Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's - Jemsite
All Other Guitars (including Prestige) Discussion about other Ibanez Guitars not covered in the above topics. Includes J-Custom, USA-Custom, Prestige subforum.

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  • 1 Post By Frankhenrylee
  • 1 Post By Frankhenrylee
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 188
Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

Sup folks, figured I'd stir the proverbial tonewood latrine and see if there are any RG5000 owners out there.


I have a theory that I can't really prove about finishes and it goes like this(It's related to the RG5000's)

Let's just say you have two guitars that are 100% clones except for the finish(I know that's not possible, this isn't about that, its about the finishes.)

My theory(Or question? I don't know, that's why I'm asking for opinions) goes that the glossy, harder finish will have a brighter, richer tone, with a more bell like ring to it and the typically softer flat finished guitar will have a darker tone maybe slightly reminiscent of a semi-hollow body. Think of the hard glossy finish as creating a bit of a shell that adds it's own type of resonance.

Tones are hard to describe, but this is my experience with some guitars I own.

I have an RG6UCS that I'm thinking of selling for one one of the RG5000's because I'm chasing the tone I get with my JS1600. I guessing mahogany and a nice hard glossy finish are at least a couple of the ingredients of the JS1600 tone. Fixed bridge, tilt joint, and just having a nice sounding piece of mahogany are the rest, but as an Ibanez man an RG must be in the stable.

Does anyone have anything to add about the finish debate or just RG5000 experience they want to pass on?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 12:05 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Denver, CO
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Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

Frozen Ocean is a beautiful color/finish/way to make a guitar look!
As for your theory, if you had two identical guitars and one had a stone marble finish and the other had a thick rug finish, I think they would not sound the same, but I do not really know. Working backwards from the extremes can be helpful.

Onomatopoeias are words that are pronounced similar to the sound they are meant to describe. For example, “boom” and “thump.” So, you are right, sound is extremely hard to describe.

If you want a 5000 Series, playing them is the best way to find the guitar you want. Focusing on how the finish might affect the tone is probably not the next optimal alternative to making a decision.

Good questions though.
Formerly Given To Fly is offline  
post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 01:38 AM
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Bristol UK
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I don't know,
I'm pretty sure tonewood has minimal impact and finish even less impact on an amplified electric.

Scale length, pick up type, bridge type do.

But I also know finish type has a big impact on how the guitar feels and that impacts how i feel playing it and that may include my perception of tone. E.g. i used to have a beautiful looking MIJ fender Tele 52 reissue. But it had that thick glossy varnish finish fender puts on some maple necks.

I couldn't play it, just didn't get on with it, couldn't ever get it to feel right on my hand even though it looked awesome. Texas special pickups should've sounded awesome. I just prefer a matt, natural neck feel.

Ended up selling it.

So i think finish really does impact if a guitar feels 'right' or not to you. But I'm not sure you can hear the difference amplified.
ibaraki_gaijin is offline  
post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 188
Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formerly Given To Fly View Post
Frozen Ocean is a beautiful color/finish/way to make a guitar look!
As for your theory, if you had two identical guitars and one had a stone marble finish and the other had a thick rug finish, I think they would not sound the same, but I do not really know. Working backwards from the extremes can be helpful.

Onomatopoeias are words that are pronounced similar to the sound they are meant to describe. For example, “boom” and “thump.” So, you are right, sound is extremely hard to describe.

If you want a 5000 Series, playing them is the best way to find the guitar you want. Focusing on how the finish might affect the tone is probably not the next optimal alternative to making a decision.

Good questions though.
Without a doubt trying before you buy is the way to go, but Prestige's are rare to see in stores. I may drive down to Dallas to go guitar shopping.
Frankhenrylee is offline  
post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 188
Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibaraki_gaijin View Post
I don't know,
I'm pretty sure tonewood has minimal impact and finish even less impact on an amplified electric.

Scale length, pick up type, bridge type do.

But I also know finish type has a big impact on how the guitar feels and that impacts how i feel playing it and that may include my perception of tone. E.g. i used to have a beautiful looking MIJ fender Tele 52 reissue. But it had that thick glossy varnish finish fender puts on some maple necks.

I couldn't play it, just didn't get on with it, couldn't ever get it to feel right on my hand even though it looked awesome. Texas special pickups should've sounded awesome. I just prefer a matt, natural neck feel.

Ended up selling it.

So i think finish really does impact if a guitar feels 'right' or not to you. But I'm not sure you can hear the difference amplified.
I feel you, I don't like glossy necks either.

You can definitely shape a tone with the amp, pedals, and pickups, but the characteristics of the guitar are always present. I have a guitar I've tried to get a good metal tone out of, but the resonance of the body keeps flavoring the sound the same way no matter the amp or pickups or pedals. That guitar is more suited to a jazzy, dark, clean tone and I've given up trying to make it something it's not. It'll do metal, but there's other guitars more suitable for the task, at least to my taste.

To me, the way a guitar sounds unplugged is a great indicator of the characteristics I'll get plugged in. My JS1600 has a fat, rich, growl to it unplugged and it shines through when I plug it in. When I pick up by the neck, it thickens up with rounded bell like plunk. I just wish it had larger frets. Supposed to be Fender sized, but man they seem smaller.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 12:14 PM
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Bristol UK
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Agree unplugged is a good indicator of plugged in performance.
Although I'm still not sure finish or even wood type matters with that as much as those other factors.

My Js1000 has really small frets too. It's been a while since i sold my tele, but I think it still feels smaller than that did too. But that's probably because I've mostly played my jumbo PGM100 since...
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 05:05 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Colorado
Posts: 267
Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

Hate to be the ass that always says this, but I really think tone is never related to the wood. Sustain, maybe, yes. I can see that for sure. But when it comes to electrics, pickups and processors dictate tone. At least that's my $.02.
Dexter Morgan is offline  
post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:46 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 902
Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibaraki_gaijin View Post
I don't know,
I'm pretty sure tonewood has minimal impact and finish even less impact on an amplified electric.

Scale length, pick up type, bridge type do.

But I also know finish type has a big impact on how the guitar feels and that impacts how i feel playing it and that may include my perception of tone. E.g. i used to have a beautiful looking MIJ fender Tele 52 reissue. But it had that thick glossy varnish finish fender puts on some maple necks.

I couldn't play it, just didn't get on with it, couldn't ever get it to feel right on my hand even though it looked awesome. Texas special pickups should've sounded awesome. I just prefer a matt, natural neck feel.

Ended up selling it.

So i think finish really does impact if a guitar feels 'right' or not to you. But I'm not sure you can hear the difference amplified.
This is a better answer than mine. It is more relevant.
When old acoustic instruments are refinished, the player hears the difference and other players familiar with that particular instrument will likely hear the difference. I was reading about a church, but unfortunately remember nothing else about it, that had it’s wood floors refinished (not replaced) and the process sealed all the tiny cracks/splits wood floors acquire over the course of a century or so. The result was the reverb decay time increased to 12 seconds from something like 2.5 seconds. So when it comes to old fragile things, wood and the finish make a difference.

An RG is not a fragile instrument, but how it feels to play is determined by subtly and nuance that may not be measurable but is clearly there. If the neck of an RG felt like it was finished with Scotch Tape, the tone and finish won’t matter much. This is before the signal goes through the whole amplification system.
Formerly Given To Fly is offline  
post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 03:03 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Croatia
Posts: 512
Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibaraki_gaijin View Post
I don't know,
I'm pretty sure tonewood has minimal impact and finish even less impact on an amplified electric.

Scale length, pick up type, bridge type do.

But I also know finish type has a big impact on how the guitar feels and that impacts how i feel playing it and that may include my perception of tone. E.g. i used to have a beautiful looking MIJ fender Tele 52 reissue. But it had that thick glossy varnish finish fender puts on some maple necks.

I couldn't play it, just didn't get on with it, couldn't ever get it to feel right on my hand even though it looked awesome. Texas special pickups should've sounded awesome. I just prefer a matt, natural neck feel.

Ended up selling it.

So i think finish really does impact if a guitar feels 'right' or not to you. But I'm not sure you can hear the difference amplified.
I have article where Paul Read Smith claiming that even thickness of bridge plating has impact in sound.
They were experimenting then with different materials for bridge with different plating materials and thickness.
Even I prefer stratocasters with maple boards to ones with rosewood because I can hear difference. Rosewood sound distant, and maple ones are sounding bigger and closer to me when I am listening. So I think that everything on guitar is contributing sound. Not just (passive) electronic.

Active pickups to my ears are making those difference smaller. Especially EMG witch always sound great.
peromucho7 is offline  
post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 03:20 AM
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Bristol UK
Posts: 159
Quote:
I have article where Paul Read Smith claiming that even thickness of bridge plating has impact in sound.
They were experimenting then with different materials for bridge with different plating materials and thickness.
Even I prefer stratocasters with maple boards to ones with rosewood because I can hear difference. Rosewood sound distant, and maple ones are sounding bigger and closer to me when I am listening. So I think that everything on guitar is contributing sound. Not just (passive) electronic.

Active pickups to my ears are making those difference smaller. Especially EMG witch always sound great.
I'm sure bridge material has an impact. As does nut and string pull/angle at the headstock. As the two places that string is anchored it probably impacts sustain etc.
But to go as far as bridge finish? Maybe, but the impact would be tiny. Doubt anyone could hear the difference between a gold and a chrome Edge...

Paul Reed Smith makes beautiful guitars. But he's also incentivised to talk up how much impact those little details make. It's how he can justify $5,000 for a production instrument. Mostly marketing I think.

As for maple vs rosewood etc. That debate will live on for years. Whatever CITES may do to try to stop it. 😉
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 12:31 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Nagoya, Japan
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Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

When i read RG5000 series, i was thinking about the old RG5000 from 92 I had (sold it because it wasnt getting played), then i realized from the finishes that you were talking about the new 5000 line. You might wanna specify a little better about what model years you're looking at because the original RG5000s were Japan only and only for 1 year, with 2 catalog and 2 off-catalog colors: Ruby Red/Lazer Blue (catalog) and some yellow and Purple neon (off-catalog).
MatiasTolkki is offline  
post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 188
Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

So to my amazement, my local GC just got an RG5120M so I went down to check it out this past weekend. Only Prestige I've ever seen there. I decided to stick with my Uppercut, but the guitar was awesome. Here's some things that stuck out to me.

Neck Profile seemed different, maybe slightly fatter in the shoulder area or just overall. I liked it better than mine.

Really like the side markers on the neck. Were very easy to see, at least double the size of the ones on my Uppercut. The black ring on the white binding really stood out.

Finish on the neck was not as smooth as my Uppercut, but maybe it just needed to playtime. Finish is somewhere between a flat and satin, but closer to flat. Finish on the Birdseye maple fretboard was so smooth and perfect it almost looked fake.

Liked the different voicings of the Fishman pickups, wish they could do three, low, mid, and high output. These seemed like high output and even higher output, but I was playing through an EVH El34 50watt head so it's hard to say about the output. The cleans were still nice, so its fairly versatile.

Finish was cool, but not what I had pictured by looking at pics online. The color seemed a bit darker and the "ice" didn't have the depth I had imagined. This finish looks like it could vary quite a bit from guitar to guitar.

The sound unplugged was snappier and slightly louder as one might expect from a maple fretboard and ash top. Had a little mahogany depth and mid range emphasis. Highs were a bit thin, but the e and b strings looked rough so couldn't get a good take on that. In comparison, the basswood on mine has a softer, smoother, even tone, but with slightly less dynamics and punch as per the typical characteristics of basswood.


I think it's a better guitar than my Uppercut. I think it does things the Uppercut won't. But, the differences are subtle and it would cost me at least $500 to switch so I decided it was a no.
Frankhenrylee is offline  
post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 12:40 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 902
Re: Tonewood, Finishes, and the RG5000's

I think you made a wise decision sticking with the Uppercut. It sounds like the 5120M would have been more of a side-grade than an upgrade with a $500 “fee” attached.
The review was appreciated!
Formerly Given To Fly is offline  
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