'87 Saber Questions - Jemsite
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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'87 Saber Questions

Hi all,

I have a 1987 Saber. In the catalog for that year, it's listed as part of the Roadstar II series and is part of the PRO540 guitars (the Saber, the Radius, and the Power). That was the first year the Sabers were made. It's one of those guitars that has three mini-switches to control the pickups rather than a blade selector, and the bridge humbucker (it's H-S-S) is wired to do coil splitting through a push-pull on the volume knob. It's a pretty cool guitar, and I really like it.

The thing is that when I got it, someone had taken out the original humbucker and put in a Dimarzio Super Distortion. The single coils are the original pickups. Anyway, I got an USA/IBZ F1 humbucker to replace the Dimarzio, but when I looked more closely at the pictures in the catalog, I noticed that back in '87, the pickups just said USA/IBZ on them. They hadn't started making the F1, F2, etc. series at that point. The Ibanez site doesn't have any catalogs for 1989, but the F series were in the 540s guitars by 1990.

So, my question is this: is the original USA/IBZ humbucker that was in the original Sabers basically just an F1? It seems like it might be, but if anyone actually knows for sure, I'd love to know.

My other question is this: my guitar has a Backstop in it, and it has the original sticker on the trem for it. So, it's original to the guitar. But I read somewhere that Backstops were only put into Sabers that were assembled in the U.S. My serial number sticker clearly identifies my guitar as having been made in Japan. So, were Backstops put in all the Sabers of that period regardless of where they were made or assembled?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 04:08 AM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Welcome to Jemsite Fuse!!!

As far as your pickup questions......... I think your right about your pup being the equivalent of an F1, but I would call DiMarzio tech support to find out for sure...they made all of them. (800) 221-6468

All Ibanez parts of that period except the American Masters and USRG's were made in Japan...even the USA customs. I don't know a lot about the sabers, but if I remember correctly some of them were assembled in the US just like the USA customs. think your '87 would have been built in the Bensalem, PA. custom shop. The backstop would have been added there.

I'm saying this recalling old memories so hopefully someone will join in to either confirm or deny my thoughts.

Ryc
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Thanks, Ryc. I appreciate the reply and the info. I kind of thought that the original Saber humbucker just became the F1. It just doesn't make sense that Ibanez would toss out a pickup design and replace it with something very similar in the F series. But I will call Dimarzio tech support. Thanks for the number!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 01:21 AM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuse23 View Post
Thanks, Ryc. I appreciate the reply and the info. I kind of thought that the original Saber humbucker just became the F1. It just doesn't make sense that Ibanez would toss out a pickup design and replace it with something very similar in the F series. But I will call Dimarzio tech support. Thanks for the number!
Glad to help man.... let us know what DiMarzio tells you..... I can write down in my "'I'll never use this info again' Ibanez info book"...............lol. Man I need a real life!!!!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuse23 View Post
Thanks, Ryc. I appreciate the reply and the info. I kind of thought that the original Saber humbucker just became the F1. It just doesn't make sense that Ibanez would toss out a pickup design and replace it with something very similar in the F series. But I will call Dimarzio tech support. Thanks for the number!
I don't think that they are the same pickup. For that matter, the F2 could just be an F1 with a different number on it. I like the originals, found the F1s to be too bland to make me keep them (and I tried to like them, I really did). There are several people on the forum here who have more than healthy numbers of IBZ/USA original pickups tucked away. Ask around.

Your single coils are actually stacked humbuckers. And the bottom coil has no polepieces. They're a good find anymore. Great single coil sound and no hum. Dimarzio. Nice.

Your neck would be the original wizard cut down to 22 frets instead of the RG's 24. Paper thin. I never could warm up to them. In '87 the necks on the 540R guitars are more to my liking. Thin, but more narrow than the wide-ass wizard and maybe half as thick as the whomper necks that the 540Rs got starting in '88. Many people love those Ultra necks. To me they just detract from the sleekness of the 540R with their, well, whomp.

Hey, hey. Now we're talking. Seems I've managed to get onto the subject of 540Rs. Oh yeah.

Anyway, keep ahold of that '87 as they truly don't make them like that anymore. Check this out on your guitar: Hold it so that the bottom strap button is at about your face and the guitar is pointing down and away in front of you, backside toward the ceiling. You should notice that the back of the guitar, where an imaginary 'center seam' would be, is kind of raised so that the wood on either side of the seam slopes down and off to the edges of the guitar. That little bit always seemed classy to me. It is very noticeably missing on later run Sabers or S Series guitars.

I believe that is generally accepted that the guitar parts were made in Japan but assembled in America. Otherwise the guitars could not be called "Made in USA" which at the time was a marketing target.

Last edited by ashbass; 05-11-2011 at 06:05 PM.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Heres my 1988 european release Proline 540s Saber bought in Germany by me, brand new in 1988 and made in JAPAN equipped with backstop. First time this axe hit american soil was 1990 when I separated from the US army and returned to Las Vegas. More pics on page 54 "s" pics series thread. Not all sabers were assembled in the US, yours most likely was made in JAPAN just like mine.

The trem cover is new, the original had cracks by the screws so I bought this one from Ibanez Rulez (Rich) You can see the backstop here....







Last edited by cryptonet; 05-12-2011 at 04:02 PM.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 04:07 PM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

I think actually that it was Hoshino USA that stopped installing them first. Those assembled in the US should have Bensalem neckplates, Japan-assembled had the "New Ideas for todays musicians"/Made in Japan. Serials can be stamped, or not, and not seldom combined with a "regular" serial like F87XXXX on a silver decal on the headstock.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 04:47 PM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by cryptonet View Post
Heres my 1988 european release Proline 540s Saber
So what's the front look like?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

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Originally Posted by ashbass View Post
So what's the front look like?
In the S series thread page 54 and page 71 have pics of it and my 91 saber.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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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.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 02:28 AM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Ooo,an excuse to show my Saber rainbow.



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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Cool!!! What's the oldest one you've got? And is the black one on the end a Saber? It seems a little too thick.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 03:05 AM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

87's the oldest (the red body),the neck on it is an 88 custom shop with ebony board.
It has mini switches and the small jack input,i built it to be as close to Alex Skolnicks custom saber from BITD hense the F3 in grey at the bridge.
Newest is 91,i only like square heels on the old 540's and yes,the last black one is a Radius(540R).
All of them have the awesome IBZ/USA p'ups,F2,F1,F3,C2 including some with the grey bobbins and most importantly to me,they all have a set of Beehive knobs.

Sabers got me into Ibanez in the first place,awesome quality,slick design and mahogany.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

The '87 is the red one on the end, right? The Sabers didn't come in an H-H configuration in 1987, did they? In the Ibanez catalogs, the 1987 Sabers are part of the Roadstar Pro line, and those are all H-S-S configurations. As well, in the 1988 catalog, the 540S guitars only come in H-S-S and H-S. Hmm...now my curiosity is piqued. Maybe there are different Sabers out there than just what was in their catalogs?
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 05:14 AM
 
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Re: '87 Saber Questions

Yeah sorry 88,but it's from the first run in the very beginning so this period started in 87 and more than likely included mine due to the prototype input jack.
Yes HH was not reflected in the catalog's until the new campaign in 88,the start of the golden era of Ibanez.
http://www.ibanez.co.jp/anniversary/...t_id=293&now=5
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