MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII - Jemsite
Polls Create forum Polls here or vote in existing polls.

View Poll Results: Which is better? - a vintage RG 550 or Kirk Hammett for a grand?
pre-early 1990s Ibanez RG550 7 87.50%
new ESP LTD Kirk Hammett 602 0 0%
both are about the same, so no preference 1 12.50%
Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-14-2015, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California
Posts: 2,511
MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII

For about $1,000 I have pondered a used RG500 in good shape with S1, V7, V8 pups with Edge and case or a new ESP Kirk Hammett KH-602 with dual EMG 81s and standard series Floyd Rose.

The ESPs (KH 602 and 202s, variants of older MII model) are common in the two main dealerships nearby and while the low end KH with Floyd Rose Special and passive pickups sounds and plays great brand new, I have heard enough from here that the knife edges on the Floyd Rose Special dull out and can cause tuning issues down the line after a couple of years. So when looking at the top of the line Floyd Rose with hardened steel (those more expensive Floyds made with either OFR, OFR '84, stainless MIK Floyd, or titanium Floyd), they not only keep tuning as brand new trems, but keep good for many years.

The passive pickups in the lower end KH are like your garden variety PAFs and get the job done but don't heat up as nicely as the EMG 81s. I would suspect they are only around 8K resistance like normal PAFs and probably only get so hot before getting muddy. The passive hummers are better clean and better dynamic range than the overly dark EMG 81s but as a hard rock guitar, as the KH is designed to be, the EMG 81s are better for the task than normal output passive humbuckers on the lower end KH model.

http://www.espguitars.com/products/9...8-kirk-hammett

The pre-early-90s RGs are a known entity and even used can and should fetch a grand. I know the Edge is the best trem out there so no issues, even with used Ibanez. The one thing that has made me wonder is if I am paying a grand why should I live with stock S and V pickups? Are the vintage RGs so much better than Prestige RGs with stock DiMarzios and Edge? And is the common path of buying vintage RG and later adding HSH DiMarzios still the best path? I know many here consider the vintage RGs with later Evos put in as the poor man's Jem and every bit as good and have even seen some handles carved into those vintage RGs and green DiMarzios tossed in.

http://www.ibanezrules.com/catalogs/us/1989/rg5.jpg

Are vintage RGs (mainly 1980s models) so superior to all other RGs they are likened to something like pre-Norlin Les Pauls (1952-196 over anything else post-Norlin in Gibson lore, or like pre-CBS Fenders (before 1965) over post-CBS Fenders?

Thoughts?

Last edited by 63Blazer; 03-14-2015 at 01:20 PM.
63Blazer is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-14-2015, 05:04 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,931
Re: MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII

Just a thought... but you can get an older MIJ 5xx series for much less than a grand. You can get a prestige level Ibanez for that price easily. Especially if you shop around or patiently watch ebay for a while. With extra money in your pocket you can load it with any pickups you like! The older ones came with some pretty good pickups too...
FireEagle is offline  
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-14-2015, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California
Posts: 2,511
Re: MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireEagle View Post
Just a thought... but you can get an older MIJ 5xx series for much less than a grand. You can get a prestige level Ibanez for that price easily. Especially if you shop around or patiently watch ebay for a while. With extra money in your pocket you can load it with any pickups you like! The older ones came with some pretty good pickups too...
Thanks for the heads up.

I saw a dead mint '89 or '90 for $900 and case that seemed really nice with no issues. I have heard so much about how DiMarzios on those 550s sound better than S and V stock pickups but anyway I would give them an honest shot.

For my Artcore and stock humbuckers I find they do a great job for what I ask them to do which is moderate output rock. I don't know if I get the RG if I will consider the S and V stock pickups hot enough for the more high octane stuff I envision a 550 to pull off. I am sure there are some who have put in a regular vintage strat pickup with something akin to a pair of DiMarzio PAFs (36th PAFs, F-spaced) into an RG and get a workable hot sound.

The RG seems to be one of the best guitars to get a single coil sound, humbucker sound, bright cleans to do strat sounding work, and the dirty, thick distorted hard rock riffs. While no guitar can get a perfect strat and Les Paul/SG, too there seems to be a pretty good palette this three pickup RG guitar can achieve.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 03-14-2015 at 11:00 PM.
63Blazer is offline  
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-14-2015, 11:17 PM
 
RGTFanatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: New Lenox, IL-USA
Posts: 10,116
Reviews: 2
Re: MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII

IMO, This is a no brainer.

I'd owned a '96 KH2 NTB for about a year. For everything it was supposed to be, I was pretty let down. With as "meh" as the craftsmanship was on the "Flagship" KH at the time, I wouldn't dare try an MII 602 NTB.

FWIW, if you EVER pay $1k for a 550, regardless of condition or extras, you overpaid by several hundred dollars. A pristine 550 with V1=S1-V2 pickups should top out at no more than $750.

I'm not ragging on ESP at all either..... I quite like them. When it comes to comparing a "golden era" MIJ Ibby to a third shelf, MII ESP...... the choice should be simple. BTW, you don't get a Floyd Rose special on the 602, you get an FRT1000........ googling it will make up your mind in a hurry.
RGTFanatic is offline  
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California
Posts: 2,511
Re: MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGTFanatic View Post
IMO, This is a no brainer.

I'd owned a '96 KH2 NTB for about a year. For everything it was supposed to be, I was pretty let down. With as "meh" as the craftsmanship was on the "Flagship" KH at the time, I wouldn't dare try an MII 602 NTB.

FWIW, if you EVER pay $1k for a 550, regardless of condition or extras, you overpaid by several hundred dollars. A pristine 550 with V1=S1-V2 pickups should top out at no more than $750.

I'm not ragging on ESP at all either..... I quite like them. When it comes to comparing a "golden era" MIJ Ibby to a third shelf, MII ESP...... the choice should be simple. BTW, you don't get a Floyd Rose special on the 602, you get an FRT1000........ googling it will make up your mind in a hurry.
Thanks for response.

While I love the KH and virtually every RG I have met, I don't have any issue with nice Floyd Rose made in Korea. The key is that they stay in tune and last a lot like the German made ones. It's the Floyd Rose Specials I want to stay away from.

In accordance to Floyd company and this forum post (below addressing those who think FR1000 is merely licensed), I am OK with the 1000 model for me:

The 1000 is not a "licensed copy". It's an official Floyd, just like the OFR. There are many official models of Floyd; the 2000, 1000 and Special are just three of them.

The FR-1000 is, for all intents and purpsoes, identical to the OFR. The only differences are, depending on the year of manufacture, the name 'Floyd Rose 1000' stamped into it and slight chamfering of the saddle edges. The metals used and all dimensions are exactly the same.

The OFR is cast and assembled in Germany while the 2000 and 1000 are cast and assembled in South Korea. Unless you have an irrational hatred for South Korea there is no reason to suspect the 2000 and 1000 models as being in any way inferior to the OFR.

The Special is slightly different, as it uses zinc for a few less important parts and it usually comes with a smaller block. The vital aspects are steel though, and it does at least stay in tune just as well as any other model in the Floyd line.


But while the KH neck on ESPs and LTDs are nice with ESPs being better, I still like the RG neck better. I played a cheap RG450 and while I don't like the Edge III, just like I don't like the Floyd Rose Special trem found on cheaper line LTDs like 330 series guitars, that RG had a neck with Wizard design that was somewhat better than the Kirk Hammett necks.

That being said Kirk Hammett necks are still a lot better than the standard strat neck.

While I won't go bad with LTD or ESP Kirk models, as I would be proud to have one, I think the RG is somewhat better and thus why I came to Jemsite in the first place.

Ibanez on all fronts of cheaper GRG RGs, to moderate standard series RGs, to highest end J Custom RGs, makes the best guitars in the world. And the Icemans, Artists, Artcores, Artstars, Destroyers, Talmans, and basses aren't bad either.
63Blazer is offline  
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 05:11 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: UK/Ireland
Posts: 3,525
Re: MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII

Ibby all the way. I'd go for a late 80's early 90's RG7XX series.
Can't go wrong with a 5XX as well.
IbanezDaemon is offline  
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern California
Posts: 2,511
Re: MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII

Quote:
Originally Posted by IbanezDaemon View Post
Ibby all the way. I'd go for a late 80's early 90's RG7XX series.
Can't go wrong with a 5XX as well.
Thanks for the reply. I like 550, 560, and 570, but I will take serious look at 700 series, too.
63Blazer is offline  
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2015, 05:54 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: UK/Ireland
Posts: 3,525
Re: MIJ RG (vintage) vs. ESP KH602/MII

Quote:
Originally Posted by 63Blazer View Post
Thanks for the reply. I like 550, 560, and 570, but I will take serious look at 700 series, too.
Cool. RG770, RG750 and RG760 are great guitars. All Edge or Lo Pro equipped and
you get DiMarzio made pups too. They'll stand up against most anything.
IbanezDaemon is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Jemsite forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address

IMPORTANT: You will be required to activate your account so please ensure that your email address is correct.

If you do not receive your activation check your spam folder before using the CONTACT US form (at the bottom right of each page).



Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Vintage Morley PWB, Vintage MXR Flanger, MXR Phase 90, Carl Martin Chorus Sevenstringer Classified Ads: Guitars and Gear 1 02-27-2012 02:29 PM
Vintage paf pro callen3615 Pickups & wiring 8 07-21-2009 11:44 AM
WTB ESP KH602 or KH2 Triggerman9 Classified Ads: Guitars and Gear 0 04-23-2009 03:53 PM
Check out my New Vintage Ibanez (heh New Vintage) rich2k4 All Other Guitars (including Prestige) 5 02-20-2006 02:13 AM
Vintage!! - For vintage freaks only!! Pedalboards, amps and Skully Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 17 01-12-2002 11:55 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome