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.