Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts - Jemsite
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

Hey all, this is my 2nd attempt at posting as my first went into the bit bucket somewhere. I have a 1984 Ibanez Roadstar III RS440 model. It's Deep Purple in color. I've had it about 7 or 8 years now and haven't really played it because the pickups were noisy and scratchy and all around not working right. I decided this is my new project for 2008. I want to replace the pickups and all of the wiring. I have a shop nearby that will do the work for me, I just need to figure out what I want.

I have been spending a lot of time listening to samples of various pickups. I have no idea what was actually installed in the Roadstar originally. I was thinking of doing a Dimarzio Fred humbucker on the bridge and then try the Dimarzio Area 67 in the mid and on the neck. I love Satch, Vai, etc but am an acoustic player by heart. It's time to start branching out a bit so I want to build this guitar as versatile as possible. I want to have the single coils sounding clean and crisp, sort of like a strat. I love the sounds I've heard from the Fred so I am pretty sure that is the right choice for me. Just wondering about any thoughts you guys have about that setup or any experiences.

I debated sanding/refinishing the body and the neck along with this project. You can see from the pics below that is has taken a beating over the years but overall it only has really minor dings in it, no cracks or anything. I haven't done a lot of research on refinishing the body but I assume it's a lot of work. Can you gys give me the basics on what that entails? If you have a shop do it, what is the ballpark price they charge for painting?

Here are some pics of the axe:











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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

I have an 85 exact same color. I sanded the neck down and put a light coat of tung oil on it. (I hate painted necks.)

Great guitar. I liked the stock pups but replaced them with an EMG 81 and 2 SA single coils. Didn't dig it at all so I sold all 3. I put the stock one's back in but haven't had a chance to wire them again.

I'd be curious to hear your findings when you do decide on a set to put in there.

I originally took the paint off the body with some paint remover. Just took a putty knife and carefully removed the bubbling paint. Had a friend at a wood shop fine sand the body and neck for me. Not hard to do but it can be tedious to complete

That was 15 years ago and I never finished it so I actually ended up buying another purple body of e-bay and put it back together again.

Last edited by finstah; 03-04-2008 at 02:36 PM.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

hi nice guitar. what is the overall tone of the guitar? is it bright sounding at all? I have a proline with the same bridge and it makes the guitar bright sounding even though the body is basswood. If the guitar does have a bright tone then I would pass on the FRED and go with something like Paf Pro.
I would suggest 250K pots also becuase they work best for single coils but still sound fine with a humbucker. A fred + 2 single coils and 250k pots would sound good.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

thanks for the replies guys. I can't really say what the tone of it is because it's been so long since I've heard it. The Pot switch somehow malfunctioned so I haven't had it plugged in for a few years. That's why I sort of want to start fresh with all brand new wiring and new pickups. If I had to take a guess I think it did sound fairly bright. What is the difference with a PAF Pro? I will go listen to them in the meantime. I don't even know what the body is made of, I know the fingrboard is rosewood. The guy at the shop said the body could actually not be a solid piece of wood, it could have been pieced together. He couldn't see any seams but he said Ibanez did that in the early 80's.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

Put an Edge Pro on that thing just to be different

Jimmy
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

i actually like that guitar. my first electric was a roadstar. i would advise against the 250k pots if you have a humbucker. they zap ALOT of high end out of humbuckers. if i had to guess, i bet that it already has 250k's in it. as far as a pickup swap, would definitely like to see those 67's in it. haven't heard them myself, but have heard others in the virtual vintage line and totally dig them. as far as a humbucker, i would go for the norton or the air norton if you'd like the lower output to match the singles better. i personally like mid/high output hums with my neck and mid singles. this is because neck and mid(neck moreso) have alot more output than the bridge, respectively. replace one of the pots with a push/pull and you got yourself a workhorse. if you have 500k pots, it will will have a brighter, snappier, bell like strat tone. in all of my strats i replace all of the pots from 250k to 500k just to get a bit more punch out them. the neck pickups just come alive with 500k, as do the in between clean tones just sparkle.


rich
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by jb4674 View Post
Put an Edge Pro on that thing just to be different

Jimmy
haha, talk about alot of work. you'd have to route that guy out quite a bit. i think the best thing to do to that guy is block it. ibanez themselves have said that the prorockers are crappy trems, not to mention the horrid locking nut systems. there was an entire section in ibanez the untold story about that trem and its transition to the edge.


rich
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 03:29 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruinah View Post
thanks for the replies guys. I can't really say what the tone of it is because it's been so long since I've heard it. The Pot switch somehow malfunctioned so I haven't had it plugged in for a few years. That's why I sort of want to start fresh with all brand new wiring and new pickups. If I had to take a guess I think it did sound fairly bright. What is the difference with a PAF Pro? I will go listen to them in the meantime. I don't even know what the body is made of, I know the fingrboard is rosewood. The guy at the shop said the body could actually not be a solid piece of wood, it could have been pieced together. He couldn't see any seams but he said Ibanez did that in the early 80's.
The Paf Pro will still have good harmonics and be less bright sounding with about the same output/power. But if the guitar doesnt sound overly bright i'd just go with the FRED.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by rty13ibz98 View Post
haha, talk about alot of work. you'd have to route that guy out quite a bit. i think the best thing to do to that guy is block it. ibanez themselves have said that the prorockers are crappy trems, not to mention the horrid locking nut systems. there was an entire section in ibanez the untold story about that trem and its transition to the edge.


rich
Rich,

I thought the ProRockr was a non-recessed trem? I think the EP would retrofit in there (by just looking at the RS in the pics).

Jimmy
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by rty13ibz98 View Post
haha, talk about alot of work. you'd have to route that guy out quite a bit. i think the best thing to do to that guy is block it. ibanez themselves have said that the prorockers are crappy trems, not to mention the horrid locking nut systems. there was an entire section in ibanez the untold story about that trem and its transition to the edge.


rich
I am a little confused, what Trem do I have in this one right now?
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 04:29 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

yeah, the EP would need to be recessed, right? the prorocker is flush mounted. so...if i had to approximate, it would'nt be a drop in. now, the original edge may, if the trem posts line up, but the problem may lie in the distance of posts for intonation.

rich
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 04:29 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruinah View Post
I am a little confused, what Trem do I have in this one right now?
the prorocker.

rich
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

My first "real" guitar was also an Ibanez Roadstar II. I thought it was an RS440 as well, but that's not what you have. Mine had HSS as well, but with covered pups and slanted single coils, and it had an edge. What I would give to have that back...

The only customizations I would do on that, if at all would be a new "modern" pickguard and indeed an Edge or Edge Pro trem installation. I'd keep the paint job.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 05:44 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

I think you're in for some surgery to go to an Edge in that. A friend of mine - Jemsiter Frank Falbo - did a ProRocker to Edge convert on one of his Roadstars and he said he'd never do it again, and he's done some pretty cool things for me in terms of routing guitar bodies. I saw it while he was doing it, although I can't really recall all of what was involved, but I know it was a pretty big job.

Definitely keep the paint job on the body, that's a great color, but I'd also be in favor of losing the paint on the back of the neck, much nicer feel. Also, there are some guys on evilbay that sell replacement pickguards for Roadstars and I'd definitely do that even if you're not changing the pickups - I HATE that pickup ring on top of the pickguard thing they used to do, but that's just me.

And no matter what you do, post pics when complete!

Last edited by gpenguins; 03-04-2008 at 05:45 PM. Reason: can't spell
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-04-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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Re: Ibanez RS440 upgrades and thoughts

oh, yeah...keep the paint, it's just mad cool, you don't see alot of painted necks anymore.


rich
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air norton , clean tone , edge pro trem , frank falbo , ibanez roadstar , locking nut , neck pickup , neck pickups , neck position , paf pro , pickup ring , recessed trem , strat tone , tung oil

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