After months of reading the copious amounts of information on this site as well as these forums, I thought I'd offer up my first "mod" post. I recently picked up a 1998 JS100 of off eBay for a song and have spent the last month or so getting to know it.
I'm mostly a hobby player but I've played a Les Paul (recently rehabbed which I'll post pics of in the appropriate forum) for many years and I also have my trusty old 80's Kramer 610 that has seen me through many years of noodling. This is my first Ibanez and I have to say that I absolutely love how this guitar feels. After playing a Les Paul for so long, anything feels light by comparison but this is really a joy to hold and play. The neck is to die for. I like a little more meat on the neck and this has a nice balance of fast yet...what's the word? Supple? I don't know. It just feels right, comfortable, and worn in.
Outside of the feel, there were a couple things that just weren't sitting right with me. The first is the sound of the stock AH1 and AH2 pickups. They're ok but they sounded thin and couldn't quite get the saturation (no pun intended) that I was looking for. I went with the obvious replacements and put in a PAF Joe and Mo' Joe Dimarzio's and am very pleased with the results.
I did a lot of research on this forum as well as other sites and I have to say that I tend to agree with the general sentiment of the Lo-TRS II tremolo. I don't think they are as bad as many people say they are but they do require some finesse to get them set up and to stay in tune. After fighting with a Floyd Rose II on the Kramer for the better part of 25 years, I wasn't daunted by a fight to get it set up right but the deal breaker was that it has the annoying collared trem arm that wobbles and makes noise which drives me insane. In doing research on what to replace it with, knowing I didn't want to do any body work or routing, I discovered that the Lo-TRS, which seemed to be of a higher quality (Japanese) and better stability than the II, would drop right in. I found a black one on eBay for next to nothing which helped me start to address the other issue I had with the guitar; all the chrome. More on that in a moment.
I am very pleased with it thus far. After getting it set up the way I like it, it stays in tune and doesn't have the loud, loose wobble sound due to the fact the trem arm screws directly into the trem block a la a Fender trem. What I like about the Lo-TRS is that it's a perfect drop-in replacement and doesn't leave a huge gap on the low E side the way a Gotoh would. Aesthetically pleasing and looks like it is supposed to be there. A couple shims to match the neck radius and we're all set.
Now, onto the chrome. I think "garish" is the word I'm looking for. It is just too much for me as I like my guitars to be a little more subtle (no offense to the JEM lovers out there. If I played like Vai, it would probably be a different story). The trem swap started it. Next came the tuners, tree, and locking nut. Then the pickup rings, knobs and strap buttons. I like the way it looks now. Subtle.
I will say that I absolutely love this guitar. Very versatile, Very comfortable and a beauty to look at! I hope to step up to the JS1200 in time but likely not until the kids are out of college.
So what's next? I'll be upgrading the block on the Lo-TRS trem. Keith (eBay: Hoockey http://www.ebay.com/usr/hoockey
will make a custom one due to the way the block/trem arm are configured on this trem. Once that is done, I think I'll be good to go for quite some time.
I also failed miserably in trying to install a Dimarzio push/pull volume pot with a high pass filter. My miserable soldering skills, coupled with difficulty in reading wiring schematics proved insurmountable...for now. I'll try again in time but I'm living with the regular volume for the time being until I can kill some less expensive electronics on soldering training.
Thanks also to Rich at http://www.IbanezRules.com
for sending me some parts so quickly (The Lo-TRS came with the wrong trem arm and was missing some saddle blocks (amongst some other things) and he had them shipped out in no time!
I'd love your feedback and any thoughts you may have. I hope you like it!