Learning guitar as a teenager in the 80s, I always thought super strats were cool. Then working at Colchester’s Axe Music in the ’90s, as Ibanez dealers I got to know the RG range and always liked the top of the range RG550 the best. Having got back into playing live in the last few years and although not a guitar usually associated with blues, I’ve been looking out for one locally for a while now. I’ve bought and sold a few RG570’s (the same model but without a scratch plate) but never seen a 550 for sale locally until a few months ago at a guitar shop in town, I spotted the guitar pictured here, a 2002 model in black with the original case at a very reasonable price.
Having got it home and got over the new guitar buzz, I quickly remembered what a pain setting up a floating tremelo system is! After a couple of hours of allen key action, I had it cleaned up, the Edge tremelo nicely balanced, the action lowered and a fresh set of .009’s fitted. Wow, what a guitar to play. I’ve always loved the feel of a 550, the Wizard neck with jumbo frets and a totally flat fret board feels so good and the combination of sounds from the 3 pickups (from big, thick humbucking tones to a hollow Strat twang) is just perfect. A highly recommended guitar, what ever style you play. Top notch japanese build quality at a bargain price these days.
I do enjoy a bit of tasteless, ham fisted whammy bar abuse, as this cover of Joe Satriani’s ‘Surfin with the Alien’ will demonstrate…