Hey, here's a crazy story about an Ibanez; my father bought a brand new AR-1505 AV in 1983 and ended up selling it on consignment for around $600 in 2007! I have seen a page stating that those were quite rare and sought after. I can only imagine what it may go for today...
Yeah, that AR1505 is one you don't see too often. It's one of very few (or maybe the only) Artist series guitar with a spruce top and also a Brazilian (rather than the much more common Indian) rosewood fretboard. That's a model we don't yet have documented here. At present our coverage only goes back to about 1987.
That guitar is probably worth somewhere around $1500 today. Of course, as heavy as those Artists are, you father would probably need back surgery by now if he'd kept and played it regularly.
Wow, I didn't know it had a Brazilian board! Jeez... I better not tell him how rare it really was! I always loved the Violin Sunburst, what a finish... I recall it being hefty, but not any more than a LP. He just bought a new AR-420, also Violin SB, and I was VERY impressed, it was set up almost spot on from the factory. I lowered the action a hair and could not improve it any other way. And the stock pickups sound awesome. Usually pickups are the weak point on guitars under 1 grand, especially from China. If I didn't know better, I would have guessed it was Japanese.
I was trying to find out what magnets the PUPs (in the new one) use, as I read they aren't the same as the Super 58s on Japanese models. Some said ceramic, some said Alnico 2 to 5. To my ear, they sound like A3s... any idea?
That's pretty amazing to find any guitar with a decent setup from the factory (or the retailer) these days. I haven't looked to closely at any of the new Chinese-made Artists, but it's good to hear a vote of confidence.
The Super 58s have traditionally used Alnico 3 magnets. I'm sure there are some differences between the ones made in China, but I'd expect they have the same basic components. Unfortunately, Ibanez seems to guard information about their pickups like they're state secrets, so getting details like this is tricky.
By the way, your pop's old AR1505 had Super 58 Jazz pickups, which also makes it unique. I'm not sure what the difference is; likely just a different wind. I think the old Joe Pass signature hollow bodies used the same pups.
Huh, maybe lower output? I never got to plug that one in, but I remember it played fantastically (duh). I wish I could get it back for him, but if I found one, I bet they would be asking crazy money. I saw a 2005 AR3000 asking $2500!
It may have been a result of Sweetwater's 55-point check, but it must have been pretty good from the factory, as I doubt they can really spend much time on each guitar they sell.
Oh, and I found a GR-220 with a Samick serial here:
There's actually an AR1505 for $1300 on Reverb at the moment. It looks like it's got its share of dings and finish issues, but doesn't seem too bad considering its age.
As for the Ghostriders, my research seems to reveal that they were ALL made by Samick in 1994 and 1995 (I'm not sure where the MIJ information we had previously came from). For 1996, production moved to Cort for some reason. Didn't Samick have some financial issues around that time? Perhaps that is the reason for the change.
Anyway, I think we've got the GR production sorted out now. Thanks for setting us straight.
No kidding, look at that! Only missing those cool knobs with the rubber strip. The way it's chipped almost looks like Poly, is that right?
When I was a kid, I thought the Abalone figuring were designs, one kind of looked like a beach with a palm tree to me, haha.
Yeah, they went bankrupt in '96. I have also heard they weren't satisfied with the QC, which I will admit was sloppy sometimes... whoever put on their tuners must have been a blind drunk with Parkinsons. I like them as platforms for upgrading, because they're cheap and the bodies and fretwork are well done (They were tutored by Tokai, Matsumoku and Gibson, after all). They also got away with copying Gibson designs longer than anyone else, haha.
I always thought that these Artists (particularly in that vintage) would have had nitro finishes, but you're right that those dings look more typical of what you'd see with poly. Speaking of the knobs with the "rubber" strip, your description is closer than you might think. Turns out that Ibanez went to a condom manufacturer to get the formulation for those latex grips on their knobs. ;)
I love the looks of those abalone and pearl block inlays as well. I never imagined designs in them, but now that you mention palm trees, I can see that with the particular lean of the design.