My Ibanez RX-20 story

I believe that every guitar has its own story. I know mine all do. But they can’t tell you their story because they’re made primarily from wood and not alive—just like Pinocchio. Thinking of Pinocchio, I wonder if every time a guitar lies it grows a thicker neck and a new string? If that was true, then an Ibanez eight string guitar would be a very untrustworthy character. An Ibanez six string guitar however would be an honest and hard-working guitar. Just like my Ibanez—my first real guitar.

I’d had several guitars before my Ibanez RX-20, but none that I loved (or decided to keep). The Ibanez was also the first brand of guitar that I’d intentionally sought out. I’d seen friends playing on Fender, Gibson and Ibanez to name a few. As a fan of the 80s metal scene, it was Ibanez I desired the most. So, in the mid-late 80s when I decided to buy my first new guitar, I headed straight to my local Ibanez dealer and tried some entry-level black Ibanez guitars.

When it comes to guitars (and this website), I have what could almost be called chromatophobia—fear of colours. Luckily for me, the RX-20 I found and fell in love with was black and white. Perfect. Over the years I’ve played this guitar, restrung this guitar and even replaced parts on this guitar. The parts added even more black to the mix. Here’s the rundown on the new gear added to the mix.

  • Black metal volume/tone controls
  • Black 3-way pickup selector knob
  • Black EMG active pickups (81/85)

EMGs. I’ve been asked a few times “Why?”

Quite simply, I love the look of them and I really wanted to experience active pickups. I love them. The only downside to the pickup change is the battery replacement process. As there is no rear access on the RX-20 (outside of the tremolo springs) the battery needs to be changed for the active pickups when strings are being changed/removed. The scratchplate is the only access point for that change. I’m happy to work with that because the sound is amazing.

This is the first real guitar I purchased. It is still one of my fastest guitars and I doubt I’ll ever part with it. I’m probably not finished customising it though. Stay tuned!

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