This is the upgraded model of the famous RG550. In reality, not much has changed between this model and the old school RG550s that everyone has come to know and love (or hate). The major difference is that these are made in the Prestige factory, and it has a slightly different trem. The guitar features a basswood body, a maple neck with a maple fretboard, 24 jumbo frets, dot inlays, an Edge Pro tremolo, HSH configuration, one volume, one tone and a five way switch.
The guitar's fretwork was great on this. The ends were perfectly rounded so they don't slice your hand every time you move up and down the neck, and the crowning on these was just right. I was able to get the perfect action with this guitar -- around 1/32'' @ the 12th fret. I noticed that there was a slight neck joint gap in this model, and it was disappointing, but it was nothing too major. I've seen worse before. The tremolo on this is very high quality, and once you add locking studs to it, it can rival just about any trem out there on the market. Intonating it is a bit of a pain due to the lack of a proper tool, but you just have to do it the old fashioned way.
The guitar had DiMarzios swapped in it. It had two PAF Pros. The PAF Pro in the bridge is a very open and powerful sounding PAF kind of pickup. It has a fairly linear response with maybe a touch of high end to it, and it really lets the natural sound of the basswood come through. It's clear sounding, even through a ton of rack effects, and that was one of their main goals, I believe. I wish it were a bit more dynamic, but it's still very cool. The PAF Pro is somewhat bright sounding, but it can get one hell of a shred lead tone. You can do sweeps and arpeggios with this, but it seems to really be at home when it comes to alternate picking. You could hear every single note with this thing.
These guitars are generally very high quality, and if you're in the market for a good quality maple boarded RG, this is one of the ones you want to look at. You can generally get these fairly cheap, but they're a little harder to get than the RG550s. Either will be just what you're looking for, I'm sure.
Maple fretboards are coming back and the guitar companies are rushing to meet the demand. Maple fretboard Ibanez guitars were popular in the 80s then they kind of faded away, but now they are coming back and the 1550M is the top of the line Ibanez with a maple fretboard. The guitar is essentially a 1570 Prestige model with a maple fretboard. It is made in the Ibanez Prestige factory in Japan and the quality really shows. Like most Ibanez RG's it features a basswood body with a maple neck and maple fretboard. The prestige models get a 5 piece neck for extra stability. This means the neck is made from 5 pieces of wood to help prevent warping. This is important when you have a neck as thin as an Ibanez RG neck. The Edge Pro tremolo system is one of the best on the market and once setup it holds tune perfectly. It has a set of Ibanez pickups in an HSH configuration and a master volume and master tone control with a 5 way switch. Playability is the name of the game when it comes to Ibanez RG guitars. Ibanez got it right in the 80s and they havent messed it up. A superstrat body with deep cutaways connected to a super thin neck makes playing everywhere on the neck a breeze. Ibanez gives special care to the fretwork on the prestige models, this is the greatest difference between the prestige models and the normal models. Like many of the new Ibanez RG models the 1570 features the all access neck joint so you can comfortably play in the high registers of the neck. Im not a big fan of basswood. I think many companies use it to cut costs. The Ibanez pickups are also not very good. The neck pickup provides an okay sound. It can be smooth for solos and leads and clean stuff. The bridge pickup is too weak. I had to check if my volume knob what up all the way when I plugged it in. Coming from a guitar with high output pickups to this shows you how bad some factory pickups can be. Their guitars match up well with aftermarket pickups. Most people only put Dimarzios in Ibanez guitars but other brands work well too. A pickup change can help get a heavier sound out of the basswood. With the single coil in the middle you must remember that the single coil will produce much more ambient noise than the two humbuckers. So keep this in mind when you are switching pickups. If you are looking for a straight metal tone a set of EMG's could make this guitar a monster.