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> Old Japanese Guitars
Kuba Szafran
post Aug 26 2008, 09:20 AM
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Does anyone own here any old japanese guitars? What do you think about them and what are your experiences with them?


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Aug 26 2008, 12:06 PM
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I don't have that much experience with them, but I heard only good words about them, specially the build quality. Vintage Jap Strats are something that can sound very good, and I once almost buy a vintage left-hand jap strat for 300$ that sounded great, almost like USA one, and no kidding.


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Kuba Szafran
post Aug 26 2008, 12:11 PM
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I owe one, and hopefuly you're gonna see it soon. It is a 1975 Ibanez Stratocaster. I bought it for 500-600$ and it's a terrific guitar. The neck is not too thick, but very comfortable. Don't know what stock pickups were, but atm I have 2 schaller single coils and dimarzio fast track 2. It sounds really great, typical fender sound smile.gif


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Scott Gentzen
post Aug 26 2008, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE (KubaSzafran @ Aug 26 2008, 04:20 AM) *
Does anyone own here any old japanese guitars? What do you think about them and what are your experiences with them?


I have a 1984 Ibanez Roadstar RS440. (Pic below) I snagged it on EBay for ~$200 almost a year ago. There was a ton of different configurations for the Roadstars. Mine's a fat Strat configuration (S-S-H) with the "Pro Rok'r" bridge and rosewood fretboard. As far as I can tell, everything's original, except maybe the pickguard. It weighs in at around 9.5lbs.

I like it, but it has a couple of issues. The 5-way switch or part of the wiring is bad, I think so really, only the 5 position (humbucker) is reliable, 1, 3 and 4 are OK but flakey and 2 is unusable.

Ibanez didn't really start using Floyd licensed bridges til the late 80's. The Pro Rok'r was their preferred bridge at the time. It has a locking nut (though the pads are missing on mine and the lock's not actually on the nut, so it doesn't count) as complicated as a Floyd, isn't floating (no pull up) and doesn't seem to return to pitch too well. So I have it blocked off and am not using it. Looking into seeing what it'll cost to get a Floyd installed.

Aside from that, I really like it. It's solid. Built like a tank. Looks like it's been through a lot (logs of dings and chips in the finish). I like that it's comfortable, and it's not a guitar I have to baby. It's banged up, old and isn't ever going to be worth anything. If I don't like the pickups, I can replace them b/c there's no reason to keep it original if I don't want to...

The humbucker sounds really good. I'm reserving judgement on the single coils til I get the wiring fixed. It seems to go pretty much from a nasty, loud humbucker sound to a pretty clean single coil sound though.

The neck feels a bit like modern Wizard necks but it's just slightly thicker...modern Wizard necks seem a little flattened to me in the middle of the back of the neck...the Roadstar's is more rounded. The back of the neck has the same thick poly finish as the rest of the body so it gets a little sticky moving around on it.

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Guitars: ESP Semi-Hollow Eclipse, 1984 Ibanez Roadstar RS440, Peavey T-60, Daisy Rock Rock Candy Custom
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Kuba Szafran
post Aug 26 2008, 05:53 PM
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My friend has the same model of Ibanez as you. You're right, it's pretty solid, but we had some problems with restringing the guitar. It was kind of difficult to pull the string through the locking nut (it's pretty weird).


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Scott Gentzen
post Aug 26 2008, 06:15 PM
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QUOTE (KubaSzafran @ Aug 26 2008, 12:53 PM) *
My friend has the same model of Ibanez as you. You're right, it's pretty solid, but we had some problems with restringing the guitar. It was kind of difficult to pull the string through the locking nut (it's pretty weird).


It is a little tough. I'd think it's easier if you had the pads in the lock. Here's how I do it:

Run the string over the nut and into the locking piece. When the tip of the string enters the locking piece, I push down on the string a little bit with a closed pair of needle nose pliers. When you push down, the string pivots on the nut on one side and the leading edge of the lock on the other and if you do it right (takes some work to get a feel for it) pushes the tip of the string up high enough for it to slip right out the back of the lock and up to the tuning posts.

Down by the bridge, I don't think there's any good way to make that any easier. You have to unscrew those posts all the way to get the old string out and then anchor the new string in. Ugh.


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Guitars: ESP Semi-Hollow Eclipse, 1984 Ibanez Roadstar RS440, Peavey T-60, Daisy Rock Rock Candy Custom
Amps: Peavey Transformer 112, Epiphone Valve Jr head with custom 2x12 cab
Pedals: Boss TU-2, Budda Bud-Wah, Chuck Collins Harmonic Percolator clone
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