Not sure why I'm asking, I already know which one I like better: the one with the white pickguard that I just installed. I've had this guitar for about 10 years or so. I found it in a pawn shop and bought it for $149.00. That is a really good deal for an RG550, but it is pretty beat up. So beat up that when I first saw it, I didn't immediately buy it. I went back a week later thinking $150 for an RG550 that plays well is too good to pass up even if it is pretty beat up. Glad I did.
But I haven't played this guitar very much over the years. Having just moved, and having my guitars scattered around the place in an unfamiliar way, I found myself playing this one lately, and wondering why I hadn't played it much, since it plays so nicely.
I realized it's because I didn't really like the look of it. The black pickguard on black body with the maple fretboard and the headstock that looks like it's been dipped in a bucket of black paint just somehow seemed kind of ugly to me. This was another reason I hadn't instantly snapped it up the first time I saw it in that pawnshop. I then thought about Kirk Hammett's old Fernandes strat he used to use in the early days, and how cool that thing looked with the white pickguard, black knobs, black pickups, and black hardware, and it occurred to me that I could swap out the pickguard. That headstock would still look like it had been dipped in a bucket of black paint though. But, I could swap out the truss rod cover for one that matched the new pickguard, and it would be somewhat like the headstock of old Gibson flying V's -- black with white truss rod cover -- or kind of like the headstock of a Rickenbacker. Ok, that seemed like a pretty cool idea. Started looking around the net, on jemsite.com
, etc. to see if anybody else had done something similar to an RG550BK, but didn't come up with much. About the closest thing I found was the "cheap" Jem, the JEM 555 BK. That has a gray pearloid pickguard, but the truss rod cover is black.
Haven't totally committed to this though. The Chinese RG pickguard doesn't quite fit right. Only a few of the screw holes line up right, and so that means drilling into the guitar body to make new screw holes, and the new pickguard is a little larger. If you look for example just above the neck pickup, the original pickguard is a little less thick than the width of one coil of the pickup while the new pickguard has a little more plastic than the width of one coil of the pickup in the same area, directly above the neck pickup (to the left of the neck pickup in the photos -- "above" the pickup if you are holding the guitar in playing position.) That means if I put in new screw holes, I can't really go back to the old pickguard as it won't cover the new screw holes.
Not sure why I'm worried about it, it's not as if the guitar is all that valuable even if it were mint, and it is already very far from mint.