Re: String choking
The pick attack might be the actual pick -- try Jim Dunlop nylon 1mm's, they are much quieter than most other picks I've tried over the last 27 years. It could be the action is too low at the top of the neck, so maybe the strings are rattling against the frets quite a bit. You might also want to try turning down the presence control on your amp. Sorry if I'm stating the obvious. Without seeing the guitar, I'd guess it's the fret rattle. I think you need to unbolt the neck and try removing the shim if there is one. Screw it back together and try again.
For the truss rod, see Rich's guide at the Ibanez Rules site. Click the banner at the top of the page and look in the Tech section.