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RG550 (1987–1994)

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For other RG550 models, see RG550 (disambiguation).
RG550 DY 87
RG550 Desert Sun Yellow (more images) Red copyright sprite

The RG550 is an RG series solid body electric guitar model introduced by Ibanez in 1987. It was initially part of the Roadstar Deluxe series which eventually became the RG series.

The RG550 was the first RG featuring the new body shape which was designed based on input from Steve Vai in designing his first signature Ibanez model, the JEM777. The RG550 was introduced as a more affordable alternative for the JEM777.

The RG550 shares the same basic design and dimensions of the JEM, but eschews some of the JEMs more distinctive features such as the monkey grip and the lion's claw tremolo rout. These changes were made both to make the JEM more distinctive but also with and eye toward reducing production costs.

Like the JEM, the RG550 has a basswood body, a thin maple neck and a double locking Floyd Rose style tremolo bridge. Instead of the JEM's DiMarzio pickups, the RG550 is equipped with American designed Ibanez Vintage pickups. In place of the JEM's disappearing pyramid fretboard inlays, the RG550 has simple dots.

For 1990, the volume pot was relocated slightly further from the bridge pickup to prevent interference with the tremolo bar. The pickups also received a visual update with new logos.

The original RG550 was discontinued after 1994. A new RG550 was introduced in 1997. In 1995 and 1996, a model based on the RG550 with rosewood fingerboard was issued for some areas as the RG550-R.

For the twentieth anniversary of the RG series in 2007, the 1987 RG550 was reissued as the RG550MXX (maple fingerboard) and RG550RXX (rosewood fingerboard). For 2013 another reissue was offered in Japan as part of the limited edition Genesis Collection.

Specifications Edit

Specifications for RG550 (1987–1994)
Name: RG550
Years: 1987–1994
Areas: Worldwide
Made in: Japan
Finishes: AB (Atlantic Blue) 1989 / BK (Black) / BU (Blue) 1992 / CA (Candy Apple) 1991–1994 / CM (Coral Mist Metallic) 1990 / DY (Desert Sun Yellow) / EB (Electric Blue) 1994 / EG (Emerald Green) 1992 / FA (Five Alarm Red) 1988–1989 / HP (Heather Pearl) 1989 / JB (Jewel Blue) 1990–1992 / LB (Laser Blue) 1990–1991 / LR (Lipstick Red) 1991–1992 / PM (Purple Metallic) 1990 / PN (Purple Neon) 1990–1991, 1994 / RF (Road Flare) 1987–1988 / WH (White) 1987–1992
Body
Body type:
Solid body
Body material:
Basswood
Neck joint:
1987–1993: Tilt joint
1994: AANJ
Bridge:
1987–1991: Edge tremolo
1992–1994: Lo-Pro Edge tremolo
Hardware color:
Black
Pickguard:
AB & HP finishes: 3-ply white/ black/ white
Other finishes: 3-ply black/ white/ black
Neck
Neck type:
Wizard
Neck material:
1987–1991: 1-piece maple
1992–1994: 1-piece quartersawn maple
Fingerboard:
1987–1989: Maple or rosewood
1990–1994: Maple
Inlays:
Dot
Frets:
24 / jumbo
Nut:
Top-Lok III
Machine heads:
Gotoh SG38
Electronics
PU Config:
HSH
Bridge PU:
1987–1993: Ibanez V2 (H)
1994: Ibanez V8 (H)
Mid PU:
Ibanez S1 (S)
Neck PU:
1987–1993: Ibanez V1 (H)
1994: Ibanez V7 (H)
Controls:
1 volume / 1 tone / 5-way lever

Fingerboard species Edit

Until 1989, the RG550 came with a choice of either rosewood or maple fingerboard. Outside Japan, all black finished RG550s came with rosewood fingerboards while other finishes had maple fingerboards. In Japan, most finishes were available with rosewood or maple fingerboards. Some catalogs added an extra suffix for the fingerboard to distinguish the two, for example, a Desert Sun Yellow RG550 with maple as the RG550DY-M or a Five Alarm Red RG550 as the RG550FA-R (not to be confused with the RG550-R introduced in 1995).

After 1989 all RG550s have maple fingerboards.

Matching headstocks Edit

While most RG550s have headstocks which are painted to match the body, some 1989 and 1990 finishes, included Desert Sun Yellow, got black headstocks. After 1990, the color-matched headstocks returned for all finishes.

Images Edit

Other available finishes
1989 RG550 AB
Atlantic Blue
1991 RG550 BK-M
Black (maple)
RG550 BK 88
Black (rosewood)
1992 RG550 BU
Blue
1991 RG550 CA
Candy Apple
1990 RG550 CM
Coral Mist Metallic
1994 RG550 EB
Electric Blue
1992 RG550 EG
Emerald Green
1988 RG550 FA-M
Five Alarm (maple)
1989 RG550 FA-R
Five Alarm (rosewood)
1989 RG550 HP
Heather Pearl
1990 RG550 JB
Jewel Blue
RG550 LB 90
Laser Blue
1991 RG550 LR
Lipstick Red
1990 RG550 PM
Purple Metallic
1990 RG550 PN
Purple Neon
RG550 RF 88
Road Flare
1987 RG550 WH
White

Sources Edit

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