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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I was hoping to get some more information on this guitar I recently picked up. Apparently it’s a 1988 540S but all the examples I see of those are slightly different, like the pickup configuration, I hardly see any that are HSH. It plays great, sounds killer but I’d like to know more about it.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It does not. Same style neckplate but it has “Made in Japan” under the serial number.
 

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If it had a Bensalem plate H&S would do alot of customizing during that period and you could have a single added, or an extra switch, etc. I'm sure one of the experts in these will come along, but back then you'll find alot of stuff that isn't in catalogs, or was only available in Japan, or some distributor ordered a special run, etc. Not everything fits neatly into a box, sometimes it's outside.
 

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Here ya go! Its not in any catalogs, but its not super uncommon either. You ARE missing your beehive knobs though, and thats sad! lol



and, despite Ibanez being super brilliant and not featuring in their catalog as a model... heres Frank Gambale featured in the 1988 catalog playing that exact model.... that apparently doesnt exist haha

 

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Get yer Gambale on!

Looks like a summer NAMM release (maybe EU only?). Rich is right though, in 1987-88 there's plenty of kooky stuff out there which never featured in a catalogue or pamphlet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thank you for the responses and the information. Interesting to learn about the slight differences and how they weren’t all cataloged. I’m very glad I picked it up for a good price, I think it was worth it. Now to try to track down some of those beehive knobs lmao, those are awesome.
 

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Eh, good luck finding the original style knobs. You can actually get a rubber version without the rings these days, it's called a Tek Grip 4KB1JH3R. Just get some rubber rings for the grooves to complete the look.

Here's an old thread where someone was asking about the same model S: https://www.jemsite.com/forums/f18/help-dating-540s-129885.html. Seems likely then that certain European dealers ordered batches of guitars with specs that deviated a bit from official catalogues. It's like having a Wildwood spec Gibson or a GC special run of something.
 

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Yeah the beehive knobs are sweet. Closest you can find new these days are probably the Hipshot O Ring Knobs, but they don't have the cool taper to them.
 

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Ah, that's too bad about the rubber ones, thanks for clearing it up, Rich. I guess the only option is finding those used as well.

Maybe Ibanez should reissue them as a Genesis range part :lol:.
 

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I owned the exact same model. It's a 540S Saber, MIJ. I made a few mods: Upgraded the pups to PAF PROs out of a Jem 77FP. Rewired the switches to be on/off only. So in effect, each was a kill switch, so I could turn the guitar off or have any pup config.

It had the thinnest neck of any guitar I've ever played. I think the body was mahogany, because it weighed more than it should have, given its size and thin profile.

It was the most 'alive' guitar out of all my mates' guitars, not just looks, but after the PUP change, it was so responsive. You couldn't touch it without the amp screaming at you - fun! The colour was described as lime green, but I don't actually know. In person, I'd describe it as fluorescent yellow, it's THAT vibrant. Under stage lights it would blind people. lol

Great guitar. It's funny, my mates used to laugh at it, but now all these things are coming back into fashion. Should have kept it maybe...
 

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I should add that the smoked chrome plating on all the hardware suffered enormously from tarnishing and corrosion. Mine originally had the beehive knobs but they were so corroded from handling I got rid of them. You can see the issue on the bridge saddles in my photo. I always dreamt about replacing the hardware but it would have cost more than the guitar so I never did.
 

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Later models of the Saber, including the newer S/Jiva models are much lighter than this guitar. There was a small paint chip in mine on the back and wood underneath was a darker, reddish colour, hence why I think the original was made of mahogany.

I researched this quite a lot back in the day and the three toggle version did not seem to be associated with any particular artist, as far as I could tell. Frank Gambale's model had a 5-way blade switch, not the three toggle switches.
 

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So... in 88 and 89, the 3 toggle ones are USA ONLY models, europe and japan got the blade switches. Same model though. Not sure why the difference but thats the reason

Later models of the Saber, including the newer S/Jiva models are much lighter than this guitar. There was a small paint chip in mine on the back and wood underneath was a darker, reddish colour, hence why I think the original was made of mahogany.

I researched this quite a lot back in the day and the three toggle version did not seem to be associated with any particular artist, as far as I could tell. Frank Gambale's model had a 5-way blade switch, not the three toggle switches.
all sabers, unless SPECIFICALLY mentioned otherwise (theres some ash ones for example), are always made of mahogany; even the cheaper non japan models.
 

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So... in 88 and 89, the 3 toggle ones are USA ONLY models, europe and japan got the blade switches. Same model though. Not sure why the difference but thats the reason

all sabers, unless SPECIFICALLY mentioned otherwise (theres some ash ones for example), are always made of mahogany; even the cheaper non japan models.
Interesting. Mine with 3 toggles was located in Australia. Maybe an import?

Re saber woods, I remember comparing the 3-toggle version to a bladed version and there was probably a 20-25% weight difference. Very significant. It weighed more than my RG which was much thicker and had an extra string!
 
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