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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question for fellow Ibanez fanatics:

I recently acquired a yellow 1987 RG550 at a fantastic price. It came equipped with Dragonfire Hexbucker Pickups. I yanked them and threw in a DiMarzio ToneZone in the neck, HS-3 in the middle, and Steve’s Special in the bridge. I kid you not, when I say it’s the best-sounding guitar I’ve ever played (and I’ve played a lot). It’s now my main guitar.

So like any financially irresponsible guitarist, I’ve decided I need a backup and now I’m on the hunt for another RG550.

My question is, how do you the new Genesis RG550 (2018-2022) actually stack up to these classics? I ask because I’ve noticed there are some used Genesis models out there running for cheaper than a golden era 550. I also wouldn’t mind having something a bit more easily replaceable if something happens while I’m out gigging with it. I’d plan to throw in the same DiMarzios

Any insight is much appreciated!
 

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Congrats on the new axe. There are a few differences between the originals and the Genesis, which, for some, may define the decision they make.

For the first couple of years, the 550 had a flatsawn neck with a scarfed on headstock. The nut was also bolted through the neck, couple that with the trussrod cavity and that is why so many of them have cracks around the mounting bolts (not much wood around there). The neck pocket is also Strat like, with the last couple of frets being a fingerboard extension.

The Genesis has a 5pc neck, top mounted nut and volute; and the neck goes all the way to the neck pu (no fingerboard extension. It also comes with the V7/8 humbuckers, which the originals got in 1993. Some people have also reported slight differences in neck shape/size compared to originals.

That's about it. The rest is pretty much the same. The first incarnation of the Genesis was as the 20th anniversary RG back in 2007. They were limited and came with hard cases in the same colour as the particular guitar, V1/2 humbuckers and KTS titanium reinforcement rods in the neck. Otherwise the same as the current production Genesis.

A lot of the originals can be pretty overpriced nowadays considering the condition, seen quite a few that looked worse for wear and people asking 1k or more (nostalgia/mojo factored in, I suspect). The usual issues to look for when buying used is the aforementioned neck cracks, condition of the frets, trem and whether the inserts in the body have loosened. The Genesis in the current market is arguably a better buy because you won't have the wear and tear, and the neck is built stronger, plus all the desirable 550 stuff - colours, Edge, maple board. Of course, if you can get an oldie in good nick (they are out there) without busting the bank, why not.

A lot of people complain that it doesn't come with a case, but if it did, you'd be looking at closer to 1.5k probably. Absence keeps the price down, and the guitar is technically not a Prestige, hence the lack of case. Though, arguably, a decently padded gig bag wouldn't have been a bad idea. When the 550 originally came out, the street price was probably somewhere around 1.1-1.2k, so the fact that you can get a new one for a similar price is pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Congrats on the new axe. There are a few differences between the originals and the Genesis, which, for some, may define the decision they make.

For the first couple of years, the 550 had a flatsawn neck with a scarfed on headstock. The nut was also bolted through the neck, couple that with the trussrod cavity and that is why so many of them have cracks around the mounting bolts (not much wood around there). The neck pocket is also Strat like, with the last couple of frets being a fingerboard extension.

The Genesis has a 5pc neck, top mounted nut and volute; and the neck goes all the way to the neck pu (no fingerboard extension. It also comes with the V7/8 humbuckers, which the originals got in 1993. Some people have also reported slight differences in neck shape/size compared to originals.

That's about it. The rest is pretty much the same. The first incarnation of the Genesis was as the 20th anniversary RG back in 2007. They were limited and came with hard cases in the same colour as the particular guitar, V1/2 humbuckers and KTS titanium reinforcement rods in the neck. Otherwise the same as the current production Genesis.

A lot of the originals can be pretty overpriced nowadays considering the condition, seen quite a few that looked worse for wear and people asking 1k or more (nostalgia/mojo factored in, I suspect). The usual issues to look for when buying used is the aforementioned neck cracks, condition of the frets, trem and whether the inserts in the body have loosened. The Genesis in the current market is arguably a better buy because you won't have the wear and tear, and the neck is built stronger, plus all the desirable 550 stuff - colours, Edge, maple board. Of course, if you can get an oldie in good nick (they are out there) without busting the bank, why not.

A lot of people complain that it doesn't come with a case, but if it did, you'd be looking at closer to 1.5k probably. Absence keeps the price down, and the guitar is technically not a Prestige, hence the lack of case. Though, arguably, a decently padded gig bag wouldn't have been a bad idea. When the 550 originally came out, the street price was probably somewhere around 1.1-1.2k, so the fact that you can get a new one for a similar price is pretty good.
Thanks so much! This is very thorough and helpful! I appreciate you taking the time.
 

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Also, some of the late 90s RGs can be still ok priced (colours are a bit blander/darker in this period though :D). These have aanj and tend to have 3pc necks, either all maple or with a middle bubinga stripe. Some models can be cheaper as they're less popular – like the 570, the only difference from a 550 is that it's rear routed, no pickguard, and rosewood board.

Well, mojo is what drives the market and prices a lot of the time 🤷‍♀️.
 
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