Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby... - Jemsite
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Project Overview

I've always wanted a 7-string version of a DSY Ibanez RG550... right down to the maple fretboard. It's a project I've been dragging ass on for several years now as I've slowly accumulated the parts I need.

Ben Eller's RFR 7-string project not only got me inspired, it obliterated my last 2 roadblocks: where to get a neck made, and what paint to use.

Now that those mysteries are solved, this project is once again under way... and dare I say could possibly be completed this year. I'll use this thread to document the build (which will be done primarily by Atomic Guitar Works here in Phoenix, AZ).

Design Philosophy

Now, in general, my philosophy is to stay reasonably true to the aesthetic of the early RG550's. This means sticking with some of the main trappings... such as pickguard, maple fretboard, old style knobs, etc. If I deviate too far from that philosophy, then it sorta ceases to be an "RG550" and is instead just a heavily modded Ibanez.

HOWEVER, that said, I'm still making a few "enhancements" and exceptions here and there. Obviously, this'll have an Edge Pro. It'll also have 2 humbuckers. There will also be a few other neat surprises for you, which will be revealed with this story...
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Acquiring a Body

Quite some time ago (about 4 years ago, I think), I got a steal of a deal on a 2007 RG1527 body. I snatched it off the 'bay as the platform for my RG550 project. I've always loved the older 1527's (which is why I own two, not including this one).

I don't mind the big hole where the volume knob used to be because it'll have 3-ply BWB pickguard over that area anyway:





Accumulating the Parts

The parts I've collected over the last 4 years...


Last edited by webmaestro; 08-15-2015 at 07:53 PM.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Neck: Update #1

Next item on the agenda was to get in touch with Eric Bauer--who I learned about thanks to Ben Eller's project--about making the neck.

While talking to Eric about specs, I mentioned that my '07 RG1527 necks have my all-time favorite 7-string profile. He was like "Well, if you don't mind sending one, I can make a reasonably accurate copy of it." Right on. So, the specs for the neck will be:
  • Dimensions: modeled after an '07 RG1527 neck
  • 3pc maple / bubinga (idea came from the DCM100 neck)
  • Maple fretboard
  • Standard dot inlays
  • Huge frets
  • Scallop frets 20 - 24
  • Tru Oil finish
  • Unfinished headstock (since it'll be painted Desert Sun Yellow soon)

About 3 weeks after sending him my neck, these update pics came in:





(the green dot neck on the left belongs to another customer)

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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Neck: Update #2

A couple weeks after that last batch of pics, this beauty came in...

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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Neck: Update #3

About a month went by after the previous pics. Eric got pretty busy and whatnot with his primary business (he does custom woodworking in addition to luthiery). However, it was worth the wait, because these updates came in.

The neck on the right is the RG1527 reference neck I sent him. The dots on the 12th and 24th frets are a little closer together than they should be, but it's small potatoes. I honestly don't mind.





Closeup of the scalloping...



I received these photos last weekend, with Eric letting me know he still has to do some final shaping of the headstock and heel, then finish everything off with TruOil and drill for all hardware.

This is where the project currently stands. I'll post more updates once they come in.

Last edited by webmaestro; 08-15-2015 at 07:57 PM.
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 08:11 PM
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Awesome project, looking forward to the finished product!
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 09:27 AM
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Very cool. The big hole where the volume pot goes is not a big deal. In fact, if it were me I'd go further and convert the body to a front+rear route.

Place the pickguard on there and trace around it, so you know where it's safe to remove wood. The one change I'd definitely make on Ben's project is remove the wood around the switch so that it can be mounted to the pickguard like an original RG550. If you remove some additional wood from around the knobs, you can also guard mount those, again like the original.

Also if it were my guitar I'd get the middle pickup route added...just to complete the look.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
Very cool. The big hole where the volume pot goes is not a big deal. In fact, if it were me I'd go further and convert the body to a front+rear route.

Place the pickguard on there and trace around it, so you know where it's safe to remove wood. The one change I'd definitely make on Ben's project is remove the wood around the switch so that it can be mounted to the pickguard like an original RG550. If you remove some additional wood from around the knobs, you can also guard mount those, again like the original.

Also if it were my guitar I'd get the middle pickup route added...just to complete the look.
Those are options I'm definitely considering for the pickups and switch.

I won't be adding a middle pickup though. That was one of those features I had to think long and hard about. The reason I decided not to was because that middle pup always gets in the way of my pick. Back in 1990, I bought an RG550 (it was my first 'real' guitar). I eventually removed the middle pup for that very reason. In later years, I removed the middle pup on other RG guitars I owned as well. It always looked terrible (the gaping hole), so I eventually stopped buying 3 pickup guitars and have stuck with dual humbuckers ever since.
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Decision/Opinions: Trem & Hardware Color

There's another aesthetic decision that I've really been struggling with: the trem model and hardware color. I've always loved 1) the flat-black hardware and 2) Edge or Edge Lo Pro... used in the 550's. However, this guitar obviously has a Cosmo Edge Pro 7 and corresponding hardware. Not to mention a top-mount locking nut.

That said, here are my options. What would you guys do?

1. Easy: Just stick with the Edge Pro 7 in cosmo. I already have all the parts, hardware etc., and it's what the body was routed for so it'll drop right in with no mods.

2. Hard: Install flat black Lo-Pro Edge 7. I actually have one of these, in mint condition, that I nabbed of the 'bay super cheap. However, this would require filling and re-drilling the trem stud holes, and possibly some routing of the cavity. I'm just not sure I want to put the guitar through that (though Atomic Guitars is more than capable). Additionally, flat black 48mm locking nuts are damn near impossible to find (top mount or rear mount).

3. Hardest: Install flat black Original Edge 7. In addition to all the issues listed in #2 above, I'm not sure if flat black OE 7's even exist. If they do, they'll be nearly impossible to find in decent condition.

4. Another Option: Install a non-Ibanez trem. This isn't going to happen. Blasphemy!

Last edited by webmaestro; 08-16-2015 at 06:15 PM.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 11:16 AM
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Killer project Web!! I'm really looking forward to your updates.

I think your hardware question is mostly dependent on your preference in trem feel. Your obviously used to playing an Edge-Pro. I would stick with that route unless there's some big reason you want to try the LP-7. There's NO reason you have to use locking studs with the LP-7. The factory EP studs and anchors are perfectly acceptable for the LP.

FWIW, there's a dude on 7-string that did exactly what you are. I've been envious of his guitar ever since he posted it. I'll be just as envious of yours.......... This is his guitar:

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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

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Originally Posted by RGTFanatic View Post
Killer project Web!! I'm really looking forward to your updates.

I think your hardware question is mostly dependent on your preference in trem feel. Your obviously used to playing an Edge-Pro. I would stick with that route unless there's some big reason you want to try the LP-7. There's NO reason you have to use locking studs with the LP-7. The factory EP studs and anchors are perfectly acceptable for the LP.

FWIW, there's a dude on 7-string that did exactly what you are. I've been envious of his guitar ever since he posted it. I'll be just as envious of yours.......... This is his guitar:

Yep, I've seen that project. That was also a big source of inspiration and a kick in the pants for me.

I have a couple guitars with an LP-7 and it is definitely my favorite trem out of all of them. However, finding a flat black locking nut is damn near impossible. I tried to find one many months ago with no luck.

I guess I still have the option of changing everything except the locking nut, which shouldn't be too conspicuous if it's left Cosmo.
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Comparison Photos: Edge Pro 7 vs Lo-Pro Edge 7

Okay, so I got both trems out and did some side-by-side comparisons to get an idea of just how different they are.

Best I can tell, the trem stud spacing SEEMS to be the same, but it's hard to tell for sure. If it's not, then it's only different by a very small amount.

First thing I did was a bunch of side-by-side comparisons:



Finally, I dropped the LP7 into the cavity with the studs installed. It's hard to tell from this pic, but the trem is actually sitting on TOP of the cavity. It's so tight, it wouldn't even go down into the cavity--not with the trem studs installed. This gives me an idea of how extensive the routing will need to be, if I decide to go this direction:

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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 07:39 PM
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

If you want to put in the Lo Pro 7, there is no need to change the studs, only have the back of the trem cavity routed slightly for clearance.

If you want black hardware and a Lo Pro 7, your best bet is to use an RG7620 for a donor. You'll get all the black hardware you need and you can just sell off the parts you don't need. It will honestly make a better donor guitar and you'll probably come close to breaking even from where you're at.

If Eric hasn't already drilled anything on the neck yet, tell him to stop and then later have him drill for the traditional nut once you get the 7620 donor. Guitar Center has a used one in California for $500.
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
If you want black hardware and a Lo Pro 7, your best bet is to use an RG7620 for a donor. You'll get all the black hardware you need and you can just sell off the parts you don't need. It will honestly make a better donor guitar and you'll probably come close to breaking even from where you're at.

If Eric hasn't already drilled anything on the neck yet, tell him to stop and then later have him drill for the traditional nut once you get the 7620 donor. Guitar Center has a used one in California for $500.
ACTUALLY, what about this idea: I just use black pressure pads. Rich seems to have black pressure pads in stock, an only a close in-person inspection by an enthusiast (which I don't know very many of) would reveal that the nut underneath is Cosmo.

I'm not keen on the idea of buying a 7620, especially one in playable condition, and taking just the nut. Theres a part of me that hates to do that to a great guitar that's completely intact.

I also like the idea of future-proofing the nut a bit. I have a couple mint top-mount nuts in my boneyard, so years down the road I can replace the nut if necessary.
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 10:40 AM
 
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Re: Project: If an Ibanez DSY RG550 & RG1527 Had a Baby...

I'm talking about using the body, nut and tuners. That way you can use your Lo Pro 7 without any modification. Sell off the trem and neck as well as all your cosmo parts.
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