#1
Hello UG users

I am in a bit of a dilema regarding upgrading an existing guitar or buying a new one. I tend to play shreddy-rock-metaly-stuff, such as Dream Theater, Megadeth, Metallica. Some solo artists like vai + satch through choice, but I've been doing grades recently so have been branching out and playing a bit of Reinhardt and malmsteem too. I have also dabbled in jazz, but I got a cheapy hollowbody to fiddle around with for that.

My main guitars are two Ibanez numbers. The one I bought first is 2001 RG570, which I got a blinding deal on from the US (music123.com) for about £330. It's Japanese-made, v7/s1/v8 pickups and an edge II tremolo (I think - it's the original setup). It has several dents in it but I really like the wizard neck (bolt-on) because it's thin and very easy to play. However I've always wanted a spikey guitar, so when Ibanez launched the Xiphos I decided to try it out. I fell in love with it, and on paper it seemed like a good deal - thru-neck construction, mahogany body, 2 DiMarzio humbucker pickups (D-activator) and an Edge 3 trem, all put together in Indonesia. I think I paid £400- £500 for it. When I bought it, I figured the frame would provide me with all I need from a guitar. I love the sound, and assumed that after a few years I would probably end up sticking in some new pickups and then never have to buy a guitar again. But that was before I found out about the "wonderful" tremolo system.....

I discovered the edge 3's knife-edge wear issues whilst playing a gig. Essentially, if I tune the guitar in one position, diving with the trem causes it to return to sit in a slightly different position to pulling up on the trem and then letting it rest. I took it along to some guitar shops, and the advice ranged from "put 10's back on it" (it came with 10's and the trem was dumped forwards so I slapped 9's on it when I got it which didn't cause any problems for 2-3 years) to eventually "the edge 3 is a crock of shite, we could block the trem or you could put a new one it". I believe I could file down the knife edge to get rid of the notches, but I'd imagine the edges will wear a few years down the line again.

The edge trem from my RG is too big to fit in the gap of my Xiphos, so I can't just do a straight swap, plus as my RG still works very well I'd like to keep it together if possible. So I think I'd need a new trem for my Xiphos to get it to do all I want it to, and at some point I'd also want to upgrade the pickups. In total, that's probably going to land me with a significant bill, and if I'm being totally honest to myself I actually prefer the neck on my RG to the neck on the Xiphos. So, much as I dislike the idea of moving a guitar on a few years after getting it, I'm leaning towards trying to get a 'this-guitar-will-actually-last-me-for-a-lifetime' guitar.

So the first question is: New guitar or upgrade an existing guitar? I reckon an upgrade would probably cost me about £500 to get my xiphos 'put right', and that wouldn't get around my neck preference. Or I could go back to my RG, and spend a bit of money on new pickups but ultimately still have a bolt-on neck and battered basswood body.

For a new guitar, I'd probably look at spending £1k - £1.5k and aim to never replace it. So far, I have the following brand names in mind:

Ibanez - I really like Ibanez, but I don't want to spend £1000 on a prestige RG if I could get a similar feel and sound by slapping new pickups in my RG.

ESP - I like the look of the EMG equipped horizons, but I have never played an ESP (yet).

Vigier - the Indus looks cool. The geek in me likes the carbon/wood neck. Sounds ok on a youtube vid I've seen (through a messa amp though - I have a Vox 50W valvestate thing)

Schechter - the Hellraiser C1FR looks nice. I haven't tried it though.

Suhr - A name I've been told about, and apparently their cheaper end may fall in my budget.

Jackson and PRS. I've tried a cheap Jackson and I hated it, and I've played a £1000 PRS and it felt and sounded nice but I didn't feel enough of a connection to it to justify the price-tag.

Generally I like 'Phat' sounds so it has to have a couple of humbuckers. A single could middle pickup would be a bonus but isn't necessary as far as I'm concerned. Shape-wise, I like the RG shape (is that a 'super-strat' shape?), or anything pointy. I don't like Gibson Les Pauls (thick necks) or fenders (fenders = twangy IMO) from the few I've tried.

Any advice on what to do or what brands to check out would be appreciated!
#2
If you want a spiky guitar try these guitars i also own

Jackson Demmelition

Alexi Laiho Models...Including Edwards ESP and LTD versions

BC Rich JR V Icon or try at JR V Delux

By the way i also own a Xiphos with the 27frets and i find that the edge is the worst tremelo system i've tried
Too Many Religious People And Not Enough Lions
#3
I have to just say that your RG 570 would be concidered a Prestige line guitar nowadays, and the trem in your RG would be an Original Edge tremolo. Congratulations on getting it for so little by the way! (And yes, the RG is a super-strat shape)

I'd advice you to sell off the Xiphos to further help you get a good budget for fixing your RG up with some new pickups. Bareknuckle Pickups are supposedly wonderful ones. Google it up, and send them an email, they should be able to fix you something good, but I've heard in different forums that the Miracle Man set would be the best one for a basswood guitar.

From DiMarzio, I've tried out the PAF Pro, and the Evolution set. PAF Pro was decent enough, though the guitar itself was pretty shitty too. The Evolution set is in my Ibanez S570b, which however is a mahogany guitar, but it sounds great I think. The bass however is a bit of a disappointment, and it's a demanding pickup set overall, which could be both a good and a bad thing. It's hard to play a guitar with Evolution pickups, but your technique will flourish if you practice it properly. The satisfaction of being able to squeeze out a pinch harmonic on the neck pickup for instance is fantastic!

When it comes to DiMarzio, maybe you could try out a Steve's Special (scooped out in a pretty cool way) or a Super 3 (a super distortion they've rolled of a bit of treble, and cranked a little bit) in the bridge, and a Breed Neck pickup for the neck. For single coil, Im not so sure though.. Maybe a Chopper?

Seymour Duncan Im not so well informed about, but maybe Alternative 8 for bridge, and a Full Shred for the neck? Single coil I have no idea about... Maybe their YJM model?
Quote by Wisthekiller
How does one safely remove the smell of a corpse from a banjo?
#4
Used jp6. Can't go wrong if you are lucky and find someone who wants to sell one with Piezo. It will be your one-for-all guitar, I promise thee.
ich bin indeed ein sprechender panda, how are you?
Music student, Jazz/Classical/Prog
Music Man JP6 BFR, Ibanez S7420, Fender American Standard, Ibanez EW35 acoustic, 6505+
#5
^Any of the JP models will do you well, promise. Music Man's quality is fantastic aswell, and will definitely be what you need.
Where's Waldo?
#6
Thanks for the feedback folks!

I think the idea of a JP6 probably isn't worth thinking about. It's 60% more than my absolute max budget, and I'd imagine they hold their value if they're kept in good condition so a second-hand one in my budget is likely to be blemished in some way. Generally I'm all for getting second-hand stuff, but with a guitar for over a grand (of the ilk that I'm after, not vintage stuff etc) I get the impression that a lot of what you pay for is the finish. Of course I may try one and change my tune... but I'm not going to go out of my way to find a local shop with one I can try.

By the way i also own a Xiphos with the 27frets and i find that the edge is the worst tremelo system i've tried

The Edge III = very bad. My Edge on the 11-year-old RG is fantastic. Regarding the BC Rich guitars, they look (on paper) like they would be a move sideways, not really getting me much more guitar than I've already got. I've seen a video with the Jackson Demmelition King V and playing whilst sat down looks a bit awkward - how have you found playing your Vs compared to the Xiphos when sat down and when stood up?

Regarding going down the pickups for my RG route - this seems like the most sensible option. It's a frame I know I really like, and it's reliable. Is there any way I could patch up the body to look 'like new'? I've got a big chip on one of the horns which, if I was spending money from the sale of my Xiphos on it, I'd be interested in getting repaired if it was possible. My one reservation though, is will the sound be 'limited' by the body at all? I've essentially got an old version of this:

http://www.ibanez.com/ElectricGuitars/model-RG1570

£715+ from a quick google shopping search. Mine's a 3pc wizard neck though I think. The RG3570 prestige is about £1200, and as far as I can tell the only difference is the pickups... is this right?

It's interesting what you said about the DiMarzio Evolution set being 'demanding'. I do find that the DiMarzios in the Xiphos (which sound nice) sound ever so slightly like they are compressing the sound, as they sustain quite well up to a certain point where there is a relatively abrupt drop-off. Is that the kind of thing you mean when you say they're hard to play?

I think I might go to a guitar shop and try a load of different things now
#7
The RG3570 prestige is about £1200, and as far as I can tell the only difference is the pickups... is this right?


No, it's not. The 3570 has an Edge Zero tremolo, which personally I concider a bit of a let down. The 3570 does however have a Super Wizard neck, which is the kind of neck you have right now, even though yours is a 3pc, and the 3570 is 5pc.

When it comes to making your guitar look like new, I'd advice you to find yourself a good luthier around your area, and ask him/her how much it would cost to sand the body down, and repaint it. It would probably be ridiculously hard to make it look good by patching up with new paint, while you still have the old one left, but Im inexperienced in that field.

Is that the kind of thing you mean when you say they're hard to play?


No, it isn't. If anything you're gonna be getting feedback instead.
What Im meaning, is that any mistakes you do, poorly muted strings and stuff like that, jump out right at you. DiMarzio themselves warn people that "the Evolution pickups are not for the inexperienced..." It's one of DiMarzios pickups with highest output, and overall very high treble/presence, which might be the reason for it being so hard to control. Also the cleans aren't very good on the Evolution Bridge. If good cleans are a Must, then I'd rather say to go for a Breed Bridge. Not as hot and spikey as the Evolution. Think of it as a PAF with more of everything.

And do go to a guitar shop! That's one of the really fun parts of being a guitarist I think. Have fun!
Quote by Wisthekiller
How does one safely remove the smell of a corpse from a banjo?