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Right after starting to play the electric guitar, I started modding them, exchanging components etc. Sometimes it was in order to fine-tune the instrument to my playing-style and sound, but back when I started doing that, it was for budget reasons. I couldn’t afford instruments that were totally awesome right out of the box, so I got myself some lower-prize instruments and started changing parts. Sure, I might end up with something that was almost as expensive as a mid-prized guitar with all features in place, but that way, I could do it in steps… I was still in school, so I would get me a guitar, then, a month later, replace one pickup or whatever, and go on like that.
I am sure Eddie Van Halen and his infamous guitar-mods had some influences on it as well.
And I eventually figured out that sometimes, you could take a low-prized instrument and really turn it into something special. It might not have the most amazing wood-selection or whatever, but it might have a certain vibe or sound to it which would make it special, and with some mods, it would turn out to be a really cool, unique instrument. And no, I am not talking about “buy a $50 guitar, slap in some high-gain pickups and expect amazing sounds”… of course it doesn’t work that way. I mean taking a decent guitar which has a certain sound or feel to it, and fine-tuning it a bit more to become something unique that works even in a professional environment.
The RG350 is a low-prized instrument, mostly aimed at beginners or to be used as a backup. However, it is a decent guitar, plays well, has most of the features that RGs are known and loved for.
This particular one is a 2007 model. My good friend (and amp-builder extraordinaire) Sebastian Kulik of Exodus Amps purchased it back then, and later, passed it on to me (thank you so much, Bas!). The standard humbuckers were replaced with two DiMarzio Evolution humbuckers… I heard that DiMArzio at some point changed those humbuckers, and apparently, the ones in this RG were built before that change.
I am not sure about the changes, but I do know that they sound great and work well with this guitar. The singlecoil in the middle-position is stock. So is the vibrato-system which stays in tune perfectly even when abused.
The guitar was checked and set up by Det Moews of Pimp My Guitar. Det is awesome, and he really figured out what I like, how I like my guitars to be set up, and went with that in order to make this one really fun to play. There were some issues with a fret, prolly either from climate or some damage during a transport. He fixed that, and lowered the string-action to the point where the guitar practically plays itself. He changed the switching a bit to make volume-swells smoother and more natural-sounding, perfectly for something like “Cathedral” or adjusting the gain with the knob very carefully.
After I got it back from the shop, I didn’t put it down for 2-3 weeks, as it was SO much fun to play. Something else I really like is the neck… it’s a bit rounder and beefier than the ultra-thin necks I have and like on other guitars (for example the RG3550). It reminds me a bit of the old John Petrucci-signature model by Ibanez… not ultraflat, a bit thicker, but very comfortable.
The guitar sounds very tight, has a mellow, yet fat sound, perfect for huge, chunky powerchords, but cleans up nicely for ballads etc.
It is one of the guitars I use for practicing and working on songs a LOT (in fact, once I had it back from the store, I wrote a song for the upcoming album almost right away). It has character, has a unique feel to it, plays amazingly well, and looks great, so I wouldn’t hesitate to take this one on tour or to the studio at all.
With the mods that were done to it, it has truly become extra-cool, and it’s a great reminder that sometimes, you can take a decent guitar and, with some slight modding, make it something special, plus fine-tune it to your own specific likes and demands.