So I made a few modifications to my JS
1600 I thought I’d share here. I stumbled upon this guitar in a Sam Ash and fell in love with it on sight. I’ve always loved the JS
series and owned a JS
1000 at the time I bought this one. I love the body shape and Joe’s sound and gear philosophy but when it comes down to it I’m just not a whammy bar player and I don’t like bothering with the locking nut or the floating bridge. Consequently I didn’t really play the JS
1000 very much. I didn’t even know that the JS
1600 existed so I didn’t know its specs or anything about it but it was obviously a quality instrument and I just loved the sound and playability of it and I ended up buying it on the spot and have sold the JS
1000 to try and bring some balance to my collection….somewhat.
However, as I played it more I noticed a persistent tuning issue at the tension bar when I bent strings. I’ve used staggered locking tuners on other Strat style guitars for years and think these are a superior design for solving this tuning issue so I replaced the stock tuners and tension bar with a spare set of tuners I had lying around eliminating the need for this tension bar (which works fine with a locking nut but not so well with a traditional nut in my experience when the strings need to move a bit back and forth a little bit and can hang up on the bar enough to cause tuning issues.) The problem with the tuners I had was that they were BLACK as my usual MO is to put black hardware on my guitars. While they improved the tuning on the guitar the look wasn’t quite balanced to this particular guitar…. Also, I don’t quite get the idea of the original Planet Waves / “Ibanez” tuners that “cut” the string for you…that is just not a problem I needed somebody to fix for me….I am quite comfortable with a pair of wire cutters and locking tuners make the task of holding the string quite simple….LOL, I just don’t get it
They were very nice tuners actually…just seems like a waste…if they were staggered they would have been a great fit for the guitar....oh, well….I put them on a neck I have that has an angle to it and they fit perfectly so they have a good home.
Well, as I researched the details of this guitar I was digging into Ibanez’s promotional materials and catalogs and I discovered the Tight Ends bridge on a few relatively obscure guitars which I just thought looked like a great design. I liked the elegant, smooth profile for resting the palm of your hand on when muting, the intonation mechanism was very well thought out and I thought its proportions would look much more natural on the JS
body than the smaller “stratish” bridge on the stock JS
1600. Having admired the “look” of the JS
series for years it just fit better I thought. And then the JEM hard tail came out and I said, “Well, That’s what I’ve been talking about !!!” So I sent Rich from Ibanez Rules and email asking if I could buy one….and I could….simple as that ! Turns out it fit just fine with nothing more than a couple of new holes for the screws at the back. So this firmed up the CHROME theme for the guitar….not my normal MO, but ok let’s go for it !!!
About the same time Dimarzio was coming out with the Mo’ Joe and the PAF Joe…..with the Chrome covers…..which seemed natural. It all just sort of fell into place.
So I got some chrome locking tuners, some new pickups and had it all put together (the old pick-ups are going to go in another guitar rebuild I have in mind that needed some which these originals from the JS
1600 will work just fine for….and now I don’t have to agonize over what set to pick, which is good) We filled the left over holes from the tuners and the string tension bar with small chrome screws, which was a simple cheap compromise to fixing the ugly leftover holes…I’m actually kind of happy with how that looks….not sure why, just think it looks MUCH better than the empty holes did….which REALLY bothered me when I had the black tuners on during my initial tuner “trial” phase of this project. (The “other” guitar I keep stealing parts from this one for is actually an old Gibson Corvus I bought years ago on **** that was in pretty bad shape and is in need of a total overhaul…I’m just gonna pimp that too with the stock tuners and pick-ups from this one….they’ll work nicely I think…..that was the guitar I saw in an ad as a kid before I knew ANYTHING about playing guitar and I said, “If I ever play guitar, I’m gonna play one of those !!! “ LOL)
I just got it back from my tech after he put it all together for me and did a full set up. It plays wonderfully and seems to sound great. I haven’t had a chance to really give it a full test drive through my amps yet (I’m taking it with me on a business trip actually…playing it in a hotel room through a tiny practice amp doesn’t really count I know.) I do notice a pretty noticeable increase in weight to the back end because of the heavier bridge. The thing had great sustain before … I can’t imagine it will really be BETTER now…. But I just think it’ll sound humongous !!! Acoustically is sounds great and it rings very nicely…but it always did. The mahogany body just sounds great on this guitar…I noticed that from the first time I played it. So I’m really looking forward to it now….these pick-ups and bridge should do nothing but enhance an already great sounding guitar !!!! I have high hopes it will be a very complex sounding guitar via the combination of the bolt on neck to a mahogany body with the JS
switching system options….should be a unique and great combination I think.
I know people who love the whammy version of the JS
kind of poo poo this model and tend to not like the look of it because of the non matching headstock. I admit I can kind of take or leave the color….at best it’s interesting to me (although none of the current JS
series colors are particularly appealing to me personally at the moment to be honest…..my JS
1000 was a white one which was always my favorite color JS
.) I like the look of it a lot better now…but I imagine I’m more invested in it now as I’ve sort of put my own spin on it. Anyway, all I really care about is that I love the body shape and how it feels to play when it hangs on the strap, how it sounds (well, how it did…I’m sure I’ll like it…but I gotta spend more time with this new version I’ll admit
and the unfinished headstock sort of reminds me of my first “real” guitar that I really learned to play on, which was a Strat … so it sort of gives me a familiar feeling but evolved to my current tastes in guitars….so it doesn’t offend me. This particular guitar’s neck actually feels thicker and more natural to me than the JS
1000’s did which always felt kind of narrow to me and was never really comfortable. This one feels like a really comfortable strat neck to me but with the comfort of the JS
body contours and access….they say they are the same on paper…but you know how that is.
Anyway….just thought I’d share. Gotta love taking a really good guitar and finding a way of making it just a bit more your own (at least I do !!!)