#1
Hey guys,
Is it worth uprading my first guitar? It is an Ibanez RG421-WK (Made in Indonesia). I have already bought Schaller strap locks for it because it almost fell to the ground with the standard strap buttons.
Thank god, I catched it quickly.
I know that it has a very plain appearance but it means a lot to me and feels very comfortable to play. It may be due to me being used to it, but I like the feeling of the neck and body and the weight of the guitar. I was thinking about getting Inlay stickers, because the standard inlays look boring and definitely want to upgrade the pickups. Depending on the inlay stickers I'd get, I may also buy new pickup rings and a new bridge because the color has already started to wear off on those. Would it all be worth it though? I heard that it depends on the quality of the wood but I can't really judge that..
That's the guitar:

Last edited by juvion at Oct 11, 2016,
#2
Forget the quality of the wood, if it works, it works. If you like the guitar enough to want do some cosmetic upgrades, go for it. Just remember that you won't recover that cost if you want to sell it.
Last edited by Tony Done at Oct 11, 2016,
#3
Quote by Tony Done
Forget the quality of the wood, if it works, it works. If you like the guitar enough to want do some cosmetic upgrades, go for it. Just remember that you won't recover that cost if you want to sell it.


I know that I won't recover the costs.
It's special to me though because it is the guitar that got me into playing. Thanks for your answer!
#4
yeah if you're not going to sell it because it's your first guitar it's worth getting it upgraded so you like it more. just as tony rightly says, always keep in mind that you won't recoup the costs. it might be worth looking at good-value upgrades (so, for example, cheaper pickups which still have a good rep and which are known to punch well above their weight for what they cost) so you don't waste too much money, though you also need to be careful you don't end up with a compromise which doesn't sound as good as you'd like because you cheaped out, which is arguably an even bigger waste of money.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

Last edited by Dave_Mc at Oct 11, 2016,
#6
Quote by dspellman
Worth it? No.
Do it anyway? Why not?


he speaketh the truth.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

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alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.


***"What Trashed Hoards"*** (updated 2016-11-27)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#7
Quote by dspellman
Worth it? No.
Do it anyway? Why not?


Not worth it in the sense of getting money back or worth in the sense of "You'd be better off buying a new guitar instead"? Or both?
Last edited by juvion at Oct 12, 2016,
#8
You can modify the guitar however you want. Just don't expect any value to be added to the guitar in doing so.

I think replacing the pickups is something all the lower end Ibanez guitars will benefit from. But doing that is going to be pointless if you don't have a good amp first. I'd forget about the inlay stickers, they tend to look pretty cheesy. You can sometimes even tell that they're stickers just by how they're designed too as the pattern of the stickers appear too conveniently placed to cover up where a dot inlay would go. Especially on the 12th and 24th frets.

Buying a new guitar is better as a long term solution.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Oct 12, 2016,
#9
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
You can modify the guitar however you want. Just don't expect any value to be added to the guitar in doing so.

I think replacing the pickups is something all the lower end Ibanez guitars will benefit from. But doing that is going to be pointless if you don't have a good amp first. I'd forget about the inlay stickers, they tend to look pretty cheesy. You can sometimes even tell that they're stickers just by how they're designed too as the pattern of the stickers appear too conveniently placed to cover up where a dot inlay would go. Especially on the 12th and 24th frets.

Buying a new guitar is better as a long term solution.


Really? I feared that they'd look cheap. :/
I'll be getting a second guitar anyways because I love Les Pauls.
If buying a new guitar that fully replaces my first one is a better longterm solution, I'd still have a use for my Ibanez though. My little brother wants to play electric guitar but my mother won't buy him one. I was planning to buy him a Squier that plays well (after testing it myself ofc) but I could give him my Ibanez when I get a new guitar instead.
A new amp will be bought anyways, regardless of whether I keep the guitar or not.
Last edited by juvion at Oct 12, 2016,
#10
Not all inlay stickers look terrible, it depends on which ones you get. I just don't find the idea of using stickers appealing.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
#11
Yeah I have yet to see any stickers of any kind look good on a guitar. It just makes it look like a toy.

Like others have said, if you aren't going to sell it and you have some spare cash to mod it then go for it. It isn't going to magically become a significantly better instrument but it will be a bit of fun and will make it more unique.
#12
Quote by juvion
Not worth it in the sense of getting money back or worth in the sense of "You'd be better off buying a new guitar instead"? Or both?


You definitely won't get the money back.

There's a moron on either the local Craigs or eBay who took a $225 Agile AL-2000, swapped out the pickups and tacked on a Bigsby, is claiming to have spent over $800 on the guitar and now wants $550 for it. Won't happen.

On the other hand, I'm the moron who had a $200 B-stock ($400 without the finish issues) and who had the frets superglued and PLEK'd. The guitar now plays as well as any custom masterpiece, but I'll never get that money back should I try to sell it, and I'm well aware of it.

There's also this: What you consider upgrades (because, after all, you're spending money on the pieces) might be considered "sidegrades" or even "downgrades" by someone looking for an original instrument. The guy, above, who swapped out the pickups, replaced humbuckers with P90's. That would be a downgrade to a potential buyer who doesn't want to deal with the extra noise. Adding a Bigsby downgrades most guitars for me; they don't offer a lot of trem action and they can easily throw the guitar out of tune. And it's a big clunky piece of metal on the bottom of your guitar. In short, I'm not a fan. And if I'd been looking for a good example of that particular guitar and ran into aftermarket P90's and a Bigsby, I'm *definitely* not interested in paying extra for those items. Especially not when I can find an original guitar (which is what I was really looking for; I'll add my *own* upgrades, thank you very much) for $175 or less.
#13
Quote by dspellman
You definitely won't get the money back.

There's a moron on either the local Craigs or eBay who took a $225 Agile AL-2000, swapped out the pickups and tacked on a Bigsby, is claiming to have spent over $800 on the guitar and now wants $550 for it. Won't happen.

On the other hand, I'm the moron who had a $200 B-stock ($400 without the finish issues) and who had the frets superglued and PLEK'd. The guitar now plays as well as any custom masterpiece, but I'll never get that money back should I try to sell it, and I'm well aware of it.

There's also this: What you consider upgrades (because, after all, you're spending money on the pieces) might be considered "sidegrades" or even "downgrades" by someone looking for an original instrument. The guy, above, who swapped out the pickups, replaced humbuckers with P90's. That would be a downgrade to a potential buyer who doesn't want to deal with the extra noise. Adding a Bigsby downgrades most guitars for me; they don't offer a lot of trem action and they can easily throw the guitar out of tune. And it's a big clunky piece of metal on the bottom of your guitar. In short, I'm not a fan. And if I'd been looking for a good example of that particular guitar and ran into aftermarket P90's and a Bigsby, I'm *definitely* not interested in paying extra for those items. Especially not when I can find an original guitar (which is what I was really looking for; I'll add my *own* upgrades, thank you very much) for $175 or less.


Yep, I know that I won't get the money back.
If I was planning to sell it, I'd never upgrade anything on it.
I'm more curious on whether a pickup change is going to make it's tone at least comparable with more expensive guitars.
If it isn't, I won't be happy with it in the long term.
I'll probably buy either a Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus or a ~1000Euro Gibson (2015 Classics and Traditionals sell for 1100 to 1300 euros new where I live) in a few months and it would suck if I wouldn't even touch my Ibanez after getting a new guitar although I spend money on the upgrades. (Not saying that it should sound similar, but it should have a tone that I love)
#14
Quote by juvion

I'm more curious on whether a pickup change is going to make it's tone at least comparable with more expensive guitars.
If it isn't, I won't be happy with it in the long term.


Yeah. the big problem is that it's hard to know for sure until you try it.

I guess, although people (including me) have been saying that you won't get your money back on upgrades, if you keep all the stock parts, if it doesn't work the way you want you can always put the stock pickups back in and sell the new upgrade pickups separately. you'll still lose a bit, but not as much.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#15
Quote by juvion

I'm more curious on whether a pickup change is going to make it's tone at least comparable with more expensive guitars.
If it isn't, I won't be happy with it in the long term.


There's no way to know. Simply splashing out money on different coil wire and magnets guarantees nothing.

There's also this (and I know you've heard it mentioned). Your choice of amp will make a major difference in how your overall rig sounds. There's no guarantee of high end sound by buying an expensive amp, either, by the way. I've wandered through the amps and cabinets available on various Multi-FX/modelers with a given guitar and have had a few "AHA!" moments when a combination of guitar, amp and cabinet has suddenly sounded spectacular. It's pretty difficult to set up anywhere with a row of amps that are likely candidates so that you can compare them, much less at live volumes. There are also difficulties in miking a cabinet (usually a single speaker in a specific spot) and getting it to sound like what you hear live onstage or live in your bedroom arena.

If you KNOW that a specific combination will produce what you're looking for, then spending the money makes sense. Taking random advice from an Interwebs forum and buying random pickups? Not so much.
#16
Quote by Dave_Mc

I guess, although people (including me) have been saying that you won't get your money back on upgrades, if you keep all the stock parts, if it doesn't work the way you want you can always put the stock pickups back in and sell the new upgrade pickups separately. you'll still lose a bit, but not as much.


I've purchased a couple of guitars where the owner has touted things as "all original," and has done this. Pisses me off. In one case, I got a guitar that had an inoperative middle pickup and where the neck pickup seemed to be shorting out. I opened the control cavity and pulled the pickups, rolled my eyes and just kept pulling. In one case, instead of unsoldering the pickups at the pots, the guy clipped the old pickups out, leaving about three inches of lead. It's just a lazy thing to do and no one competent would ever do that. He soldered the 3" of lead onto the old wires and called it a day, assuming no one would ever check, I guess. Things were so badly done that I ended up having to toss everything electronic and buy new stock pickups and pots and return the guitar to original spec.

These days I have "all original" owners swear on several sets of bibles that they've never touched the innards. I think I have an agreement around here that if I DO discover that some slag has been at the wiring, I'm permitted to remove their original internal organs and then have them replaced with exactly the same workmanship that the guitar exhibited, and we'll still be able to call them all original...
#17
Just do it already! Budget Ibanez guitars are ideal for upgrading. I'd start with changin the bridge pickup as the stock pickups tend to be bad. If you do it yourself then you'll find out that playing the guitar isn't the only fun part about the guitar. Grtz
#18
Quote by dspellman
I've purchased a couple of guitars where the owner has touted things as "all original," and has done this. Pisses me off. In one case, I got a guitar that had an inoperative middle pickup and where the neck pickup seemed to be shorting out. I opened the control cavity and pulled the pickups, rolled my eyes and just kept pulling. In one case, instead of unsoldering the pickups at the pots, the guy clipped the old pickups out, leaving about three inches of lead. It's just a lazy thing to do and no one competent would ever do that. He soldered the 3" of lead onto the old wires and called it a day, assuming no one would ever check, I guess. Things were so badly done that I ended up having to toss everything electronic and buy new stock pickups and pots and return the guitar to original spec.

These days I have "all original" owners swear on several sets of bibles that they've never touched the innards. I think I have an agreement around here that if I DO discover that some slag has been at the wiring, I'm permitted to remove their original internal organs and then have them replaced with exactly the same workmanship that the guitar exhibited, and we'll still be able to call them all original...


oh yeah absolutely, that sucks. i meant to put it back to stock competently, of course.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#20
i have yet to sell a guitar *with* a mod. i put them back to stock, but i am competent. saying that i have drawers and drawers of stuff i have pulled off of guitars over the years that i still own.

again on the fret inlay deal (i haven't tried it) i don't think that it would be a good idea.

if you want it to feel 'more expensive' ditch it and get something else, or alternately do what Spellman says and get it set up really well if you are going to keep it forever.

the only things that 'I' would do if i wanted to fix up a cheap guitar would be graphtech saddles (i see you have a hardtail), pickups, and electronics. the tuners don't need to be changed unless they don't function.

but 'I' wouldn't dump the money into it.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.


***"What Trashed Hoards"*** (updated 2016-11-27)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#21
Quote by Tony Done
Dave_Mc

Then you could say "all original except solder".


haha
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?