Make note this is pretty much just a theoretical project right now, I will have to wait until the summer at least before I can even attempt this because I have to pay tuition.

The guitar in question is an RG420FB this was my first decent guitar and has a lot of good things about it but it needs some new hardware.

To create a great metal shredding guitar that sounds great without going over a $500 budget I'm aiming for $250-$300 area though.


Tremolo Swap:
I plan to switch the Edge II tremolo currently installed with the guitar to a ZR2 bridge that is commonly found on Ibanez S prestige guitars. (If anyone knows if this will require some routing done for the body please let me know).

Pickup Swap: (This is a must as the guitar still has Inf1-Inf2 stock pickups)
I'm Considering EMG's (80/81) or Seymour Duncan Blackouts, I will be checking out videos and demos to get a good comparison. This is probably the least important part of the upgrade as pickups are very subjective, however if you have any great suggestions for Passive Metal pickups let me know.

Body Modifications:
The body is a bit plain for the lack of a better word, I was planning to have a small amount routed away from the sides/back so that it bit more elegant. However depending how this may affect my tone/sustain I may just leave it as is.
Last edited by BigHeadClan at Oct 5, 2011,
Trem swap: The routing is different and the ZR trems use ball bearings. I'm pretty sure you can't swap those out. Honestly, you can just get an Edge Pro or Edge trem that will drop right in with no routing required. Those are 2 of the best trems ever made.

Pickups: EMGs and Blackouts will fit in standard pickup routes, possibly needing a pickup ring. However, you will need all new electronics - a 25k vol/tone pot and a stereo input jack. Probably a new switch too. I prefer Blackouts to EMGs personally. I think they just sound better.

For passive pickups, look at the Dimarzio Super Distortion, Dactivator and X2n. For neck, look at the PAF PRO and Air Norton. You might also want to get some new electronics for these too - 2 CTS 500k pots for vol/tone and switchcraft switches and input jacks.

Body modifications: Don't do it unless you know what you are doing. Not only can you seriously mess up your guitar, but if you cut at the wrongs points you can kill all of your tone and midrange. I few bevels on the horns won't do much, but don't touch around the pickups or the bridge area. That is where the majority of you tone comes from.
If you want it to look better you are better off just refinishing it or sending it off to LGM or sims custom shop and have them do some crazy stuff.
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Last edited by stonyman65 at Oct 5, 2011,
Trem swap: I figured some routing would be required, anything outside a strait pickup swap I would get someone who is capable enough to do it.

Pickups: I haven't heard the blackouts in person yet but I have listen to EMG and they sounded pretty sweet, but I will do some comparisons and nail down which I want as the date draws closer. Volume pot's are a pretty easy switch the same can be said with the switches and stereo jack.

As far as passive are considered I might borrow my buddy's guitar, he has X2N and tone zone in his guitar so I may borrow it from him for a week and see how I like it.

Body Modifications: This is something I wouldn't do myself for any reason, if I can't find anyone who will do it then I won't bother. It's comfortable enough to play on as is, it was more just for aesthetics then anything else. And as I said if it will effect my tone in any noticeable way (especially sustain wise) then I won't bother.

Thanks for the custom shop suggestion though, it's definitely something that I will take into consideration.