First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP! - Jemsite
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
 
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First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

Hey Everyone,

I am new to the board and I am new to Ibanez. Yah!! I picked up an s320 at my local music shop and I loved the way it played. I have it home now for the 2nd night and I am starting to get curious with the thing. I still have the stop rod installed inside the bridge cavity, so I am not fully floating. I am however, having problems staying in tune.

I have read on various forums that the ZR bridge was great for doing dive bombs, etc. and coming back into tune. I did not touch anything on the guitar other than the string tension dial on the back of the guitar. I started playing with it to see what it did. I did however return it to its 'factory' position which is touching against the Stop Rod, which is what the manual tells me to do.

I am however finding it very hard to keep in tune. After playing a song, I am always having to re adjust the fine tuners on the bridge to get it back to 'perfect'. As well, doing some Satriani type bombs is causing the whole guitar to go way out of tune, like half a step or more sharp.

I was expecting that this guitar was going to stay in way better tune than it does. I have read online that many people tune it once and they are good to go, able to do dive bombs, big bends, etc. and not have the axe go out at all. I really need to figure out what is going wrong here because this guitar is smoking and I want to get the best out of it.

Please help!!

Thanks in advance,
David
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 09:23 AM
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

First, the basics:

1 - Check your strings are stretched.
2 - Check the strings aren't slipping at the nut or bridge locks. Don't force them locked down, but make sure they're firm.
3 - Take the stop bar out temporarily and get the guitar into perfect tune. Abuse the trem a little and see if it returns to pitch. If it doesn't, something is preventing the ball bearings from turning freely, or the springs from pulling the bridge back to neutral correctly. It is in fact possible to put a ZR bridge into a guitar with one pivot point out of alignment, and have it still somewhat work. Check the pivots are flush with the bearing housing inside the baseplate. I did this once after removing the bridge and had to scratch my head for 20 mins until I noticed.
4 - If the above doesn't return to almost perfect pitch, something is very wrong with the tremolo. The ZPS bar isn't essential for perfect trem return, it just applies a small amount of pressure to the back of the block, helping to force it back into position after a dive. Its like a backstop.

Don't be put off by the problems. This video is of me abusing my ZR like a madman and returning to perfect tune afterwards. I don't even have the ZPS bar installed, so don't be put off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LGyg2VNytw
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

Thanks alot for the great reply GuitarBizarre...

Funny, I actually stumbled upon your video last night before I even made my post, thats is a beautiful looking axe you have there!!!

I seem to be having more problem keeping the fine tuning in check. I can play a tune (something like a Dream Theater song) and then go back to check my tuning and its out quite a bit - some strings flat, G string always going flat, etc. If I then do giant dive bombs, the strings seem to go sharp on me...

am I going to [email protected]#$ up the bridge if I take the stop bar out? I am kind of nervous :S
ahhaa
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

Nah you wont, its designed to be taken out, you don't even have to unscrew anything, just pul the bridge back like you were raising pitch, pull the bar back, and upwards.

You put it back in in much the same way.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

So once I take the stop rod out...I will have to adjust the tension dial on the back to bring the bridge back to flush with the body? Is that right?

I find the Ibanez manual kind of cryptic; i can and cannot understand it at the same time! lol...

As well, do you recommend taking the stop bar out?

What would cause my fine tuning to fluctuate every song (even when not dive bombing and only doing subtle and gentle bar vibrato's...)
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

Small update here: all my strings are going a step up sharp even after regular riffing, soloing, and no crazy dive bombing....
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

Something is really really wrong with your bridge...take it back to the shop and demand that they at least set it up. It shouldn't need attention of this level when its new.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

So I followed through your instructions again...

I removed the stop rod and I went through and adjusted the spring tension to bring the bridge even with the body. I tuned it again, then locked it and it is working pretty good now!! Dive bombs are not really going sharp at all. It appears to be staying in tune ALOT better than it was earlier today.

Here's a question.... using a bridge like a floyd rose or like a ZR, how often are you using the fine tuners while playing? For instance, can you play 5 or 6 songs before you fine tune it again, 10 - 11? Etc.... I am just curious how much tuning is involved using the fine tuners to keep it perfect. I suspect someone wouldn't be tuning between every song (as if they were playing a gig) but how often really?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

Depending on how new the strings are, and what guages you're using, I'd say tune by a very very small amount after 4/5 songs using 9s.

Using 10s, the trem is stiffer and doesnt move as much for some reason, so when I had 10s on mine, I could quite happily play it for nearly a week without so much as touching the fine tuners. I'd pick it up and play it, take it to rehearsals, etc, with no problem.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

Awesome!!

The strings are probably broken in by this point, but I figured with all the adjustments I made on the guitar, and the fact that its brand new out of the box, I gotta beat it up a bit before she settles into herself!! So far so good I guess

I did have another question, about looking at the back of the bridge - mine sort of sinks down to the right (where the high strings are) and I am just curious if this is normal? I will include a pic here for you to see what I mean:

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 12:43 AM
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

I'm not 100% because what i'm seeing could be reflections off the body, but if that dips down the way it looks to (I.E, straight up until the a/d string tuner, then dipping down in a parabolic curve after that)

If thats what it actually looks like, something is wrong. Its normal to have the action set lower on the treble side than the base, but the baseplate should never curve.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

BTW! the tension wheel at the back doesnt adjust the reponsiveness of the trem, its just used to set how much the springs will counter the pull of the strings...

You prob already knew...
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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Re: First time with ZR Bridge & Problems, HELP!

I was looking at the bridge on an S320 at the shop I teach at recently thinking about this thread.

The baseplate of the ZR appear to be "stepped" on each string. You can see the radiusing I suppose would be a slightly better way to put it. It's like this: _-. That's a pretty terrible diagram but I think your bridge is the way that ZRs are supposed to be and we just have some opitical illusion going on here.
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