As it turns out Floyd Rose
is a local guy. A little while back buddy of mine had gotten one of the new Speedloader bridges from Floyd and his having Don Grosh
build him a guitar.
I've been wanting a guitar with a Speedloader for a while so when the HippieCaster
came I had the perfect guitar to put it on.
I called Floyd up a while back to ask him about retrofitting it and he said to just come on down and he'd take a look at it.
A few days later I dropped by and had him take a look at it. I gotta tell you it was really cool to have Floyd Rose himself
pop the bridge off my guitar and see how the Speedloader would fit. Well, it doesn't. The recessed route needs to go back further to accomodate the new bridge. Bummer.
The only way to do it would be to route it. He didn't think it'd be a good idea with that finish. I wasn't hip to the idea either. Even if I would have considered it, it would have cost a ton of money to have it routed and have the finish repaired - it just wouldn't be worth it.
So Floyd says "why don't you try one of my guitars
So we walk over to the building where they manufacture the guitars. He also tells me to bring my guitar because JT (one of his luthiers) is a big Jackson fan.
This was VERY cool. Floyd hands me a guitar that JT had just finished setting up. This guitar was amazing. He plugged it into a very sweet Marshall combo - JT had modded it, it screamed! This first guitar had really hot pair of humbuckers in it. The guitar had sustain forever. It was very light and resonant. The Speedloader felt really good.
Then he hands me another guitar with their classic humbuckers in it. I liked this even better. The pickups were a bit more mellow but still had enough bite. They cleaned real nice too when you back off the volume control.
Some interesting things worth mentioning:
- The action was sooooo low. I couldn't believe how low JT gets the action with no buzzing.
- Everything about Floyds guitars are unique in some way. The pickups are custom made (designed by JT), the neck has a unique feel and shape, unique pickguard design, and the Speedloader!
- These guitars are made in the USA right there in the room I was in!
- The Speedloader bridges are being made by Schaller.
- They are making a set neck model - looks sort of like a cross between a Les Paul, Tele, and a PRS. Very nice - I saw the Korina bodies
- They have a fixed bridge Speedloader in the works - I saw a Gibson SG they had modded for this.
Floyd hung around and chatted for a while. I thought he was very cool and particularly gracious with his time for some unknown guitar player! He got called away but that's when JT and I started talking - he is a super cool guy. He's a big Jackson/Charvel fan, used to work for Gibson, knows a ton about guitars, amps, etc.
As we were talking he mentioned that he had put a Speedloader on one of Steve Vai's guitars.
So I asked him if he could put a Speedloader on my JEM7VWH. No problem. So I brought my JEM to him just before Christmas.
I got my Ibanez JEM7VWH back on New Year's Eve. JT did a fantastic job! It looks really good. The Speedloader bridge is lighter than the stock Ibanez trem. Combined with the fact that the guitar no longer has any tuners, I think the guitar lost a pound - a very nice side effect. Anyway, JT set the guitar up very nicely, it plays like a dream. He threw in a few more sets of strings and showed me a bit of how to work with the Speedloader.
While I was there, JT showed me and a buddy some more of the inner workings at Floyd Rose Guitars. We saw pickguards and necks being made, the new V body shape (it is very cool!), a few Korina set neck's nearing completion - fun stuff!
So I think I will seriously be looking into a Floyd Rose guitar for my next purchase.
Here's what my JEM looks like now: