Jem 555bk - Floyd Rose - Jemsite
Tech: Setup, Repairs and Mods Guitar workbench discussion such as setup, repairs, mods, installing new parts and more.

 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Oregon Coast
Posts: 41
Jem 555bk - Floyd Rose

This is a Jem 555BK, Korea 1995.

When I picked this up, it had a very worn Ibanez Lo TRS II on it. The knife edges were worn so bad, it was impossible to repair.

I've always used Floyd Rose's since the 1980's, so I have this 'implicit bias' towards them - so I decided to replace it with a german floyd with a big brass block for maximum sustain. I am a believer that a trem is really about what materials it's made of, and the precision by it's manufacturer. The steel, the amount of molecules in it, hardened, etc. makes a big difference! You can tell by the sustain. It's very real when you put them on identical setups next to each other.

So here's some pics, and the process. Does it fit? Well, it does - but not as well as the original. There's some gaps that are wide, and some that are pretty thin. Too big of a block, and you can't pull up on your whammy bar.

This setup is an "original" Floyd Rose, of German manufacture. I use a 37mm block, even though my cover won't fit. I can pull up for a full note. Full drop till the strings flop.

I changed the mount and screws with solid brass - and you can tell the weight and difference in materials will transfer more nuance.

The springs are Floyd coated ones, so they aren't as susceptible to squeek or resonate.

On a "nicer Jem", I would probably choose an Edge Pro for best fit - but on a player, this works well and is very adjustable and very hot roddable.


37mm vs 32mm block. 32mm won't allow more than 1/2 step of pull


Upgraded brass block and screws for more sustain transfer to body.


Tremelo cavity. Lined with copper shielding, grounded.


Installed (rough setup without intonation)


Tightest corner, but clears by a couple of mm. Aftermarket pickguard.


A bit of a gap on this side, but does not affect playability.


Installed - rough setup without intonation


Block, Springs, Claw in cavity.


Block, Springs, Claw in cavity.


Side view - rough setup.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Oregon Coast
Posts: 41
Re: Jem 555bk - Floyd Rose

I finished the setup today. Wow, it takes some time for me! I ended up pulling the bridge & restringing 4 times in the process.

My stud barrels were loose and were pulling up from the body! A new set of barrels and studs fixed this issue. Popping those in with a tack hammer and blocking took some courage.

If I routed out the inside of the body a bit more I could run the L block which would give some more mass for the sustain block. Hmmm....

I picked up a mint Jem 7V last month, and I was able to measure out the setup on it to compare to my 555. Wow - a big difference, but I would only hope! I wasn't able to get down to >2mm on the action with its bridge cranked down so I reset the neck today. I used a 1mm shim at the bottom of the neck, and it got me to the 1.5mm action at 12 I was looking for to match the 7V. Always a bit real when the neck is off, eh?

I use a Tuner called "Strobosoft" to help me with the intonation. The hollow points were kind of a pain in the ass - they got really locked up after tightening the saddle screws. My fingers hurt from the process.

But, this Original Floyd is working just great. Stays in tune with fresh strings beautifully, checking on a strobe I'm within +-2 cents.

I'm pretty happy, but I feel the Floyd kicked my ass. Is adjusting an Ibanez Edge, or Edge Pro a better experience?

I wonder if an Edge Pro is just a finer piece of machinery? Does the Ibanez intonation tool make it easier on my fingers than the FR hollow points?
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