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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know of some sort of shortlist of Ibanez guitars, that have locking trems which are "good" and not "avoid" quality (I understand the avoidables to be the edge 3 and the edge 2) and have a natural wood finish to them, and are $800-1000 used, or less?

I'm new, Hi there, and I'm here because the Canadian Guitar forum doesn't have a lot of locking trem players. Someone directed me here because I have to replace my PRS SE custom 24, awesome guitar but, despite good posture and a thick padded aircell strap, shoulder pain after 15 minutes of stand-up playing.

Looking for a comparable guitar in terms of quality, with a natural wood finish.

I was told to seek out 90s S series Ibanez and look at deals on Prestige models over Kijiji. I have those on search alert, and they don't seem to be turning up much in the way of gear that has natural finishes. I'm open to suggestions, thanks in advance, and if I end up actually buying an Ibanez then I expect to be here more often. It would be the #2 guitar for me for now, but I'm a Van Halen fan.
 

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Generally speaking, if it has an Edge or Lo Pro youre good to go.

As far as a "short list" with features you want, this is pretty simple, check out 540S and RG570, the 540S has a natural oil finish one and a stained oil finish one; some have maple fretboards, others have rosewood. Personally, I think the maple looks out of place on these. The 570 has a number of various models, and frankly difficult to just give you model specific examples; but one example for sure would be RG570MH. I quite like those. There are also some japanese and european specific models, but they are more or less just variants of the rg570. (i.e. rg580, rg670, etc). One model to be careful of is the s470. Some are korean made with lower quality bits (still a decent guitar), and some are MIJ with proper edge trem and the lot. Id ask if youre not sure.

Good news though, if you shop smart, you can get BOTH of those for your "800-1000$" budget lol.
 

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... the 540S has a natural oil finish one and a stained oil finish one; some have maple fretboards, others have rosewood.
Yes, the early 90s 540S in OL (oiled finish), or also called NOL (natural oil finish), comes to mind. Here's an old Reverb listing for a 1993 one:

https://reverb.com/item/1679917-1993-ibanez-s540-ol-oil-finish

Of course, they had Wizard necks which will feel very different than your PRS, but I like 'em!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Generally speaking, if it has an Edge or Lo Pro youre good to go.

As far as a "short list" with features you want, this is pretty simple, check out 540S and RG570, the 540S has a natural oil finish one and a stained oil finish one; some have maple fretboards, others have rosewood. Personally, I think the maple looks out of place on these. The 570 has a number of various models, and frankly difficult to just give you model specific examples; but one example for sure would be RG570MH. I quite like those. There are also some japanese and european specific models, but they are more or less just variants of the rg570. (i.e. rg580, rg670, etc). One model to be careful of is the s470. Some are korean made with lower quality bits (still a decent guitar), and some are MIJ with proper edge trem and the lot. Id ask if youre not sure.

Good news though, if you shop smart, you can get BOTH of those for your "800-1000$" budget lol.
I have since widened my search to include guitars with rosewood or ebony fretboards as well as maple, so some other brands have been included since I believe Jackson made an okoume DK3 which weighed in at 7.3 pounds or so. I did recently purchase a 2019 Ibanez S670 in sapphire blue burst brand new out of a store because I thought it was too good a deal at 500 CAD all-in , and I like the guitar and the weight. It's taken some getting used to with not hitting the pickups with my guitar pick and being more judicious to avoid hitting the volume knob on strumming, but so far so great.

As I am located in Toronto, pickings have been unusually slim lately online regarding buying Floyd rose guitars at the prices you mentioned, though I do agree that these are the "acceptable" prices for them and I will remain patient to find them. I don't mind the sapphire blue and it looks great when I do videos of myself playing, but I'm still stuck on natural oil finish.

... the 540S has a natural oil finish one and a stained oil finish one; some have maple fretboards, others have rosewood.
Yes, the early 90s 540S in OL (oiled finish), or also called NOL (natural oil finish), comes to mind. Here's an old Reverb listing for a 1993 one:

https://reverb.com/item/1679917-1993-ibanez-s540-ol-oil-finish

Of course, they had Wizard necks which will feel very different than your PRS, but I like 'em!
Thanks, just bought an Ibanez s670 in sapphire blue because it was 500 CAD new, and I'm a fan of their necks. Different for sure, but definitely playable and I'm not currently too particular about what I play. I'm still looking for my well-priced natural oil finish white whale though, we'll see ...
 

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Hmm, a couple of examples come to mind, but they don't totally have the full suite of specs you're after.

Kinda rare but the SV guitars from the 90s might be also worth looking at, these have slightly bigger necks and rounder fretboard radii. The main model was the SV470, which came with an oil finish option. Has a non-locking trem, however. Seen them in the $500-1000 range.

There have been RGs with oil finished bodies over the years, but they're bigger guitars, so would be heavier on average, probably not what you're after. Some rather sweet ones were reissued as part of the Genesis range some years ago, available with an ash or mahogany body.

If you're looking at other brands, maybe Charvel might be another option. The 2021 DK Pro Mod comes in what looks like an oil finished mahogany body, Seymour Duncans, but non-locking whammy. Then there's the very black San Dimas ones with a thin, open pore finish. Some of those have Floyds.

No idea what Schecter has going this year. Their range is usually quite big, so might be worth looking at to see whether they have something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm, a couple of examples come to mind, but they don't totally have the full suite of specs you're after.

Kinda rare but the SV guitars from the 90s might be also worth looking at, these have slightly bigger necks and rounder fretboard radii. The main model was the SV470, which came with an oil finish option. Has a non-locking trem, however. Seen them in the $500-1000 range.

There have been RGs with oil finished bodies over the years, but they're bigger guitars, so would be heavier on average, probably not what you're after. Some rather sweet ones were reissued as part of the Genesis range some years ago, available with an ash or mahogany body.

If you're looking at other brands, maybe Charvel might be another option. The 2021 DK Pro Mod comes in what looks like an oil finished mahogany body, Seymour Duncans, but non-locking whammy. Then there's the very black San Dimas ones with a thin, open pore finish. Some of those have Floyds.

No idea what Schecter has going this year. Their range is usually quite big, so might be worth looking at to see whether they have something.
Out here in Canada, I found these:

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-guitar/owen-sound/ibanez-s470-tr-trans-red-made-in-japan/1539410803

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-guitar/kitc...-s670-bp-burl-poplar-made-in-japan/1549635581

This guy said the guitars are made in Japan. In this forum's experience, would 900-950 Canadian be "a great deal" for these? He's saying the ones that sold on Kijiji for less were likely made in Indonesia, but I'm not so sure his are worth that much. Also, someone in another forum mentioned that's not the original trem that came with that guitar. How would I be able to tell?
 

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Hmm, let's see. The red one seems to be a bona fide 1994 model, and looks stock apart from what I assume is a roller nut. These were the base Japanese models at the time, bearing a Lo-TRS I trem, which, though not as good as an Edge/Lo Pro, still better than the Korean TRS II.

The burl top one is a parts guitar –*has a 2001 neck from some S model (maybe a 520, which came with the squiggly inlays and embossed logo), while the body is 2003/later because of the ZR trem. Can't tell if the body is Japan, though does have the S1 single coil which is a MIJ thing but the humbuckers look like MIK Powersound type with double rows of chrome plated slugs (they're not V1/2, which have black poles), which were on 370 and lower end models in the later 90s/early 00s. Looking more closely, trem seems a bit janked, like it has popped off the roller bearings on the bass side and the person has locked it in place using the ZR system at the back.

In conclusion, the red one is a better bet and ok priced, could be a tad less maybe, I'm not well informed about Canadian market value for these things. I've seen the same model with Lo Pro go for less, but in EU/US.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmm, let's see. The red one seems to be a bona fide 1994 model, and looks stock apart from what I assume is a roller nut. These were the base Japanese models at the time, bearing a Lo-TRS I trem, which, though not as good as an Edge/Lo Pro, still better than the Korean TRS II.

The burl top one is a parts guitar -*has a 2001 neck from some S model (maybe a 520, which came with the squiggly inlays and embossed logo), while the body is 2003/later because of the ZR trem. Can't tell if the body is Japan, though does have the S1 single coil which is a MIJ thing but the humbuckers look like MIK Powersound type with double rows of chrome plated slugs (they're not V1/2, which have black poles), which were on 370 and lower end models in the later 90s/early 00s. Looking more closely, trem seems a bit janked, like it has popped off the roller bearings on the bass side and the person has locked it in place using the ZR system at the back.

In conclusion, the red one is a better bet and ok priced, could be a tad less maybe, I'm not well informed about Canadian market value for these things. I've seen the same model with Lo Pro go for less, but in EU/US.
Thanks very much for the insight, I had no idea that so much could be seen from some relatively poor photos of an instrument. I tried to look up the 670 poplar and 770 poplar and noticed that, though the 770 has squiggles, they are distinctly different from those on this guitar.

Honestly, from what you said, I would rather be happy with what I have now (a new S670 in blue sapphire with an Edge Zero 2) and avoid both of these guitars. This has taught me that the used market gets more complicated and requires more careful scrutiny than I previously thought, especially when going back before 2010.

I found an ESP horizon FR that also interests me. It's a gloss black ESP horizon II FR.

It's not wood finish and I'll have to weigh it to see that it's under 7.5 lbs since it's a horizon II not III (they are supposedly heavier, 7.9ish), but I'm going to see if I can ask about this guitar on an ESP forum. It might work well for my purposes and I might get a good deal on it if the seller agrees to my trade.
 

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Sure thing. Yes, part of it is looking at plenty of images in catalogues, actual guitars (esp. certain details), and frequenting forums like this one ;). When I was buying my first good guitar, I spent quite a bit of time sorting through information about the model I was interested in, also b/c it's been out of production for yonks.

Generally, I'm fairly happy buying an old MIJ Ibanez without playing it if I feel the price/condition is within what I think is reasonable, with the view that I'll need to a bit of work. Most used (and even new) guitars will need a some tweakage, there will be some things sellers themselves are not aware of, and everyone has different preferences regarding setup etc. Straight up sellers are also happy to provide extra images on request. So, if I were set on buying that red 470, for instance, I'd be prepared to deal with any trem/nut issues, based on what I can see from the pics and specs of the model.

Never played ESP/LTD stuff but a lot of it sure looks nice. I just wish they didn't put the model names on the 12th fret inlay, bit of cheese, ha!
 

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That red one is a 1994 S470. It is indeed made in japan, but unfortunately; that year they swapped to the lo-trs tremolo. As Ashurb alluded to, the lo-trs is an all around "fine" tremolo, but certainly not on par with an edge or lo pro. I am quite unsure what that nut is, nor why you would put that on a floyd rose system to begin with (maybe the trem is blocked/locked; which would make sense there). Fairly good shape; but... even if it that price was cut in half, it would still be over priced. Definitely a "hard pass" here.

The poplar one is a parts guitar. The body is an S670 as you sorted; and the neck is a 2001 s520 neck. This is a made in japan neck and would be quite nice. That has to be an s670 body; because the s770 features a 24 fret neck, and this thing would NEVER intonate if it were mated with that neck. The tuners are swapped from the stock gotoh's to cheap wilkinson tuners... couldnt tell you why. Not likely an issue though. The "weird" thing is it appears the nut is glued in; because it has no bolts holding it on lol. That said, yet again, its horribly over priced lol.

So with those both being hard passes; I did go through your kijijijiwijiki thing; there are precisely no "good" deals for ibanez models aside from this random pro line thing, but thats not what youre after lol.

That said, these two are far and away better buys than the other 2; but they arent "natural" finishes either; and I would still regard them as being *slighty* (market is weird right now...) "over priced" honestly; but not outrageously so. Couple hours and a pack of sandpaper on a weekend would sort that ;) (They are mahogany, and will look great without a finish, unlike many other guitars).

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-guitar/city-of-toronto/ibanez-s540-ltd/1551362099
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-guitar/kitchener-waterloo/ibanez-540s-made-in-japan/1550688257

Both of these examples will be superior to getting a "new" indonesian guitar. Probably cheaper too by the looks of things.

ESP Horizon II is going to be ENORMOUSLY above your price limit, unless you found one for under then jump on that immediately haha. If it helps, sweetwater has listed their horizon ii fr at 8 pounds and 5 ounces (3.77kg). Not light, not heavy. What I would personally do, is use those two listings I showed you as leverage against each other. Basically message each of them, show the opposite listing and ask them to go down in price to make you jump on that one vs the other. They are identical quality. Oh, the white one has dimarzios. So if the person with the blue one thinks theirs is "better", casually slide that in that the other one has dimarzios and his has stock ibanez pickups ;). You might be surprised what kind of deal you could get out of that.
 

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^^ The nut is glued on the red 470 too. Most of these appear to be from the same seller, seems to have spent a bit of time making an S collection.

Regarding prices, well, these could reflect the Canadian market, so if you're in the US they might seem high. $800-900 would be within the £500 range in the UK, and I would expect a MIJ S model in decent shape to be in this ballpark. Of course, you'll come across lower and higher.

Fwiw, there's a pretty nice RG570 MH on Reverb for 800 euros, but in Slovenia, so might be pricey shipping it over if the seller does offer that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
How about .... this one?



Looks good? I asked for a serial and I'm gonna check the catalogue later. 650 Canadian seems like a good price, even if I can't negotiate. Can anyone tell what is going on at the locking nut?

EDIT: I think that's just a reflection of light , and the locking nut is fine
 

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SOOOOOOOOO.....

The good -> For what youre looking for, this is a great guitar.... Its got an edge trem, dimarzio pickups, is quite a good looking axe.... BUT..

To "bad" ->
1) this is a parts guitar, more on that on the list
2) this is a refinished body, going to be an 89 or 90 body. The natural finished 540s' from the factory are not made with 3 pieces of wood. There are also some slight contour issues, but nothing that would stand out. Aside from lookin a little dry (a coat of oil probably wont hurt here), shes fine.
3) Missing the original neck plate. In no way does this impact function, but it should be noted the factory plates are quite expensive usually.
4) I can tell by the screws, that the 5 way switch is a replacement; probably an upgrade honestly, but not original.
5) replacement knobs and pickup ring
6) heres the big one... thats not a saber neck lol.... Thats a roadstar ii neck; but I'll explain...

So, in short, YES get the serial number; if it starts with F, Id HIGHLY recommend getting it. Those roadstar ii necks are FANTASTIC. I absolutely love mine. Its a bit more rounded, its extremely similar to a viper neck if you've played one. For me personally, its my favorite ibanez neck. If it DOESNT start with an F serial, probably pass honestly. At that price, especially comparing to everything else you have available, thats real good. But again, you could *probably* show him its not a 540s neck and talk him down lower. Theres only 1 issue with this; and thats 540s necks are way more expensive than roadstar necks. This can damage long term value, but its relatively cheap as it stands. Everything considered, again assuming its an F serial, this is probably a fantastic guitar. Edge trem and dimarzios, great neck, awesome body, not much to nag on really. Definitely play it a bit and see how it feels, but should be a quality guitar.

That particular neck came on a bunch of different models, but heres an example
 

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Looks nice! Straight up workhorse axe.

As said above, the neck appears to be a Roadstar one from 1987, with accompanying neck plate. Apart from the serial sticker, you can tell by the skunk stripe, small dot inlays, Floyd style locking nut + string retainer bar, and shape of the transition to headstock. These are C profile necks, oil finished, very comfortable indeed. I don't know whether they changed the dimensions in 1987, but in the previous year, you can look up the specs on Ibanez Wiki, it's under the Roadstar DX classification. I do think the neck on this Japanese as the MIK guitars had a normal nut with a lock system behind it, kinda like a Kahler (200 series); or just a normal nut on its own (100 series). No skunk stripe on MIK either.

When the Edge was introduced, the nut pads on Roadstars were a bit smaller than the nut, so when you'd clamp them down, they can sometimes turn and look wonky, which is annoying (early design flaw).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
SOOOOOOOOO.....

The good -> For what youre looking for, this is a great guitar.... Its got an edge trem, dimarzio pickups, is quite a good looking axe.... BUT..

To "bad" ->
1) this is a parts guitar, more on that on the list
2) this is a refinished body, going to be an 89 or 90 body. The natural finished 540s' from the factory are not made with 3 pieces of wood. There are also some slight contour issues, but nothing that would stand out. Aside from lookin a little dry (a coat of oil probably wont hurt here), shes fine.
3) Missing the original neck plate. In no way does this impact function, but it should be noted the factory plates are quite expensive usually.
4) I can tell by the screws, that the 5 way switch is a replacement; probably an upgrade honestly, but not original.
5) replacement knobs and pickup ring
6) heres the big one... thats not a saber neck lol.... Thats a roadstar ii neck; but I'll explain...

So, in short, YES get the serial number; if it starts with F, Id HIGHLY recommend getting it. Those roadstar ii necks are FANTASTIC. I absolutely love mine. Its a bit more rounded, its extremely similar to a viper neck if you've played one. For me personally, its my favorite ibanez neck. If it DOESNT start with an F serial, probably pass honestly. At that price, especially comparing to everything else you have available, thats real good. But again, you could *probably* show him its not a 540s neck and talk him down lower. Theres only 1 issue with this; and thats 540s necks are way more expensive than roadstar necks. This can damage long term value, but its relatively cheap as it stands. Everything considered, again assuming its an F serial, this is probably a fantastic guitar. Edge trem and dimarzios, great neck, awesome body, not much to nag on really. Definitely play it a bit and see how it feels, but should be a quality guitar.

That particular neck came on a bunch of different models, but heres an example
The serial is F717023 Here's the full ad:

Ibanez S540. Made in Japan. Fabulous sounding and playing guitar. Looks like a coffee table and it performs outstanding. It has a stripped down mahogany body with an EDGE trem, DiMarzio CrunchLab in the bridge and 2 Chevalier single coils..('57 neck and '62 in the middle), Bourns low friction pot for the volume and a high friction pot for the tone and an Orange Drop capacitior. This is a great shredder that can handle any style of music you want to play on it. Sounds great with high gain and cleans up very nicely when you roll the volume back.

Includes a hardshell case. If the ad is still visible, the guitar is still available. If you have the time, check out my other ads.

----------------

I should've figured about the neck being an implant lol, but at least you all told me it's a good neck.

He wouldn't negotiate (I tried) because there was an unexpected amount for interest in the two guitars he was selling, which he posted last night. The market in Ontario on this second hand website (Kijiji) is a bit nuts right now. Basically nobody is selling this kind of guitar at this kind of price.

I think I'm gonna buy it if it feels good to me and if it doesn't seem overly damaged in some way, and then I'm gonna inquire about a neck plate and even maybe keep my eye out for a neck if it somehow comes up or is somehow available for cheap ... But idk if I'll be selling this one. I have an Ibanez S right now and it's honestly great. Playing this one would be even better I think, so if I have to sell it one day, I think I'd be alright with waiting a bit to offload it or having to eat a small loss on it, because it looks like a lot of fun and, thanks to you, I can now make an informed decision about it, and I greatly appreciate that.
 

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It seems like a cool guitar with some thoughtful mods, and the Roadstar neck will give it a different vibe to what you already have.

Also, given that a case is included makes it a better deal, especially if it's a period correct chainsaw case, those things can go for stupid money sometimes.
 

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Thats a roadstar ii neck; but I'll explain... So, in short, YES get the serial number; if it starts with F, Id HIGHLY recommend getting it. Those roadstar ii necks are FANTASTIC. I absolutely love mine. Its a bit more rounded, its extremely similar to a viper neck if you've played one. For me personally, its my favorite ibanez neck.
I second that... My favorite neck also. Very comfortable and more c-shaped. Unless you like very skinny necks, you can't go wrong!
 

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The serial is F717023 Here's the full ad:

Ibanez S540. Made in Japan. Fabulous sounding and playing guitar. Looks like a coffee table and it performs outstanding. It has a stripped down mahogany body with an EDGE trem, DiMarzio CrunchLab in the bridge and 2 Chevalier single coils..('57 neck and '62 in the middle), Bourns low friction pot for the volume and a high friction pot for the tone and an Orange Drop capacitior. This is a great shredder that can handle any style of music you want to play on it. Sounds great with high gain and cleans up very nicely when you roll the volume back.
haha yeah, exactly what I said then. If it plays nice, and youre in the buyers mood; Id definitely say grab it. Comes with the case too; thats pretty cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The serial is F717023 Here's the full ad:

Ibanez S540. Made in Japan. Fabulous sounding and playing guitar. Looks like a coffee table and it performs outstanding. It has a stripped down mahogany body with an EDGE trem, DiMarzio CrunchLab in the bridge and 2 Chevalier single coils..('57 neck and '62 in the middle), Bourns low friction pot for the volume and a high friction pot for the tone and an Orange Drop capacitior. This is a great shredder that can handle any style of music you want to play on it. Sounds great with high gain and cleans up very nicely when you roll the volume back.
haha yeah, exactly what I said then. If it plays nice, and youre in the buyers mood; Id definitely say grab it. Comes with the case too; thats pretty cool.
Because of covid, I had to try it out in his van. Not the best scenario considering my joint and posture issues etc but his Yamaha thr got me enough to be able to hear it, and it's light. 6.5 lbs on the dot.

It was originally blue, he stripped it and put 5 coats of tung oil on it. I can't feel an overcoat like a poly or nitro finish, which may be a really good thing since I'm into woodworking and would be pretty jazzed about refinishing a guitar such as this one.

I bought it, will play the hell out of it at home, gonna plug it in right now. He threw in a new set of strings and apologized profoundly for the old ones he had on. He was selling because he has collected and maintained over 30 guitars and blames his obesity on his guitar hobby. His brother had a recent heart attack and he's trying to be more active so he's shaving the collection down. He insisted that this guitar "will slay" other shredders, I don't know how much slaying and shredding I'll be doing but I'm optimistic that it'll handle my Van Halen, Motley Crue and other needs.

I'm gonna keep my search alerts up for an "all-original" Ibanez S with natural finish, but I'm not going to bother shelling out for one if I have this one. If it plays well enough for me (it seemed to in the van) then I should be more than happy with it, the CrunchLab kicked out awesome dirty tones and the Chevalier 59/62 single coils were super clean.

One thing I did think it was missing, was a sexy photo. Mine is attached.
 

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Nice man! Im actually kinda jealous... That middle piece of mahogany actually gives it a "neck through" kinda vibe, not the worst situation to happen here. That case looks legit too, what is it??? The only thing that irritates me is he cheaped out on a plastic pickup ring lol. That said, Im pretty sure it'll play great and you should honestly love it.
 
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