1985 Ibanez XV500
I’ve known about this model for a while, and it was my go-to when someone would ask something like “what’s the most ridiculous guitar you’ve seen?” While working for Colorvision, I happened to see an ad on my local craigslist at a very reasonable price. Generally, I only use craigslist when searching for something specific across all of craigslist, not just local postings, so this was a lucky find. After some quick scrambling, I spoke with the owner who was very amicable and we decided on a public meeting place and agreed on cash as the payment method. After having dinner, I came to a horrible realization: I had no ATM card. I called my brother, who I had intended to bring along anyway so I wasn’t alone, and he was nice enough to withdraw some cash for me and I returned the amount to him via paypal. My brother and I met the owner in the parking lot of a gas station along I-4. He had brought a tiny battery powered amp and a pick and let me play the guitar sitting in the back of his SUV for a moment - above and beyond what I would expect from any craigslist meetup. We both had a nice chat about cool guitars from the 80s, I paid him and took it home.
Made in Matsumoto, Japan, in 1985
Original MSRP: around $645 ($1500 adjusted for inflation)
Ibanez Pro Rock'R tremolo
H-H pickup configuration
Maxon V5 pickups in both positions
3-way toggle selector, master volume control
Serial number on neck plate
It’s quite the striking instrument, with a wild color and shape I could only imagine being cool in the 1980s. It plays very well, with high quality hardware and a nice feeling neck. It balances with the neck a little lower than your usual strat shapes, and it’s surprisingly comfortable to play sitting. The Maxon V5 pickups are the real highlight - they sound so good I would absolutely buy them as aftermarket pickups to swap into another guitar. The aggressive looking double bar magnets hide a medium-hot and well rounded pickup, nothing like what I was expecting (an X2N copy or similar).
I haven’t abused the tremolo as much as some other floyd equipped guitars, but this bridge is floating and handles polite down and up bends without issues. The trem arm is an original pop-in type. Locking nut is actually between the tuners and the nut, mounted to the face of the headstock. Tuners are nice quality with a smooth turn.
Interestingly, the single volume control knob is a plastic piece, despite appearing like a standard 80s era metal dome knob as many others have.