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1997 Ibanez Paul Gilbert Signature PGM500 HSH Superstrat Candy Apple


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Up for sale, a 1997 Ibanez Paul Gilbert Signature model PGM500 in perfect working order. Designed in collaboration with the Mr. Big guitarist, this Japanese-made Ibanez is a discontinued model featuring Gilbert’s distinctive faux painted F-holes, a reverse headstock, hardtail bridge, and an HSH trio of DiMarzio pickups.

The tonewood complement comprises a basswood body, maple neck, and a slab rosewood fretboard, yielding a balanced, articulate acoustic platform for the DiMarzio pickups. The humbucker in the bridge position is a Tone Zone, a high output pickup that is very dynamic and responsive to user inputs, with a huge lower midrange to reinforce and fatten the initial bite. The neck pickup is DiMarzio’s Humbucker From Hell, designed to eliminate muddiness with a bright, clean, almost glassy response. The FS-1 single coil yields ample sparkle and shimmer, pairing well with the humbuckers in positions 2 and 4 on the five-way pickup selector switch. This PGM500 weighs 7lbs 6oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, slinky action, and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has Ibanez’s revered Wizard profile, a very slender D-shaped carve with generous shoulders and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .730” deep at the 1st fret and .825” at the 12th. On the 24-fret slab rosewood fretboard, the jumbo fretwire is nigh flawless, benefitting from a level and crown. This guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the nut measures 1 11/16” in width. On the reverse headstock, the gold-plated Gotoh SG38 tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.

The simple electronics function as intended, with the HSH pickup complement governed by a five-way selector switch and a solitary Master Volume knob. The gold Gotoh GTC101 fixed hardtail bridge is a modern replacement, replicating the design and footprint of the original.

The gloss Candy Apple finish is accented by the painted-on faux F-holes, and cosmetic wear includes a number of chips and dings along the lower bout perimeter, particularly on the treble side. Further wear is sparingly limited, with just a couple marks on the body as a whole. The neck profile retains its smooth satin finish, with a scant few shallow nicks along the profile that have no impact on playability.

A faux leather gigbag is included.