Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series - Jemsite
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
 
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Question Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series???

Does anyone know the history on the pre-FGM branded guitars? I have a yellow 1988 square heel S that I just finished refreshing and it's an H-S-H configuration. Can't find any images of a DY with a non-sharkfin inlay neck EXCEPT for a photo of Frank playing one at the beginning of the 1988 calendar.

Just wondering because when this guitar is set up right, the action is going to be freakishly low compared to my 1993 AANJ. This is my first square heel but the fret board is down into the body and the tremolo is adjusted all the way down and still needs to come down further. It looks like I'll have to shim the neck a bit to get everything just right. The pickup rings are not sunk in like on an FGM model. There's no H&S stamp or anything like that in the neck pocket or on the back of the neck. Has the Bensalem, PA neck plate but that could have easily been added later. The paint is original and the body is unmodified.

As is, it really plays well even with the action a hair high. Has that snappy/relaxed feel to it. I spent the money and had the frets leveled (owner sold it to me and lied about the amount of fret wear) and it just sounds great. I can't remember which patch I was playing through last night (Eleven Rack) as it was late and I got the guitar done last minute. I haven't touched the green 93 since the original owner contacted me about buying it back but I didn't remember liking the F1/F2 combo this much. Some really good clarity there even with distortion.

I brought the guitar in to work with me for a few photos. I should have some up later this afternoon. But if anyone knows if there was some sort of a pre-signature model or can explain the H-S-H setup, let me know, I'd love a bit more history on it.

Heeeereees Frank!

Last edited by MichelIV; 11-27-2012 at 02:30 PM.
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Photos...



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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series






Last edited by MichelIV; 11-27-2012 at 02:37 PM.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 04:07 PM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

That sure it a beauty!
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 04:46 PM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Looks minty fresh!
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 05:44 PM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Nice guitar.

I've seen that combination before, it's not too uncommon. I think in those days you could special order any pickup config, and the dots were standard.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 06:12 PM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Firstly...square heels are the best.....they were always slicker to me than any AANJ.


That is just an early saber,beautiful nonetheless.
Frank began using them as soon as they were available,he would of requested the H/S/H just as you could of if you bought one new back in the day.
All early saber bodies were shipped from japan HSS/HS and routed to whatever spec was wanted in the U.S.
Many people with early sabers notice their neck p/up cavity is unpainted and assume it was done by previous owner.......actually it was Bensalem/north hollywood.

1988 was when Frank began planning his version though and this can be seen in the photo of him in the 88 catalogs.......just looks like a yellow 540LTD with color matched headstock,but has all his features....neck,trem,p/up's all recessed.

This model is a 540LPF(low profile),series 1 Gambale and was a japan only model that morphed into the official FGM model we all know and love the year or two after.
LPF's are quite rare of course but most people have no idea of its difference's and assume its just a normal LTD.
I have a LPF in my collection,mines Neon purple.....I WOULD KILL FOR A RED ONE!!



I also have a full custom ordered saber from 88,you could do that also back then....but thats a separate thread i will start when i get some time.

Last edited by corey j grieve; 11-28-2012 at 03:48 AM.
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 06:40 PM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

There's also an image of Frank playing the same guitar in the '89 catalog that shows more of the guitar. You can clearly see the chrome bridge and black plastic pickup rings, which means it's probably an '87 PRO540S that he's playing which has been routed for HSH. They switched to cosmo hartdware in 1988.

Despite the 884594 S/N, your guitar is actually an '89 model. S/N's are often from the previous calendar year, since Ibanez built up inventory prior to the start of the year. There are three very easy giveaways:

1. You have the "wide" control arrangement with the 5-way switch. 1987-88 models had the "narrow" control spacing with three switches to control the pickups.

2. Your guitar has F2/C2/F1 pickups, which was what they has starting in 1989. All '88 and earlier pickups were simply IBZUSA.

3. Your guitar has a large dot neck. 1987-88 Sabers all had small dot necks, like Frank is playing in the picture above.

Your guitar is most likely a custom ordered 540S, like what was mentioned above. Either that or it's a 540SLTD that someone swapped a regular neck onto.

Here's my '87 PRO540SDY for reference:



I put a chrome pickup ring on there because I thought it looked better. DY does not appear as a color option for this year, but I've seen three other identical guitars, so they might have been a limited run. You can't see in the pictures of Frank, but 1987 was the only year where the input jack angled downwards.

Last edited by Takin' a Ride; 02-19-2014 at 08:12 PM.
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Wow, thanks so much for the information! I didn't even notice the larger dots or the different switch. A lot of the catalog photos are very low res and it's hard to spot the differences.

Neck pickup cavity is painted, I'm guessing it was a LTD but someone swapped on a dot neck. So is it fairly normal to lower the trem posts on the square heels until they won't go any further? Measurement wise, the action is still high although it doesn't feel that way when played.

I'm actually glad to know it's fairly run of the mill. It may get sold (found a PRS I must have this evening) or if I keep it, it'll get more play time.

Corey, you don't by chance have a gallery of your guitars do you?
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 11:44 PM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Excuse my noobness but how do you pronounce his last name?
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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 12:54 AM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

gam-ba-lee
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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 01:02 AM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Thanks. I wasn't sure if it was that or "gam-BAHL."
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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 02:36 AM
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Soooooooooo much win in this thread !!!!

I didn't know about the LPF version and I have to say that that guitar is right up my street as well. This thread is just the sort of thing Jemsite was started for all those years ago
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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 02:41 AM
 
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelIV View Post
Corey, you don't by chance have a gallery of your guitars do you?
This is my 540 collection from 3 years ago in the S thread,a couple
have been sold and replaced by others.
I will update my pics when my collection has settled.
http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f18/th...-67243-51.html
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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 02:54 AM
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Re: Frank Gambale Pre-FGM series

Quote:
Originally Posted by jono View Post
Soooooooooo much win in this thread !!!!

I didn't know about the LPF version and I have to say that that guitar is right up my street as well. This thread is just the sort of thing Jemsite was started for all those years ago
I didn't know about them either. I learn something every day, still.

Corey, what exactly is LPF, FG specs but not an FG model?
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