Re: 86 Roadstar RG140 Neck type?
Hi, I'm K9. First of all, I can't believe there's actually a forum thread for my 20-year-old Ibanez student model guitar! I bought my black Roadstar (any color you want as long as...) in '86, case and all for $325. It served my purposes quite well at the time. The pups were a bit weak and the humbucker was kind of noisy in single-coil mode. I prefer series-parallel for my clean sound but it wasn't a big deal. Like all of you, I loved the neck on it, particularly. Still do. I don't have those big, spidery fingers like Van Halen. Aside from having that nice, flat radius, I believe the rosewood fingerboard is ebonized. It's impregnated with *something*. It seems cooler and faster than my other guitars with rosewood boards. Very ebony-like, in fact. What I found amazing was that in 20 years, all I've had to do to the neck was level two frets. The neck aged perfectly straight - unusual for a guitar presumably made with cheap wood. But then, in '86, Ibanez was putting basswood bodies and knife-edge fulcrum trems on their student guitars. Wish they still did. Wish the bodies of the new ones weren't so big, ugly and blocky. I *hate* the Wizard boards. Van Halen started the whole "wide, flat classical guitar" neck thing. However, if you like Fenders, you'd be much more at home on the RG. I actually prefer medium frets. It has the most comfortable neck of any guitar I own, though once I get used to my new Godin xtSA that might change. I have a '96 deluxe Strat plus that's gorgeous, but it has the old 9" radius board and to get it so that it won't bottom out when you bend, you have to set the action higher, so it makes you work harder. But back to my RG140. I just have to tell you about it.
The next guitar I got after the RG was an Ibanez "S" series. It turned out to be the biggest piece of junk. You can't make a mahogany body that thin on a bolt-neck guitar. It's not acoustically stable and you get wolf tones. And the pickups were dull and horrible. So I dumped that at the store I bought it from (at a loss) and got the dlx Strat +. I've customized that and it's great. But I still had the RG so I decided to customize the heck out of it for hard rock/metal.
I traced the pickguard and got WD to make me a black one with a yellow strip. Then I ordered a very carefully matched set of DiMarzios - Cruiser (neck), Fast Track 1(middle), Megadrive (bridge). The dual-blades are yellow with black blades and the Megadrive has a black bobbin and a yellow bobbin. Matches the stripe in the pickguard. The tone characteristics of the dual-blades have the same extended high end and big bottom the Megadrive has. While I was waiting for the parts to come in, my buddy gave the body a new paint job. He does auto body work and he airbrushed it a nice light metallic blue in acrylic laquer with multiple clearcoats. The blue and the yellow look striking together. I also added chrome tele knobs, Graph-Tech saddles and an original Torres "woman tone" cap. The Megadrive is a thrashy pickup, but when you roll down the tone it gets silky smooth, but still hot. VERY Satriani.
Final analysis? I'd rather have this guitar than any RG series Ibanez makes today. It's comfortable, powerful, resonant and easy on the eyes. The knife-edge trem stays in tune so well I'd never use one of those big, clunky Floyd Roses. They absorb half of the strings' vibration before it ever gets to the body. I think if they started making this guitar again with these simple upgrades, they wouldn't be able to keep up with the orders. But guess what?
I'm selling it. Never thought I would but the dlx Strat + and the Godin have me pretty well covered except for one thing: I'm not a hard rock/metal player. I only incorporate those influences into my music occasionally. I need a go-to soloing guitar with a clear, bright, open tone for my soaring, melodic, Steve Howe-influenced stuff. I've studied why guitars sound the way they do and for reasons that would take too long to explain here, I need a double-cut set-neck guitar with a *symmetrical* body. So I'm dumping my RG and my 50th Anniversary Tex-Mex (also heavily modded) and using the proceeds to buy an Ibanez Artist AR200 reissue (which I'll change the pickups on, probably. Ibanez pickups generally suck). I have to order it from the UK because Ibanez doesn't offer that model in the states (UNFAIR!). For metal, I'm planning on getting a "V" after that, probably that new Reverend Volcano. The pickups from that would be perfect for the Artist, the pickups from the Godin are scorchingly hot and wound like PAFs so the harmonics are insane, so those will go on the Volcano, and I'll get a set of Bill Lawrence humbucking P-90's for the Godin.
I'd say my RG is in "very good" condition. I play it a lot but only at home. If you want what's probably the best example of an RG140 you're ever likely to see, keep an eye on a certain online auction site. I plan on getting a good deal more than I payed for it. If I can't, then you'd have to pry it out of my cold, dead, small fingers.