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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As the title says, I’m looking into my next purchase and want either an S-series guitar or an RG550.

what I like about the RG550 is the look (DY), the bridge, and the fact that it’s a classic and I kinda like the idea of having such an iconic guitar.

what I like about the S-series is the small body mostly. I’m not 100% sure on which model to get, but in all likely hoof it would be one with a term and HSH configuration.

In either case, I’d probably replace the pickups so no need to factor those in the equation.

I currently have an RG752 Prestige, an RGA42HP (with new pickups, locking tuners and a PLEK job).
Feel free to give me your personal opinions on the S-series. Why are they less popular that the RGs? Does the thinness of them affect the tone at all?
Thanks!
Edit:
If I went RG550, I would get a new one (pre order and wait forever lol). If I go S-series, depends, there are a lot of discontinued models that I love, and a couple new ones I like. Prestige only though.
 

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From a sound and playability perspective, I do not really hear anything different (it'll be the pickups that affect the sound most of all). The necks are similar or possibly the same depending on the model.

From a purely aesthetic perspective, I say go for the S! They are less common. You can find an RG Prestige or RG550 easily online but S Prestiges are less common if you are looking for a specific model or finish.
 

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I have had both. The RG body on my 550 felt way more comfortable for me. It just fit me better. And it has a real Edge trem, and the pickups sounded great to me, so I didn’t change them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
From a purely aesthetic perspective, I say go for the S! They are less common. You can find an RG Prestige or RG550 easily online but S Prestiges are less common if you are looking for a specific model or finish.
yeah, that’s part of the appeal, slightly less common, and something about the thin body I find really cool. It’s quite different from what I already have. They are hard to find though.There are several models I like, but finding them used is tough. This is probably the kind of guitar that I need to take my time, watching reverb and local used markets until I find the perfect one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I have had both. The RG body on my 550 felt way more comfortable for me. It just fit me better. And it has a real Edge trem, and the pickups sounded great to me, so I didn’t change them.
Yeah, I've played an original RG550 and it was pretty good. I know on paper it's the winner (value/$). I wonder if I would still always want an S eventually though. I'm also a bit on the fence about the thinness of the RG neck at 17-19. It sucks you can’t walk into a store and play them these days, it would makes these kinds of decisions easier. The local stores have basically zero stock of any Ibanez guitars.
 

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I bought an S today. Just a cheaper hardtail but with dimarzio pickups it plays and sounds incredible. I love that they weigh nothing. I have been upgrading it and playing it all day. I went to pickup my slash LP and almost threw my back out. Lol forgot how heavy it is after the S.
The 550 is cool. I have a 565 and its a kickass guitar. But for some reason I like having an S around.
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I have a natural finish mahogany S520, an HSH that was my first guitar in 1992 ... and it's still great ... now has the DiMarzio set the Prestige line use though. I also have a recent 550 Genesis which is fun.
For playability, I would get an S over an RG ... really practical and versatile instruments.
 

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The S is certainly going to be lighter and the body is indeed a bit smaller than an RG. If you're going used, you can find late 80s and 90s models (S540) which have HSS and HSH pups, Edge or Lo Pro in the $500-1000 range. The newer ones (since 2003) tend to have the Zero trems.

Note also that the older Ss have 22 frets vs. 24 of the RG - one of the key differences between them. Both tend to have Wizard necks and big frets, so the feel there will be similar.

Why the S is less popular? Mmm, maybe since back in the day fewer really high profile players used them. One of the main guys was Gambale (his sig Ss are pretty cool), but not so mainstream. The main people who use them these days are Nita Strauss and Kiko from Megadeth (his has a thicker (alder) body, like SA, and rounder neck).

I think they were originally designed to be a bit more classic/all-rounders (a mahogany guitar without the mahogany weight), whereas the RG was promoted as the hard rock/metal axe (which can also do it all, of course, if you want it to).
 

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I would suggest an S model as well. I've never had an RG550, but had an RG520QS which has the same body shape. I play my old 540S LTD (HSH) more than any other guitar... Super comfortable, great sustain, tuning stability, old stock pickups sound great, and just feels great to play. Keep in mind that if you get a decent deal on a quality S model, you'll always be able to get your money back out of it if you decide you don't like it. I can't speak for the newer ones, but they sure make some great looking ones these days!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Note also that the older Ss have 22 frets vs. 24 of the RG - one of the key differences between them. Both tend to have Wizard necks and big frets, so the feel there will be similar.

I think they were originally designed to be a bit more classic/all-rounders (a mahogany guitar without the mahogany weight)…
I definitely want 24 frets. I like that aspect of the S, more of a classic look and all-rounder, even though I know you can play any genre on either one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You all have me even more pumped on getting an S now. There’s a real thrill in the hunt for a solid used guitar. I was looking for a 7 string for a good while when I finally stumbled on the one I got. I just wasn’t into the current year offering. I’m hoping for a similar experience with the S.

One thing I’m torn about, is I do prefer the slightly thicker Wizard/Wizard III necks. The S premium have the Wizard necks, but of course I would lose out on the Prestige quality.
 

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There's a pair of black 540 LTDs on Squeebay atm, a 1989 and 1995 :unsure:. The 1989 looks barely used, no neck pocket or nut cracks, IBZ USA pups, Edge. The 90s one has a Lo Pro, aanj and Quantum pups. Both are in the US, so don't know how much of an issue it would be shipping them to Canada.
 

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Not necessarily. I owned both a 90's S in Desert Yellow and RG7 and they were nearly identical weight. The S was much smaller but dense. Yet I played another S from the same year and it was very light. Wood varies a lot it seems.

Go for the S!
Yes, wood varies a LOT. Not a good idea to make weight assumptions based on wood types or body shapes.
 
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