The Ibanez MC500 Musician is a superb piece of guitar art and engineering from Fuji Gen Gakki. Meeting the taste for exotic woods with natural finishes, the MC500 was made using a sandwich of either carved walnut or dark-stained ash with a maple center and walnut or ash back, around a laminated maple and mahogany neck. Only the MC500 had a carved top. Hardware that wasn’t gold-plated was solid brass for enhancing sustain, including the extra-large scalloped tailpiece. As with all instrument series, electronics were more sophisticated as you moved up the line. The MC500 sported active Tri-Sound Super 88 humbuckers with a dizzying array of controls. Two three-way mini-toggles offered regular humbucking mode plus a coil tap and phase reversal for each pickup. A third mini-toggle activated an EQ circuit with volume and tone plus boost and cut controls for a three-band EQ (low, mid, high frequencies). All were controlled by a master volume.
“I suppose everyone has a slight snob thing about American guitars, but I give credit to the Japanese in recent years for improving electronic circuits. Some of the active circuits in Ibanez guitars are very good.”
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