This guitar was an impulse and a fun one by that! During someone’s birthday (early 2010) I started a chat with an ex-bandmember of the birthday-boy and he told me about this mail-order Explorer of decent quality and bizar low pricing by Wesley Guitars. Being a Metallica fan since age 9 I always wanted to rock an Explorer Hetfield-style, but it just never happened after my interest shifted to superstrats. This was a cool opportunity to rock my childhood back into life! Continue reading Wesley Explorer
Around the age of 14 I was really into Dream Theater, Steve Vai, Sun Caged and Joe Satriani. They all used more versatile instruments than my gold Les Paul, my main axe at the time. With some encouragement from my guitar teacher at the time I started my search for a guitar with a Floyd Rose tremolo, both humbucker AND single coil sounds and 24 frets. Continue reading Ibanez RG550
This guitar represents pure love. It made so many good memories that it’s not that hard to name it my absolute favourite.
Life for this guitar began in 2010 when I got the assignment to make a thesis for my study at Codarts. I decided to look into the current guitar market and find my absolute ultimate guitar. Two pages in I already discovered that such an instrument does simply not exist yet (although a lot of Ibanez RG’s come very close I must admit). One of my coaches jokingly hinted that it would be cool if I could present my custom-build instrument a year later. Being a fan of Brian May and his Red Special story for years I realised this was my shot at creating a seriously decent and usable guitar for the first time! Needless to say I took the challenge. 😉
I expected I would fail quite badly so the idea of destroying a beautiful piece of quilted maple by my lack of skill felt like a mistake, so I went for some cheap and simple options like a readily made and fretted neck and an oak coffee table for the body. I needed 24 frets, two humbuckers with coil split sounds under the same switch and a Floyd Rose tremolo. Most of these features were present on the Ibanez RG420E that I tried at the time so it made sense to me that I’d simply order all the electronics and pickups from that instrument.
I still don’t have ‘proper’ guitarbuilding tools so all was done with a router, a jigsaw, a drill and a few spokeshaves, rasps and files. I took the dimensions of my Ibanez RG’s and altered the shape of the body to taste from those references. All that labour was done in the second half of 2010.
To my surprise everything worked, it all held together and I could play it! Not only that, it sounded and felt great! It’s quite a bizar experience to play your firstbuild for the first time. It didn’t have the enormous wow-factor I expected but you spend endless days and hours touching, tweaking and learning the instrument so naturally some of it’s wow will be eliminated because you know it so well already.
Since then I’ve used this instrument for all sorts of stuff: SNOW, Turn GPS, Equisa, Nuclear Sushi, studio recordings, etc. To this day it’s still my first go-to guitar. It had a few updates as the knife-edges of the original Boston Floyd Rose totally worn out. Now it sports a lovely Gotoh System and nut accented with a D-Tuna.
In a long relationship you eventually get past the butterfly phase and get to a deep state of knowing and respecting each other. From the moment this guitar was born I was in the second phase. Because of the somewhat chunky neck and it’s weight it might not be my most comfortable guitar, yet it is because I know my way around it better than any other guitar I won or have owned since.
This guitar only has a short story connected my guitar hoarding confession.
Because really, I didn’t need this guitar at all. It’s cheaply made from cheap materials and in terms of features I owned loads of more interesting guitars. I do however like to visit the local pawn shop once in a while to see if there’s some sort of deal to be made on an oddity such as this funny thing. You see, they don’t get guitar values at all. I’ve seen terrible pieces of junk for triple their value (and not dropping for 5 years!) and little gems for absolute steals!
This one I got for only € 20,- and it was just missing a string, a switch tip and needed a clean-up. The neck is probably maple, fingerboard probably rosewood and the body was definitely plywood. 2 stock humbuckers, master volume, master tone and a 3-way toggle switch. I put a new set of strings on it, did a setup, had a tiny bit of fun with it and sold it with a little profit. My memories with this guitar might be few and short, but they are nice!