Last week, I won an auction for an Ibanez S470 described to be in near mint condition.
Get home and open it up. Everything looks great. A few picks in the side pocket of the gig bag along with some fender bullet strings and a cheap nameless cable. Something wasn't there though... The tremolo arm! Strike one. Missing tremolo arm wasn't in the item description.
So I tune it up and start playing... amazing playability. I mean EXCELLENT. Pickups are generic junk. Not very noisy but pretty bland as far as the tone goes. No problem...dimarzios are on top of the amp waiting to go in.
So I grab a wilkinson tremolo arm and stick it in the tremolo hole..nowhere near a fit but it works well enough to try the tremolo out. First dive bomb goes down and then when it comes up, nowhere NEAR in tune. Hmm... I look down and the tremolo is CROOKED!!!!
Apparently after dissecting the ZR tremolo, the pivot stud that connects the tremolo part to the mounting stud sheered in half on one side of the tremolo and it was only being held by the other side!!
Here are the pictures of the carnage. It's not pretty.
And here's a picture of the broken stud and the other mounting post with the stud holding the ball bearings.
That's what it should look like when it's not broke in half and the ball bearings slide inside the pivot point in the tremolo and that's how it rotates. The design is genious as is the adjustment screw on the back of the trem cavity and the spring system it uses to keep itself super stable.
But... unfortunatley, the guitar isn't playable like this. I did take the time to clean the rediculously dirty fretboard. It didn't look dirty but after 6 runs of windex and wiping, it finally stopped making the cloth brown and black and the guitar honey made this a nice pretty fretboard.
The Dimarzio's are all in though so that's one less thing to worry about.
Anyways, preparations to fix all this have been taken. Ibanez has a fantastic website for tracking down parts for just such an occasion and I actually found the parts numbers I need. I'll have to pay for a whole new pair of mounting studs with the pivot studs in them along with the 3 piece tremolo arm (the arm, a bushing and the sleeve that you screw it down to the tremolo with).
I had to call guitar center since they're the only ibanez dealer nearest me and they said ibanez was closed by the time I called last night. I gave them the part numbers and told them I need them to order these tomorrow and get them as soon as humanly possible so hopefully I'll get a phone call tomorrow telling me my parts are ordered and on their way but I doubt it.
I'm going to wait until I get the price for the parts before I tell the seller. I'm hoping he'll cover at least half of the cost of the parts as a gesture of good business since there was no mention of a missing tremolo arm or broken stud. I went back and examined the pictures he sent me during the auction period and I now see that the left side is a tad crooked indicating that it was in fact broke before he shipped it. Apparently the guy must have never used it or something.
Is this an uncommon problem or are these little studs prone to breaking like this regularly? The only way I can see it happening was if soemthing hit the tremolo hard (no evidence of scrapes or marks on the tremolo though) or that somehow, the thing started to bind and the thing broke.
If this has happend to others, I'm tempted to go to lowes and find a small high strenght alloy bolt that fits through the ball bearings and cut it down to the right size and use that but I'd prefer to leave ghetto rigging as a final option (although I think it'd probably work fine).
Anyways, I'll keep you guys updated.