RS420SB review by Ibanez

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.9 (14 votes)
Ibanez: RS420SB

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
This guitar sounds unreal unplugged. Theres a certain ringing resonance to it that sounds like there are harmonics built into every note you play, all across the fretboard, with no buzzing of the strings whatsoever. To be honest though, i have not played with it through a tube amp as much as I would have liked, because my own amp is and has been broken for some time. But when I have played through my friends' solid state amps, it is a bit gainier than I would have liked, as if youre plugged into a tube screamer on the lowest possible gain setting. either way it sounds just as great plugged in as it does not. As far as manipulation of the sound of it, it can sound bassy, bright, smooth, or crunchy; honestly depending on how you play it, you can make it conform to any style of music.

Overall Impression — 10
I walked into guitar center because I was bored, saw this guitar and was immediately drawn to it. The simplicity its design, the uniqueness of its style, and the classic yet slightly altered Strat design (tapered arms and a sick headstock are the differences) had me wanting this thing so bad. I mean, I can't even complain about this guitars downfalls, they're so inconsequential compared to everything about this guitar, and all can be fixed easily (except maybe the tremolo, which really isn't an issue, since I can't find an arm for it). I'd go apeshi* if this thing were stolen, because I guarantee that I could not find another one ever again. I felt like I had to save this beautiful instrument from the hellhole that is guitar center, and today remains to be my favorite guitar hands down, which is saying quite a bit; my other one is a '74 SG.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I have played a few shows with this guitar, which proved pretty risky, as the toggle switch wiring is a bit on the fritz, working 90% of the time (it'll just cut out, but then you toggle it again and it works) and since there is a tone lock, you couldn't change tunings if you wanted to. If I were to change the hardware, the first thing I would definitely do is get some strap locks; the ones on it now are good, but are oddly shaped (kind of like a play button) and swivel around if you're not careful. The second would be to swap out the tremolo for a floyd rose, because the PRO-ROCKR does seem a bit sketch at times. It's extremely hard to use the tuning pegs at times, and essentially just seems like a vestigial novelty. Aside from these problems, it's extremely reliable and if I were to play a show where I didn't need to change tuning, I would use it. The finish and hardware has stayed strong for 27 years though, and I wouldn't expect that to change now.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Since I have bought it, I have made no changes other than adjustments on the tremolo to adjust action. It is still a bit on the high side, as I'm playing with .13's right now (maybe .12's? ) with a wound 3rd, so it's not unexpected. This doesn't really affect the playing though, and the guitar still sounds great. There is standard wear from 25+ years of handling, but the finish and hardware itself looks brand new, save a few rusting screws. These "issues" don't really hold any merit though, the guitar is in great condition and was fantastically crafted.

Features — 9
This is a seafoam green Ibanez Roadstar II made in Japan in 1985. It consists of a solid Strat-style basswood body with a bolt on maple neck and a dot inlay rosewood fretboard. Pickups are a passive double humbucker setup up with a single volume knob that boosts gain when pressed, as well as a 3-way toggle switch. This guitar sports a PRO-ROCKR 2 tremolo and a locking clamp for the tuners. I got the guitar used, so there was nothing else included, even the tremolo arm, which I don't really mind.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    300$ for ths beauty??? ok dude plz gimme th number of the fool that handed out this beauty of a guitar for only 300$.
    u r using 13's, what does that go to like 52 if i had this i would just put like 10's on, but an 85 japan made guitar for 300 one hell of a deal and u can buy a cheap tremelo no prob, it stays in tune right???
    User rating: 5.8 wtf UG doesn't recognise an excellent guitar. This is a roadster, for god's sake
    This is golden era Ibanez, way better than the current user rating of 6.1, I'd give it at least an 8.5 to 9, the basswood they used back then was pretty spectacular compared to what they have for their instruments today. The best Ibanez guitars are from the 80's IMO, late 70's are awesome, too. These can be found dirt cheap like the reviewer above paid, try one if you see it in a pawn shop or a local store, you'll be pleasantly surprised. I'd like to get one of those Korina Destroyers, like the one Eddie Van Halen butchered. Vintage Ibanez is where it's at.
    I've got a '86 Roadstar bass with active pickups thats pretty killer. Got it from a buddys girlfriend for $200. It came with the original case and manuals.
    @MarkoakaNiggaK couldnt help you there man it was in the used section at guitar center @CoreyTaylor721 i put heavy strings on because the tremolo layed flat even after i tried fixing it with 10's on, n yeah it stays in tune
    @MarkoakaNiggaK : there's a few in SoCal on Craigslist almost always, $200-400, though most with the simpler models, without the novelty tremolo, just standard stratlike or Floyd. @tmv91 : dude, you sure it isn't SUPPOSED to lay flat? It's probably just one of those one-way trems (where Floyds are two-way), sorta like an unrouted early Floyd or some strats. I'm sorta afraid you'll warp or break the neck with those 13s, and one less MIJ in the world... or, unless it's some REAALLY weird design without them, tried changing the number of tremolo springs? Remove one have the trem ride up (same effect as thicker strings), add one to lower it
    yeah aadieu youre right, its supposed to lay flat, im probably just gonna keep it unstrung until i can find a permanent fix like that