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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/440

I've got a 1987 RG440. I like the bridge pickup, but I have been unable to find any information on it. It is simply labelled "Vintage" in metallic lettering. From what I can tell this was only used on the RG410, RG420, RG440, and RG440P (with the "Power" body shape as part of the "Roadstar II" series). https://www.vintagejapanguitars.com.br/en/ibanez-1987-roadstar-ii-pro540-catalogue/ You can see the pickup in the catalog.

To my ears it sounds a little "scooped", but with a "tighter" bass/lower mids and less "sizzle" on the treble compared to the DiMarzio Steve's Special that I have. It seems to be pretty high-output, but not overly so. I'm looking for new bridge PU for RG560 and I kinda want something that is similar to the "Vintage" pickup used in the RG440, but I don't know what that would be.

Thanks!
 

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Dimarzio designed the "vintage" ibanez pickups and ibanez produced them. Most of those old guitars had a humbucker that was called IBZ. The 410 and the 440 had that. But they are ibanez made pickups... Not too much info about them out there.

The V1 though like...V8 I believe are called that because they are of the "vintage" family. but anywhere I've seen the old 87 to like 90 have the IBZ pickups. I did see the catalog pic and it does indeed say vintage across the pickup. I hope any little bit I said helps you out because that's the only thing I know about them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

You're right the V designations do stand for "Vintage". My RG440 say "Vintage" on the pickup just like one in the catalog. The 86 Roadstars (with Edge tremolo) do use something that is just called IBZ, but it looks totally different. The single coils are apparently something called a "Super 8". Mysterious!
 

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Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

The IBZ pickups which featured prominently on 1985-86 guitars are indeed quite different from what came later -*they have three ceramic magnets and are epoxied into the plastic cover, kinda like an EMG. In terms of timbre, in my experience, pretty hot, fat and compressed. 12k resistance. The single coils were Super 7F, also ceramic (two small rail mags on either side of the steel slugs), 4k resistance.

Regarding the specs of the 1987 era V pups, I think both the neck and bridge hb have A5 mags, 10k and 15k resistance respectively, I remember reading this somewhere. The ones used in the RG550 were the V1/2 (the block lettering on the bobbin wasn't present in 1987, bridge pu sometimes had the sticker saying 'vintage' like on yours) and I think in the RG4x of that year, the bridge pu was the same as in the 550. Someone else who might know better may chime in!

In general, since 1987 was a transitional year for various specs and models, it's difficult to account for every guitar model, as the catalogues of that year don't give the full picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

The ones used in the RG550 were the V1/2 (the block lettering on the bobbin wasn't present in 1987, bridge pu sometimes had the sticker saying 'vintage' like on yours) and I think in the RG4x of that year, the bridge pu was the same as in the 550. Someone else who might know better may chime in!

In general, since 1987 was a transitional year for various specs and models, it's difficult to account for every guitar model, as the catalogues of that year don't give the full picture.
I have more than one V2 humbucker kicking around (from 1989 560, 1991 550, and 1991 450S), so next time I take the guitar apart I should measure the DC resistance and see if they are similar. It wouldn't be conclusive, but it would be something. I had noticed that some shots of RG550s in the catalogs don't have the pickups labelled.
 

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Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

Not the conversation I was expecting to see here, my buddy and I were talking about this the other day lol.

To start the black plastic covered "IBZ" pickup is DEFINITELY its own thing; and is not comparable to anything else (design wise). Its definitely higher output than a normal V2, and I think sounds better. I opened one of mine up just now, so you can see what I mean
https://i.imgur.com/rcWnqIy.jpg

It has 3 magnets and is fully coated in epoxy resin. That thing aint goin anywhere lol. (which is a tragedy, because these plastic cases are super tacky really). It has a maxon style 3 screw height adjustment setup, and its unfortunately part of the plastic ... why they did that? No clue. Great pickup though, I personally think they are superior to the "Ibanez Vintage" In discussion, and certainly better than V2's. Cheap as hell too (probably due to the EMG esque look they have Id imagine).

The "Ibanez Vintage"... this one is interesting lol. This pickup ALSO uses the maxon style height adjustment setup; and it too is also a bit more output than the V2. This may sound silly, but ... I really want to say these are basically super 70s. Obviously, when people talk about super 70s they are usually referring to the maxon ones, but ibanez made them as well in house after some point. Since the RG440p was the "budget" version of the 540p, I dont think they were best served advertising a renowned pickup like that; but Im honestly guessing of course.

I have taken one apart, and it has a ceramic magnet. The V2 has an alnico 5. Different pole pieces too

https://i.imgur.com/rv3wFhz.png

For the sound qualities youre after and comparing to the vintage; I'd recommend you have a look at Dimarzio Transition (DP255) or Dimarzio Breed. Transitions are incredible. They have a full bottom end without being flubby, and despite not being very treble focused they are extremely articulate and dont get muddy at all. The breed is probably the most under rated pickup ever imo. Its "hot" but its not like the evo where it feels like im driving nails into my skull with its absurd high end. The super cool thing about breeds is they sound incredible split (pos 2 thing); and for some reason they pick up harmonics like no other pickup ive played on.

In terms of "quality" (sound wise that is ) I would say, IBZ > Ibanez Vintage > V2. The v2 is mad decent for a stock "cheap" pickup; the other two are just a bit better to my ears. I unfortunately have no experience or knowledge of the "super 8" pickups (that the internet has zero information on lol).

Hope this helps
 

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Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

^^ It's a pity that the IBZs are epoxied into the cover, prevents mag swaps, air mod etc. I have a couple in guitars and when I opened the back I was a bit bummed.

In the 70s, the Super 70 was made by Maxon and came with an A8; in the 80s, Ibanez was making them in-house, and I think they changed them to ceramic. I don't know how or whether these later ones are comparable to the 'Vintage' pu found on 1987 guitars.
 

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Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

^^ It's a pity that the IBZs are epoxied into the cover, prevents mag swaps, air mod etc. I have a couple in guitars and when I opened the back I was a bit bummed.

In the 70s, the Super 70 was made by Maxon and came with an A8; in the 80s, Ibanez was making them in-house, and I think they changed them to ceramic. I don't know how or whether these later ones are comparable to the 'Vintage' pu found on 1987 guitars.
If they did indeed change to ceramic with the in house move, that would corroborate a bit more with my opinion of them. Ive only played super 70s from the 80s; but I know the old maxon ones are well regarded. The in house ones arent really anything to write home about honestly.
 

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Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

Provided that coils are wound the same in the 80s ones, swapping the ceramic for an A8 might do the trick. Iirc, the typical resistance of the 70s ones was high 7k.When impossible to find an original Super 70s, I've heard people getting a Duncan '59 and putting in an A8 to get a similar vibe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

Thanks for the info! I have not taken mine apart and I don't plan to. hahaha.

How does the IBZ pickup work with the 3 magnets? If they're cheap, I'll try and grab one somewhere.
 

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Re: Does anyone have any information on "Vintage" pickup used on the 1987 RG410/420/4

I genuinely like them. They are fairly high output without being absurd. The only reason I dont have them in more guitars is because... man they arent good looking lol.
 
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