Like most Musician models, the MC550 features neck through body construction. It has body wings made up of an ash core sandwiched between two layers of koa on a seven-piece rock maple neck with a 24-fret ebony fingerboard with pearloid dot position markers. Components include a pair of Ibanez Super 88 humbucking pickups mounted in integrated plastic covers, a Tune-o-matic style Gibraltar bridge and tailpiece with scalloped "cloud" ornament, a bone and brass nut, rubberized Sure Grip control knobs and VelveTune machine heads.
The MC550 has active electronics consisting of a master volume and tone control, a gain (EQ boost/ cut) control, a 3-band EQ (bass, mid and treble), a Tri-sound switch to allow each pickup to be coil split or reverse phase, and an EQ on/off toggle with an LED indicator. Ibanez refers to this configuration as the EQ Tone System.
For 1982, the pickups were replaced with Super 58s mounted in traditional plastic pickup rings and the shape of the body was changed subtly with a slightly more prominent upper horn and a bit more aggressive roundover on the body.
The MC350 is a related model with a mahogany top and back and with passive electronics.
The MC550 was discontinued after 1982 along with the entire Musician series. It is believed that 465 MC550s were produced over the model's two year run.