Monday, September 13, 2010

Ibanez #2 - 'RS530' black

I've still got the receipt for this. Bought on 2/8/90 in the Kentish Town Music and Hifi Exchange for £115 with a snug fitting hard case. Back in the day when I used to haunt actual shops instead of eBay.

From the same stable of mid 80s Ibanez as my Destroyer, this RS530 was at the upper end of their Roadstar II line. I didn't know this at the time, it's only now with the advent of the Internet that I've a clue what this is. I do remember seeing a secondhand RS1010 Steve Lukather model once for silly money on Denmark street and commenting that this was very similar.

I couldn't afford an RG, let alone the JEM/JS1/Radius I lusted after but this was around and cheap. It became my main guitar for years until the EC29 came along. Much though I like my Destroyer it is a great big uncomfortable lump of guitar and that's kind of why I sold it.

This is packed with fancy stuff for something if its age, 24 frets, push-push coil taps and locking trem but still the Pro Rock'r rather than the Edge that came shortly afterwards. It's just a shame those frets had great runnels worn in them from it having very heavy use before I bought it. I didn't let this bother me and I soldiered on with it regardless.

The Pro Rock'r tremolo is a piece of beautiful engineering that makes a Floyd Rose look basic and agricultural. It's smoother on the hand, you can adjust individual saddle heights and the intonation adjustment is done with a fine pitch screw instead of loosen and shove. The baseplate and block are a great lump of decent cast metal so you've got the mass people try to get back by fitting big blocks to Floyds. You don't have to cut off the ball ends, you pass them down into the block and lock it off.

It's just a shame it doesn't work very well. I'm no expert but I reckon this is all because it moves on brass pins mated up against a channel in the bridge studs, instead of knife edges. So even when in perfect condition and lubricated there's tons of friction that means it doesn't return to the same point very easily.

The top-lock which locks the strings at the headstock rather than nut probably doesn't help either. I suspect both these problems were caused by Ibanez attempts to avoid paying a licence fee to Floyd Rose. Which backfired in my opinion.

So the heavy use that wore out the frets also meant the tremolo is pretty unreliable. You can use it heavily but then it needs a bit of a tweak afterwards to get it back to pitch.

I've recently had the frets dressed on this and it's transformed the guitar, I should have had this done years ago but my usual lack of trust when it comes to 'professionals' stopped me.

This sort of thing is getting genuinely collectible. Not quite as much as the 70s Ibanez or the original RGs/JEMs I couldn't afford at the time, but it's interesting to see how much they go for on eBay sometimes. How times change, when I bought this it was desperately unfashionable and definitely just 'old'. Mine is not 100% original, I replaced the 3-way switch because it failed and the jack socket is now crackly and I can see me replacing that too. Oh well it's not like it's a '59 standard.

No comments: