SL2 modules through either a Mesa or Marshall 4x12 cab. My main styles are metal, jazz, and prog. I own a bunch of guitars and my 550 can hang with most sound-wise. All of my RG's have a Tone Zone in the bridge and an Air Norton in the neck, and they sound surprisingly good with both clean and distorted sounds. In my experience, you do loose some tone and sustain with a floating bridge but it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of negative impact on this guitar. I had a S series though that sounded really thin and I used the same pickups. Anyway, sound-wise, it is an extremely versatile guitar. With the singlecoil, you can get some Stratty sounds, and your high octane rock sounds come from the humbuckers. I guess that is why Vai designed the Jem like he did (which is what the 550 is based off of). All in all, it is a solid guitar that I would say is a kinda a 'jack of all trades'. Maybe not a master of any sound except for 'shred', but it can cop a lot of tones.


Action, Fit, & Finish Well, my RG is around 20 or so years old, so I can't comment on the initial setup. One of the biggest draws of the guitar is the Wizard neck profile. It is super thin and pretty darn comfortable. I like both thick necks and thin necks, so I am not really partial to either. Access to the 24th fret is great. The other big draws are the Edge and Lo Pro Edge trems. I haven't had too much experience with Floyd's, but the Edge is a pretty awesome floating bridge. Like all floating bridges, a significant amount of maintenance and setup work is involved, but that is just what you have to pay for the tuning stability and whammy ability. You can get really nice, low action pretty easily., which is great for shredding The finish is pretty durable even though basswood is a relatively soft wood. Just a great playing guitar overall.


Reliability & Durability The RG by its nature isn't going to be nearly as robust as a Les Paul. The thin neck, floating bridge, and basswood body all make it more susceptible to damage and issues in general. With that being said, you should be find as long as you don't just abuse it.


Customer Support Never had to deal with them


Liked about it Great bridge
Shredtastic neck
Shredtastic looks


Didn't like Maintenance of floating bridge
Fragile neck
Not quite as thick sounding as say, a Les Paul


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By Severinsteelsmit
Dec 25, 2009
 
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The Quintessential Technical Rock Guitar featured

Sound For more than 20 years, this has been the cheapest way to get a pro-level 24 fret solid-body electric. Bright maple neck and fretboards with basswood bodies mean a bright lively sound that won't kill your back. However, the one caveat with Ibanez electrics has always been the stock pickups. They're not terrible, they just don't stand out whatsoever. However, investing in a good pair of DiMarzio or Seymour Duncan humbuckers is a simple step to making this a top-flight choice for hard rock, progressive rock, or metal.


Action, Fit, & Finish Ibanez MIJ guitars are routinely on par with the best mass produced American gear. Expect straight necks, well-dressed frets, and near flawless finishes. As with all mass produced guitars, you can expect that the guitar will need a basic setup to play perfectly.


Reliability & Durability My RG550BK was manufactured in 1991 and looks to have another twenty years of faithful service left. The big jumbo frets have lots of life left, the paint (except the standard neck joint stress cracks) still gleams, and the neck is stable. 18 years of wear have begun to leave their mark on the fretboard though. Still, this is easily prevented by more frequent TLC than I've given mine over the years.


Customer Support N/A


Liked about it For what it is, this guitar is just about perfect. The neck is absolute perfection, the RG shape is a modern classic, and the Edge bridge is reliable. An excellent H-S-H guitar for rock.


Didn't like If there's anything to complain about, aside from the typically unimpressive stock pickups, it's simply that prospective buyers should bear in mind that this guitar is not designed for R&B or blues. The long-scale and pickup configuration make it difficult, though not impossible, to dial-in a warm vintage SRV-type tone. But if you're looking for Vai or Gilbert, the 550 plus a pickup upgrade puts you on the right path in a hurry.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By jem7vwh
Oct 12, 2009
 
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THE rock guitar of the late 80's early 90's. Holds featured

Sound Does this guitar need a review really?

I've owned a few of these over the years and have never been disappointed. Extremely versatile guitars with the locking trem, maple neck, dual humbuckers with a single coil middle position. You can get so many sounds out of these guitars with the proper pickups and amp settings its ridiculous.


Action, Fit, & Finish


Reliability & Durability 100% rock solid guitar. If you know how to use, maintain and adjust a floating trem and dual locking system you will have no issues as far as playability goes. The finish will last forever unless you do something to make it come off. After over 20 years of use, my favorite 550 has only the odd chip or scratch. Hey, war wounds add character. The only thing this guitar is known to do that is potentially detrimental (to some people) is crack the finish in the neck pocket area. Lots of Ibanez guitars do this, and it is usually not a problem as it is just the finish that cracks due to stress in that area. However, I'm told that in some cases the crack can actually be in the wood, which would be a problem over the long term. That said, I would not hesitate to buy one with the finish crack.


Customer Support Never needed support.


Liked about it I like pretty everything about these guitars. The neck of course, if you know and like playing a Wizard neck, these are awesome guitars. The Edge trem is about as good a floating bridge as you're ever going to buy. The guitar is extremely versatile. With the five way switch, dual humbucker and single coil middle, volume and tone controls you can get loads of sounds from a 550.


Didn't like The tendency to develop the neck pocket crack has always been a sore point for a lot of Ibanez owners, and the 550 is no different. That said, I've also had a Music Man Petrucci guitar that had the same crack in the finish. It is not specific to Ibanez guitars. Floating trems can be a pain, but I'd rather have one and not use it, than not have one and need it.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By blackspy
Oct 07, 2009
 
Last updated: January 15, 2010
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Still king of the shred guitars!

Sound The stock pickups are decent, but I swapped them out for a Dimarzio Tone Zone and Air Norton. The maple fretboard produces a brighter tone than the rosewood counterparts. The stock YM-50 5-way selector is OK for what it is, but changing it out for a multi-pole 5-way yields many more wiring options. The basswood body is lightweight, but still enough for some great sustain and low end chunk.


Action, Fit, & Finish The available finished were enough to satisfy pretty much everyone. The Desert Sun Yellow will go down in history as the favorite of most, though. Straight from the factory, these RG-550s were ready to rock. Minor adjustments are sometimes needed to make these really sing. As far as action, well--it's got the original Wizard neck. These necks are the best, fastest, and easiest to play necks that have ever been mass produced. They are thin and play like butter. The original Edge trem is king of the floating bridge lot. They are much better than an OFR, and when setup right--you'll be hard pressed to knock it out of tune.


Reliability & Durability The RG-550s came out in 1987, and many of the originals are still around--talk about durability! As wih anything else, longevity and durability go hand-in-hand with proper care and storage. I love the RG 500 series so much, that I've got four of them.


Customer Support N/A


Liked about it The neck! The best necks EVER! I love the finish options. The stock pickups are decent. The Edge trem is second-to-none! I will never get tired of playing an RG-550. These can still be found used at a real bargain.


Didn't like The only negatives to say about the RG-550s are the YM-50 5-way switch should have been upgraded to a multipole switch, and that Ibanez should have installed DiMarzios as stock pickups.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By AlaskaBat
Oct 13, 2010
 
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Old RG 550s rock!

Sound Sounds full and bright. Very vast sound capabilities.


Action, Fit, & Finish Got mine used, but these are quality through and through. Only issue with these is the neck pocket gets finish cracks. I have had MANY of these and they never affected playability, stability or tuning.


Reliability & Durability Rock solid. Very stable edge tremolo, quality hardware and electronics. Finish tends to chip easily around the sharp edges of the guitar body. Purely cosmetic...


Customer Support Never needed them.


Liked about it Awesome necks. Look great. FAST FAST FAST necks. Love the edge tremolo.


Didn't like Finish could be more durable around the edges of the body. Everything else is an A+++


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By djfrank
Nov 20, 2009
 
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Like Kellogs cornflakes "The Original And Best" !!

Sound the 550 comes with an H/S/H pickup config..perfect for humbucking and the vital single coil tones. factory pups are considered by some to not be the best but you can easily swap them for your favourite brand. These guitars have ecellent internal shielding and are very quiet live or recording. QUICK TIP: use positions 2 or 4 and turn the guitar volume down to around 4 or 5 for the best glassy singlecoil sounds ever !!


Action, Fit, & Finish these guitars were made in the glory years of ibanez and when new every single one i owned bought and played never gave me any probs whatsoever


Reliability & Durability I have one still going strong 22years on, with only frets needing replaced due to wear and tear


Customer Support never had to deal with


Liked about it looks, sound , playing feel


Didn't like only thing i can imagine would be a single coil option on the humbuckers or the option to have both `buckers at once


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By tempomental
Nov 04, 2009
 
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paid 500 for mint 550 and well worth the money.

Sound this guitar by far even with the stock pickups sounds better than any guitar i ever played.


Action, Fit, & Finish i can say i had to do a setup at first but after that it was amazing. the classic rg shape and blue lazer paint is in perfect condition .hardware is very nice cosmo color.


Reliability & Durability after 22 years this guitar still has no flaws and if you dont drop it it will last forever.


Customer Support never contacted them.


Liked about it i love the playability of this guitar. it by far playes better thsan guitars ive spent 5,000 dollars on.and the thing nevr ever goes out of tune.


Didn't like i wish they came with dimarzio pickups in it.
i wish it was rear routed so in cvase i wanted to get it swirled.
and i wish they all came in desert yellow and roadflare red so i wouldnt have a blue one lol.


Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0

By andrewsfury
Oct 17, 2009
 
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