Re: '87 Saber Questions
First off, a big thanks to everyone for sharing so much info. I also wanted to report that I did, in fact, find an original humbucker for my Saber. As luck would have it, someone on Ebay was selling a complete set of '87 Saber pickups and agreed to part out just the humbucker to me. The two remaining single coils are back on Ebay if anyone is looking for them (I don't know if I'm allowed to say stuff like that on this site, so I apologize if I'm not). Anyway, I got an original IBZ/USA humbucker to put in.
In terms of where my Saber was made, I think it was made and assembled in Japan. It actually has a plain chrome neckplate that just says "Ibanez" and "Made in Japan." As well, it has a silver sticker on the headstock that gives the serial number and says "Made in Japan." The serial number on my guitar is F724920. As I understand it, that means that it was made in February of 1987. Since those guitars were only introduced in 1987, I would think that they were still being made and assembled in Japan. There also isn't anything else on the guitar that would indicate that it was assembled in the U.S.
As far as the Backstop goes, I've heard different things about them. On one site, I read that they stopped putting them in because people didn't like them. It seems that some people thought that they made the trem too stiff. Another site I read, though, said that Ibanez quit making them because Gibson sued them over it. I don't know which it true, but Gibson does seem to like to sue Ibanez.
Anyway, my guitar seems to be a pretty early one, but I don't really know that for a fact. It does have the three mini switches instead of a blade selector, though, and I think they had stopped doing that by 1989. Again, though, I could be wrong about all that.
As long as we're on the subject of these guitars, here's another question. My guitar came in a case that looks a lot like the standard rectangular Ibanez hard case. But it doesn't say Ibanez on it. And it has a little leather tag on the inside that says "G&G Cases." I know that G&G makes cases for a lot of the guitar companies, but I don't know if this is the original case for the guitar. Like I said, it doesn't say Ibanez anywhere on it, but then again, I have an '84 Artist 105AV in its original case (I am the original owner of that guitar, so I know it's the original case), and that case doesn't say Ibanez anywhere on it, either. I don't really care about the Saber case that much since it's a good case either way, but I'm always interested in product history. So, if anyone knows anything about that, I'd be interested to hear it.
Thanks again for all the replies. I've learned a lot already.