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For other RG550 models, see RG550 (disambiguation).
RG550 RF 88.jpg
RG550 Road Flare (more images) Red copyright sprite.png

The RG550 is an RG series solid body electric guitar model introduced by Ibanez in 1987. It was initially part of the Roadstar Deluxe series which eventually became the RG series.

The RG550 was the first RG featuring the new body shape which was designed based on input from Steve Vai in designing his first signature Ibanez model, the JEM777. The RG550 was introduced as a more affordable alternative for the JEM777.

The RG550 shares the same basic design and dimensions of the JEM, but eschews some of the JEMs more distinctive features such as the monkey grip and the lion's claw tremolo rout. These changes were made both to make the JEM more distinctive but also with and eye toward reducing production costs.

Like the JEM, the RG550 has a basswood body, a thin maple neck and a double locking Floyd Rose style tremolo bridge. Instead of the JEM's DiMarzio pickups, the RG550 is equipped with American designed Ibanez Vintage pickups. In place of the JEM's disappearing pyramid fretboard inlays, the RG550 has simple dots.

For 1990 the volume pot was relocated slightly further from the bridge pickup to prevent interference with the tremolo bar. The pickups also received a visual update with new logos.

The original RG550 was discontinued after 1994. A new RG550 was introduced in 1997. In 1995 and 1996, a model based on the RG550 with rosewood fingerboard was issued for some areas as the RG550-R.

For the twentieth anniversary of the RG series in 2007, the 1987 RG550 was reissued as the RG550MXX (maple fingerboard) and RG550RXX (rosewood fingerboard). For 2013 another reissue was offered in Japan as part of the limited edition Genesis Collection.


Specifications for RG550 (1987–1994)
Model name: RG550
Year(s) produced: 1987–1994
Sold in: Worldwide
Made in: Japan
Finish(es): Atlantic Blue (AB) 1989 / Black (BK) / Blue (BU) 1992 / Candy Apple (CA) 1991–1994 / Coral Mist Metallic (CM) 1990 / Desert Sun Yellow (DY) / Electric Blue (EB) 1994 / Emerald Green (EG) 1992 / Five Alarm Red (FA) 1988–1989 / Heather Pearl (HP) 1989 / Jewel Blue (JB) 1990–1992 / Laser Blue (LB) 1990–1991 / Lipstick Red (LR) 1991–1992 / Purple Metallic (PM) 1990 / Purple Neon (PN) 1990–1991, 1994 / Road Flare (RF) 1987–1988 / White (WH) 1987–1992
Body type:
Solid body
Body material:
Neck joint:
1987–1993: Tilt joint
1994: AANJ
1987–1991: Edge tremolo
1992–1994: Lo-Pro Edge tremolo
AB & HP finishes: 3-ply white/ black/ white
Other finishes: 3-ply black/ white/ black
Knob style:
Plastic top hat
Hardware color:
Neck type:
Neck material:
1987–1991: 1-piece maple
1992–1994: 1-piece quartersawn maple
Scale length:
648mm/ 25½"
Fingerboard material:
1987–1989: Maple or rosewood
1990–1994: Maple
Fingerboard inlays:
24 / jumbo
Top-Lok III
Machine heads:
Gotoh SG38
Electronics/ Strings
Pickup configuration:
Bridge pickup:
1987–1993: Ibanez V2 (H)
1994: Ibanez V8 (H)
Middle pickup:
Ibanez S1 (S)
Neck pickup:
1987–1993: Ibanez V1 (H)
1994: Ibanez V7 (H)
Master volume / master tone / 5-way lever pickup selector
Factory tuning:
1E,2B,3G,4D,5A,6E (E Std.)

Fingerboard species

Until 1989, the RG550 came with a choice of either rosewood or maple fingerboard. Outside Japan, all black finished RG550s came with rosewood fingerboards while other finishes had maple fingerboards. In Japan, most finishes were available with rosewood or maple fingerboards. Some catalogs added an extra suffix for the fingerboard to distinguish the two, for example, a Desert Sun Yellow RG550 with maple as the RG550DY-M or a Five Alarm Red RG550 as the RG550FA-R (not to be confused with the RG550-R introduced in 1995).

After 1989 all RG550s have maple fingerboards.

67810539 2329990010599472 6341150266263339008 n.jpg
Example of ash RG body with Shou Sugi Ban charred finish Red copyright sprite.png

Matching headstocks

While most RG550s have headstocks which are painted to match the body, some 1989 and 1990 finishes, included Desert Sun Yellow, got black headstocks. After 1990, the color-matched headstocks returned for all finishes.

RG550 oddities

Although the vast majority of RG550s from this era are constructed of basswood, there have been a few, isolated examples of ash-bodied RGs which have been discovered when guitars were stripped for refinishing. No official explanation has been given for this, so it's not known whether this was due to experimentation or just a mix-up in the factory.

Several official ash-bodied RGs have been produced in the years since, including the RG547AH and the more recent RG652AHM.


Additional finishes/ details
1989 RG550 AB.png
Atlantic Blue
1991 RG550 BK-M.png
Black (maple)
RG550 BK 88.jpg
Black (rosewood)
1992 RG550 BU.png
1991 RG550 CA.png
Candy Apple
1990 RG550 CM.png
Coral Mist Metallic
1994 RG550 EB.png
Electric Blue
1992 RG550 EG.png
Emerald Green
1988 RG550 FA-M.png
Five Alarm (maple)
1989 RG550 FA-R.png
Five Alarm (rosewood)
1989 RG550 HP.png
Heather Pearl
1990 RG550 JB.png
Jewel Blue
RG550 LB 90.jpg
Laser Blue
1991 RG550 LR.jpg
Lipstick Red
1990 RG550 PM.png
Purple Metallic
1990 RG550 PN.png
Purple Neon
1987 RG550 WH.png
HSH 5-way both-splits.png
Pickup switching diagram
Controls VT5.png
Control layout


1991 Ibanez RG550 White