Ibanez Roadster to Roadstar

Ibanez Roadster to Roadstar

Guitar Gavel “Gear” Of The Week with Will Ray - 1962 Epiphone Sorrento reissue

Will likes this guitar for several reasons, but a standout are the mini-humbuckers. And it's lightweight, well under 6lbs.

2:35- Let's see what she can do.

Will featured this guitar in a Premier Guitar magazine Bottom Feeder column- https://www.premierguitar.com/gear/will-rays-bottom-feeder-epiphone-50th-anniversary-1962-sorrento-e452tdn-reissue

1979- In the beginning… Ibanez released their first offset double cut guitars that weren’t straight-up Strat copies. The two models were the Roadster 100 and 300, and arguably the main differentiators from a Strat were the direct mounted single coils. It was a nice try, but not nice enough and these were discontinued two years later.

The Blazer series was launched on top of the Roadster in 1980, the main difference this time were the pickguard mounted pickups instead of direct mounted, definitely more “Stratty”. Sales of the Blazer were equally unimpressive as the Roadster so Ibanez pivoted, and both series were replaced by the Roadstar II in 1983. Notice the spelling change to “Roadstar”.

Steve Lukather was recruited as a signature artist and his model was the flagship guitar of the Roadstar II line-up, the RS1010SL. Based off the high-end RS1000, it sported dual humbuckers and Ibanez’ biggest feature that year, the introduction of their Hard Rocker and Hard Rocker Pro Tremolo tailpieces. 

1983 Steve Lukather Specs: Birdseye maple top, Basswood body, Maple neck, Ebony fretboard with snowflake fret inlays (21 frets), Ibanez SL Special bridge humbucker, Ibanez Super 58 at the neck, Coil Split, Hard Rocker Pro trem system

But Lukather wasn’t the only high profile artist playing an Ibanez, high school student Marty McFly played an Ibanez RS430…

The RS guitars are important in the evolution of Ibanez through the 1980s. It paved the way for the Radius, Saber, RG and JEM series which owned the superstrat era and remain just as relevant to the current Ibanez offerings as it did then.

Available now on Guitar Gavel is an Ibanez RS440, the HSS version that Marty played in Back To The Future.

All of the equipment remains original with Ibanez Super 7 single coils and a V5 humbucker with coil split. In the first half of production Ibanez used a basswood body with a birch top, then switched to all basswood in 1985.

1984 Ibanez Roadstar RS440 available on guitargavel.com

1984 RS440 Specs: Basswood body, Birch top, Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard, Top Lok locking nut, Ibanez Super 7 single coils, Ibanez V5 humbucker, Pro Rock’r tremolo, Master volume and tone controls with push/pull coil split


Glad you enjoyed and thanks for reading Pierre!


Terrific story and history. Thank you so much for sharing this!

JP (Pierre) Moatti

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