Unlike certain movie remakes, reissues of beloved guitar models of the past are often met with rave reviews when they re-enter the market. Whether a model became an instant classic when released or was too ahead of its time to catch on, reissues allow players to get their hands on quality reproductions of rare and sometimes cost-prohibitive original models.
They also expose a new generation of players to the ways of the past and allow for modern corrections to period-specific problems. While, naturally, your ’50s and ’60s bread-and-butter Strats, Teles and Les Pauls have all been reissued many times over, there are plenty of eye-catching and ear-popping designs floating around the guitar universe waiting for a second shot.
Today, we’re looking at seven stellar guitars that we think deserve the reissue treatment.
Ibanez Roadstar II
In retrospect, few Strat-style guitars from the ‘80s stand out like an Ibanez Roadstar II. Most famously seen as Marty McFly’s ‘80s guitar in the first Back to the Future, the Roadstar IIs from ’83-’86 came in a wide range of unforgettable colors and options.
As a series, these guitars are jam-packed with mojo, yet are routinely overlooked. The Roadstar owed as much to the futuristic designs of the ‘80s and the Super Strat movement as it did to the classic Strats it borrowed from, making for an intriguing middle ground in the realm of ‘80s guitars.
Roadstars could be found employing a variety of pickup combinations coupled with every contemporary type of bridge/tuning system you could imagine, from locking to hard tails. Over the course of their original run, the RS series truly had something for everyone.
The Roadster is a very comfortable guitar, with necks that borrowed a lot from the early Fender contours and shapes. It’s interesting to note that they were manufactured at the FujiGen factory alongside the MIJ Fenders of the time including the much-celebrated MIJ vintage reissues. So if you’ve played a MIJ Fender Strat, a Roadstar will feel very similar.
Ibanez should definitely reissue the Roadstar series, especially in Comet Green with a matching headstock.
Arguably, the least popular guitar on this list would be the Gibson Marauder. The original Marauder (and its counterpart, the Gibson S-1) is one of the least collectable Gibson’s out there and remains one of the cheapest vintage Gibson’s on the current market.
To put it gently, popular opinion of these guitars is that they weren’t one of Gibson’s finest offerings. The build quality is typically poor, and the design lacks many of the things that players associate with Gibson.
It can be argued, though, that where the model differs from the normal Gibson template is why it’s such an intriguing instrument in its own right. The electronics (including the pickups) were all designed by Gibson in collaboration with the late Bill Lawrence, so it has more in common in terms of sound with the Telecaster than it does with a Les Paul.
The bridge pickup is extra bright and biting, for example. The special thing about Marauders made after 1976 is that they don’t have your standard 3-way, Gibson-style pickup switch. Instead, they were outfitted with a rotary pot that allows you to adjust the blend between the neck and bridge pickups on top of a single volume and tone knob.
Not everyone loves the necks on these guitars, but that’s the sort of detail that can be evened out and standardized with a proper reissue. There isn’t a guitar like it currently on the market or in Gibson’s lineup and there hasn’t been in years, so why not now?