Re: What new Ibanez is most like a 1987 RG550?
So..I know this thread is old but I'm back to say that I do in fact have an RG655 and it is definitively the most like an RG550, barring the Genesis Collection of course. Now, I know that there's only a 2mm difference in the width of the neck at the heel but I can honestly and consciously tell you that there is a more than subtle difference in how it affects the way you hold your hand due to the string spacing. Even looking at it you can tell. 2mm is by all accounts, not a lot, but say for example the difference in feel of a neck with a 19mm thickness at the 1st fret opposed to a 17mm thickness at the 1st. It's pretty much like night and day, neither being better than one another in an absolute sense because of the different applications of both but just being different. The body and weight distribution feels the same, but the feel of the back of the neck is radically different. the back of the RG655's neck a very satiny finish. It almost feels dry but not sticky or clingy whereas the back of the RG550's feels more glossy but is still not grabby on your thumb or palm.
The Edge bridge is still the same but the way it's posted feels different but that's probably just a peculiarity of that particular guitar from production, I wish I could explain it and it's not a bad thing at all. Nonetheless the stability of it is just as good and it also still has the locking stud which is also terrific. The feel of the rosewood fretboard seems dense and dark like the RG550R, which is the one I have, the black one. The rosewood on it is very dark and seems to be thick grained which is nice because it feels very organic under the fingers and makes bending and vibrato feel very smooth and easy. I know that the RG550m maple board is the more popular on and I did have one before, an '87 in Roadflare and by then the finish on the fretboard had worn off so it was also nice and grainy feeling.
I had an RG770 Reissue that's now gone and I currently still have an RG3550mz and I can attest to the feeling that a maple fretboard can feel a little stiff at times and it took me forever, and I mean forever, to finally get it set up to the point where it feels like it's at the sweet spot with the neck relief and action. It still feels good but it does feel very different and I thought it was maybe in my head because I was on the verge of selling the 3550m but I stuck it out and realized that, it feels different because it's more dense and needs a very particular setup to have a specific characteristic instead of a One Size Fits All approach to setting up.
For example, I had the relief at .25mm at the 9th fret. Slightly less, say at .23mm made the rigidity feel more pronounced and at .20mm it was like an iron rod. However, at .3-5mm measured at the 8th with the 1st capoed and body joint (17th) held down made the action feel like it ran high enough for clearance for bending and chords but the stiffness of the strings made the bending difficult, even unenjoyable. I dicked around with it until I found the right setup. I combined instructions from Rich's Ibanez rules site with Ibanez's standard setup specs and very minutely tweaked them while playing and testing the guitar itself. Very time consuming but worth it as now I have the specs written down and know what to look for as far as which way I need to adjust to make it feel just right. The RG655 is not nearly as finicky as that and takes to a setup very well. It's cooperative you might say haha.
Of course the all access joint is different, the pickups, etc, oh and the headstock. Absent is the classic Ibanez checkmark and it has the Prestige logo. Personally I'm more partial to the checkmark because it's just cool and I like it but that's me. I wondered if the Edge bridge itself was a tad wider but I don't think it would make sense to manufacture it that way and it even feels silly to bring it up but the thought did cross my mind. So yeah, as a pickup and go axe like the 550 still is, it's a very easy choice because it's just one of those guitars that feels like it's just ready to play and i like that because I am not one of those people that has a lot of time for high maintenance anything, I almost maxed out on that 3550 and was gonna put it up here or on Craigslist and the only reason I didn't was because I regretted getting rid of my '87 500 and wanted something with a maple neck and that's the only one. Plus it's yellow lol.
I really didn't get attached to the 770 Reissue. The 655 is definitely a keeper tho. So weird, when I got it and picked it up I don't know what I was expecting and I guess a small part of me was just maybe expecting...I don't know, like more, or for something to just jump out at me. But the truth is the more time you spend with it and the deeper you dig, that's when it's character comes out and you can see how special it is. I got a Candy Apple Red one that is a factory 2nd, has a resealed finish chip on it. I guess maybe the reason I was skeptical or apprehensive was because I don't have experience with 2nds but if it's anything like buying refurbished electronics, in a lot of cases you're better off buying those than new because it had a 2nd set of hands and eyes on it and the difference is maybe a mandatory sticker on it that says I'm Not New lol and a few extra dollars in your pocket. Well, I lucked out in that regard. I Googled a comparison for the 655 to the 550 and this thread was one of the search results so I got inspired to write an updated correspondence. Thanks guys. Later!
Last edited by joshlc2003; 04-26-2015 at 10:55 PM.