Ibanez RG 2550 EGK

Introduction

I got this guitar while on a business trip to USA on 2007. After having it for over 3 years I thought it’s not a bad idea to share my experience with it. Ibanez Prestige are supposed to be top of the line models, made in Japan, better hardware/electronics quality, faster necks, etc. I would divide all Prestige models into few categories by price and features:

  • Entry level: the same hardware and neck as other models, but cheaper Ibanez pickups and boring finish
  • Mid-range: the same as above, but with genuine DiMarzio pickups
  • High end: fancy finish, stained maple tops
  • Signature models: offer about the same features as mid-range models but cost more than high end because of the signature
  • J-Custom: more luxurious and more expensive than other models

With it’s features and price RG2550EGK fits nicely into mid-range category. Back in 2007 it cost 900$, but it’s successors cost more for some reason.

Ibanez RG2550EGK

Features
  • Edge Pro tremolo
  • DiMarzio/IBZ pickups
  • 5 piece wizard neck 18mm thick at the nut
  • Rosewood fingerboard with wedge sharktooth inlays
  • Basswood body
  • Cosmo black hardware
Similar models

I considered few other models with similar prices:

  • RG550 20th anniversary: cost the same but with Ibanez pickups, cheaper case and old style neck joint. Neck is even thinner than modern wizard which may or may not be a good thing.
  • RG1570: with Ibanez pickups and no pickguard, but cost 150$ less. This is a great choice if you plan to swap the pickups sooner rather than later because everything else is the same as on more expensive models. I see that now they cost a grand which is ridiculous compared to 750% back in 2007.
  • RG2570: no pickguard and weird textured finish, everything else is the same.
What I like about it?
  • Edge Pro tremolo system. It stays in tune, works great and is comfortable to hand for palm muting.
  • Pickups are very decent for rock and metal. Eventually I replaced them, but they are not bad at all. For more info see pickup upgrade page.
  • Neck is great. 5 piece construction is much better than single piece or even skunk stripe. 3 pieces of maple with two walnut veneers sandwiched in between make a very solid neck. It’s been three years and no sign of twisting or bending. Also, white binding gives it a nice touch. 2007 models have thicker necks than original 1897 RG. I tried JEM once and it had very similar neck shape.
  • Build quality is top notch. Wood for neck has parallel grain along the length of the neck without any knots, to ensure stability. Electronics cavity is completely shielded using conductive paint and pickguard is covered with aluminum tape from the inside.
  • Pot and switch quality is decent. After 3 years volume pot can sometimes be a bit scratchy. I will replace the pots with bourns sealed guitar pots because I’m curious to try them, but they can most likely be fixed with cleaner. Volume pot has a 330pF treble bleed cap which works well for most of volume pot range. With lowest settings (below 2 or so), it can get a bit bright because pot doesn’t let much of the signal through but cap does. When I swap the pots I’ll try treble bleed variation from kinman with 1nF cap and 150k resistor in series. The resistor should reduce effect of the cap and make it work better for lower volume settings.
  • Factory setup is quite decent, it was playable right out of the box. I took the nut shims out to lower the action a bit more. It was reasonably low from the factory, but I wanted it lower 🙂
What I don’t like about it?
  • Cosmo black hardware. Plating wears out so quickly, as it was chocolate frosting and not an actual metal plating. And it doesn’t look that great IMO to start with. Plain black or chrome seem like better options, more durable and look better to me.
  • Color is nothing to write home about, just another metallic black.
  • Pickguard is kinda boring, it would be much better with a real mirror pickguard. I saw some pix on the web from the guy who swapped it for mirror pickguard and looks awesome.
  • I like guitars with pickguards but every time I want to mess with electronics I regret it because strings and pickguard need to be removed first. xx70 models have rear mounted electronics, so if you want to play with wiring often consider them before xx50 models.
  • Case is great, but I wish you could close it with the trem arm installed. Music Man cases can do that, too bad Ibanez can’t 🙁
Conclusion

Most of RG prestige are very similar. What takes them apart is finish and pickup choice. Most people end up swapping the pickups after a while anyways so that shouldn’t be that important factor when buying a guitar. Any pickups on prestige guitars are good enough to provide a year or two of fun. If you’re on the market for an RG, get the one that has the neck dimensions you like and color that you like. Construction, build quality and hardware is pretty much the same on all models in that price range, so you can’t make a mistake there.

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    The idea behind this site is to share my experience with Do It Yourself approach to guitars, amplifiers and pedals. Whether you want to save a couple of bucks by performing a mod or upgrade yourself instead of paying a tech, or want to build your own piece of gear from scratch, I'm sure you will find something interesting here. Also, this is the home of DIY Layout Creator, a free piece of software for drawing circuit layouts and schematics, written with DIY enthusiasts in mind.