1987 was a busy year for Ibanez. Steve Vai’s Jem destroyed the pointy guitar competition, followed by the RG550, its less expensive sister, as part of the renewed Roadstar series. The Radius, the Saber and the Power models were part of the Roadstar Pro line, offering a broader range of body types, material and neck shapes.
Here’s a rather mint example of a 1987 540 Power in its first incarnation:
Ibanez was still redefining its catalog, the Radius faded away when Joe Satriani was offered his own signature model, the JS, bearing a similar body shape, the Saber would remain up until now as the “S” series and the Power would be given another body shape, a reverse RG, in 1988, new specs the next year, switching back to ’88 specs in 1990 before a complete retreat in 1991.
The Power model was an attempt to reach the heavier crowd with its reverse body and headstock, sharktooth inlays, extra wide fingerboard and powerful pickups. If the Jem/RG are the ultimate superstrats, then the 540PII would most likely be the ultimate Super-Mosrite. “Testament” heavy metal band gunner Alex Skolnick was pictured in the catalog enjoying the guitar but it has never been a signature model of his.
Then came Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana.
Music trend changed abruptly and all those edges and high tech designs were then obsolete. Vintage guitars market exploded and whatever Ibanez was building up was shattered by the need for raw, grit and authenticity but thanks to Korn and the wave of “nü metal” bands, Ibanez was soon back on stage.
Meanwhile, communication tools were having a revolutionary shift with home computers and Internet. Guitar forums popped up, and international trades were accessible to anyone with a connection to the web. And suddenly the Power was back in the house.
It’s hard to say if the 540PII was ahead of its time, but players from all over the world spending some time drooling over guitar porn grew an unexpected love for the abandoned model with its sassy shape and rarity. Since I am one of these guys, I couldn’t turn down the offers I was given.
Now there’s very little to zero chance to see Ibanez reissuing the model since it never had the success expected back when it was available, and the brand is fairly busy with its actual catalog and its share of celebration models.
’89 Ibanez 540PSHDY
’90 Ibanez 540PIISHDY
I taught myself how to model in 3D as a hobby, and worked on visuals of what the 540PII would look like if Ibanez was updating the model with their new specs.