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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all!

I've been wanting to do some serious refurbishing of my 1987 Ibanez RG550 for a few years now as it's in an absolutely horrible state... an embarrassingly horrible state, I might add... but I'm not really sure where to start. I'm also wondering if doing so is a waste of money, as the neck has a serious crack in the bolts that hold the locking nut and I'm not sure if this is something that will eventually render it useless. That being said, this was my first RG back in around '89 and I was unfortunately not old enough to take proper care of it and, well.... you know how it goes. Still, this has been my fav guitar I've ever owned and would love to get it back into some playable shape. SOOOO, here's where I was thinking of starting:

The neck. Super dirty fretboard, "M" crack near the headstock









As you can see, the crack is pretty bad but it's actually been holding for over a decade even in heavy play sessions. any advice on sealing it a bit is much needed.
The fretboard needs to be cleaned something awful and Im hoping someone could shed some light on how to take the neck off and the proper cleaning products to use. You can see where I used the wrong gauge of steel wool on the higher frets when i was young and a bit more idiotic so yeah... there is that.

Here is the (from what Im to understand) common neck joint body crack



any help on tightening this up would be awesome

Rusty trem and nut





Could really sue some help on cleaning these items and maybe a link to somewhere I can buy replacement parts as Im missing the screw and spring thing on the post that holds the trem in place. Also missing the trem bar itself

Here are a few of the major dings that need to be taken into account.







Now, this is a truly rare paintjob and I only very rarely find used ones with it. I would really hate to have to repaint it as it's so original but I am open to it if it needs to happen. maybe you guys have suggestions for people maybe even out here in Cali.

Any help or advice is GREATLY appreciated!!! Thanks!!
 

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Wow man... that would be a lot of work to restore that all the way!

As far as the neck bolt and body cracks, get some thin CA (super glue) and let it wick down into the cracks. With some tension on the neck/headstock you should be able to open the cracks enough to let the glue get down in there. Release the tension on the neck and let the cracks close back up. You'll still see the cracks but it will be stable. If you use a cloth with some Naptha to clean the squeeze out right away and you won't make a mess of it.

Next it looks like it really needs a fret level bad. Honestly after that I'd string it back up and play the hell out of it... People pay extra for "relicing" these days :mrgreen:

You can get any part you need here: http://ibanezrules.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here are a couple of pics to show you guys what it looks like from a big picture point of view. up close, it may definitely look like a lost cause but even with crappy strings and some bad frets, I still have more fun playing it than any other guitar I own





There is no denying that it's in a bad bad way but I would still AT LEAST like to clean the neck gunk out of the frets and maybe clean some of the hardware. Any help on those two fronts would be super appreciated!!! Thanks for all the replies so far =)
 

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That white pickguard is great, leave that alone.

I'd say start with the neck cracks and seal those up. Getting a new OE and locking bolts for the neck from Rich is easy so save that for last. Level the frets then go for the fretboard cleaning. That will probably be a LOT of work but imo if you get those 3 things (neck cracks, fret level, fretboard cleaning) you should be fine to shred that baby for years to come :D
 

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Fix up the neck crack, it's easy enough following the instructions on Ibanez Rules. Clean up the maple fret board using the sticky at the top of this sub-forum.

Give the guitar body a clean up, just leave the damage, it's mojo. With the hardware, replace the rusty screws, and then get a fret level and dress.

Most of that you can do yourself for minimal cost. The level and dress you may want to pay someone after you've done everything else. Should be killer after that.
 

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Wow man... that would be a lot of work to restore that all the way!

As far as the neck bolt and body cracks, get some thin CA (super glue) and let it wick down into the cracks. With some tension on the neck/headstock you should be able to open the cracks enough to let the glue get down in there. Release the tension on the neck and let the cracks close back up. You'll still see the cracks but it will be stable. If you use a cloth with some Naptha to clean the squeeze out right away and you won't make a mess of it.

Next it looks like it really needs a fret level bad. Honestly after that I'd string it back up and play the hell out of it... People pay extra for "relicing" these days :mrgreen:

You can get any part you need here: http://ibanezrules.com/
Yes, that is a genuine natural relic job, done by time!
One question tho, why super glue and not some strong wood glue like Bison wood glue? I am sure you guys in USA you have equal or even superior wood glues.
I love your custom neck-through guitar so, I am curious about this advice of yours. Pls enlighten me!
 

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There's no "restoring" that guitar, so I wouldn't dump any real money into what's essentially a relic.

As others have said, dress the frets, fix the neck crack, clean everything up but otherwise leave it as is. I'd also check the stud anchors to see if they're loose (they probably are) and fix that.

If you spent any money, spend it on a new pair of trem studs. Soak all the hardware in WD40 to knock down the corrosion.
 

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Yes, that is a genuine natural relic job, done by time!
One question tho, why super glue and not some strong wood glue like Bison wood glue? I am sure you guys in USA you have equal or even superior wood glues.
I love your custom neck-through guitar so, I am curious about this advice of yours. Pls enlighten me!
Thanks man!

CA will wick all the way down into and throughout the cracks. The problem with wood glue in this case is the cracks might not be able to be opened up enough to get the thicker glue all the way down into the cracks.

If the neck was snapped off or if the cracks are able to be opened up enough to get some Titebond in there, then I'd use it over the CA.
 

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Thanks man!

CA will wick all the way down into and throughout the cracks. The problem with wood glue in this case is the cracks might not be able to be opened up enough to get the thicker glue all the way down into the cracks.

If the neck was snapped off or if the cracks are able to be opened up enough to get some Titebond in there, then I'd use it over the CA.
THIS^^^

The CA will get into cracks in a way that wood glue never can. I had a '99 RG7421 neck with a "typical" nut-joint crack. The crack was longitudinal so there was no way to open it up enough to get some wood glue into it. I used thin CA from stewmac (#10) at the nut. As I was putting it in, I could see the crack wetting from the CA, it actually ran from the nut to the heel of the neck. Had the CA not "wicked" through the crack like that, I would have never known it was that bad. That neck ended up in the firepit.

Regarding this 550HP- I would do what the others have suggested here, except that I would probably have a full fret job done on it. This would give your luthier a chance to sand the board down to (mostly) clear maple AND put a good sealer on it before putting the new frets in. Doing that would cure 90% of what ails this guitar. Honestly, this one isn't that bad. If you decide to give it what it needs- it will give you another 20 years of dependable service. learn to live with the rough paint....... you'll never be ably to match the color for a re-spray, but there are a crap-ton of of pink metallic nail polishes at the local drug store. Find one that gets close and patch up some of the bigger dinks.

FWIW..... the white/black/white pickguard IS the original for the 550HP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I think I'm going to look into refretting the neck, repairing the crack and cleaning the hardware. I have to replace the toggle switch as it's pretty done at this point and I will probably replace the broken tone knob (and volume knob to have them match properly) and I'm going to just leave the body with its battle scars =)

Anyone out there have a preference or recommendation for a repair shop out here in Cali/Los Angeles? I see a few around that could probably do the job up just fine but would love to hear from someone who has used a service out here.

Thanks again for all the responses!
 

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Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I think I'm going to look into refretting the neck, repairing the crack and cleaning the hardware. I have to replace the toggle switch as it's pretty done at this point and I will probably replace the broken tone knob (and volume knob to have them match properly) and I'm going to just leave the body with its battle scars =)

Anyone out there have a preference or recommendation for a repair shop out here in Cali/Los Angeles? I see a few around that could probably do the job up just fine but would love to hear from someone who has used a service out here.

Thanks again for all the responses!
Great call man. I think your making the right choice.

I have no idea who is out your way, but shipping the neck to a professional anywhere in the states is pretty economical.

Rick Giarmo is VERY good with everything he touches. He's a member here too. Maybe give him a call or send an email?

http://www.guitargurullc.com/
 

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I like the body, don't mind the chips at all.
As others have said, you can prevent them from chipping away anymore with a little CA glue.

I'd clean the hardware up, have the frets done, fix the crack, and continue on loving that sweet axe. ...And that sounds like your plan, too. Awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm wondering about buying an OE and so I check out Ibanez Rules!! and see them for around $280 (Edge 6) but see some going for around $140 on ebay. Is there a reason for the price difference that I should take into consideration before buying one for $120 cheaper than the Ibanez Rules site?
 

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I'm wondering about buying an OE and so I check out Ibanez Rules!! and see them for around $280 (Edge 6) but see some going for around $140 on ebay. Is there a reason for the price difference that I should take into consideration before buying one for $120 cheaper than the Ibanez Rules site?
Fleabay's OEs are all used. Rich's is brand new directly from Ibanez. If you're going to go totally out of control to restore your HP to it's former glory, I say suck it up and buy a new one from Rich. Quality and satisfaction are guaranteed :D
 
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