A tale of two Guitars - Jemsite
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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A tale of two Guitars

The tail begins in the year 2000 when I bought my, '90 UCGR "Screaming Eagle". It came to me in excellent condition with a Dimarzio Mega-drive in the bridge position, and a PAF pro in the neck. It has a coil tap (mini DPDT) and a three-way blade switch. The Mega Drive was very hot, but it was dry and thin sounding. It had no real presence to it. The PAF sounded nice, but lacked clarity for soloing. I decided that this guitar was going to be a player. (I'm not really into owning a GREAT guitar and keeping it in a closet or under a bed.) Without saying, the guitar needed some electronics. That is where my quest, and headaches started.

I play through a 1993 Gallien-Krueger 2100sel head (stereo 100w) with a G-K 412 loaded with 2 vintage 30's and 2 G12t75's. I have an ART 31 band EQ in the FX loop that I have set to +12Db boost with the mids scooped @1k. I don't use any pedals because the GK has built in stereo chorus and reverb, both of which are fully adjustable and switchable. I hope this gives a decent account of my rig.

I tried a LOT of dimarzio's (X2N, Super Distortion, EVO's, PAF Joe, FRED, Tone Zone) and after several years ended up with the Tone Zone in the bridge, and an EVO 2 in the neck. I used 500k CTS pots, a CRL 3-way, a DPDT switch for coil tap, and an "orange drop".047 capacitor. The tone I get now is AMAZING!!!! Its full and edgy with a ton of presence. I get decent sustain and beautiful harmonics.

I recently bought an RGT3120 that was loaded with the TZ/AN combo. I bought this guitar thinking that I could get basically the same tone as my UCGR, but a little thicker/warmer tone and better sustain (because of the thicker thru-neck and mahogany body).

There is NOTHING in common between these two guitars!!!! the tones are worlds apart!!!! While the USA is just too good to describe, The RGT sounds absolutely HORRIBLE!!! It's weak, nasally (is that a word??) and completely unacceptable. In short- I hate it. I used the same parts basically. The only differences are that I use a .068 mfd cap and push/pull for the coil tap. I would NEVER have though two TZ's could sound soooo different. When I bought the guitar, the original owner included the original PAF's, but I'm reluctant to use them as they are even lower output than what I have. BTW.... The Air norton has the best clean sound I've ever heard, but its weak and in no way cuts through when soloing with the gain channel.

I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas to help this guitar (and me) out. My best friend plays a Jackson SL1 and a VWH (he also has an '82 Dean Z with a mahogany body and flamed maple top, It's F#@*in' awesome). I was over there Thursday night comparing my RGT to his SL1. We were playing through my other rig, which is a B-52 AT100 head with a Genz-Benz G-flex 412 cab, and the same ART 31-band in the loop. With this setup his SL1 ( duncan TB-4 bridge) can literally tear your face off with the mids and highs and rattle your nuts loose on the bottom end. It has so much presence and sustain. Its just plain HUGE tone wise. In my mind, this RGT should be able to compete toe-to-toe with his Jackson if given the right electronics. Am I correct? Or is this "nasally" "Quacky" tone just inherent to my guitar?

I'd truly appreciate ANY and all thoughts, ideas, or ramblings on this. As a side note, I bought an RGT42DX FMDR in 2003 that I did the same identical wiring as the USA, and use a FRED in the bridge, and a PAF joe in the neck. That guitar was the most beautiful sounding thing I've ever had. I really, REALLY regret selling that one. (GUYVERALDRACULA.....wherever you are, I hope your still playing that one and enjoying it!!!) That RGT sounded WORLDS better than this prestige RGT.

Thanks in advance
Ryc

Last edited by RGTFanatic; 10-26-2010 at 05:58 PM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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Re: A tale of two Guitars

I feel your pain. I've never heard such a differentiation in the sound of a single pickup between different guitars as the TZ displays. Though I think that speaks to the fact that the Tone Zone is a pickup that does what it's supposed to, and really let's the sound of the guitar itself come through, without coloring your tone with it's own specific sound.

I have 4 Ibanez and a Charvel So Cal that all have the TZ in the bridge, and all are either Alder or Basswood bodied guitars. They all sound FANTASTIC with the TZ, but all sound completely different.

On the other hand, I also have two mahogany bodied RG3120s that came with the TZ in the bridge, and can honestly say it was (IMO) one of the worst pickup selections for a guitar I've ever heard. Dark, muddy, thuddy, and lacking the clarity or sparkle that the TZ gives in my other guitars. TZ + Mahogany to me = bad.

After much research and different installs/uninstalls of different pickups, I think I've found the two pickups that I can honestly say sound friggin AWESOME in the 3120's and might also fit the bill for your RGT3120:

1st prize goes to the Suhr Doug Aldrich 53mm bridge pickup. Of my two 3120's I really feel like the Aldrich has it all. TIGHT low end, plenty of output, and it NEVER gets muddy. Fantastic lower mids, and crystalline highs. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (have them in 3 guitars now and this is honestly my favorite pickup on the market, and maybe that I've ever played).

Close 2nd for the 3120 bridge pickup is a Bill and Becky Lawrence Wilde pickups XL-500 double blade. This pickup's primarily renowned for being Dimebag's pickup, and it definitely does the high gain brootalz as well as anything out there. But, it's not the one trick pony people think it is. If you know how to use your volume knob and amp EQ, I've had a tough time finding something this pickup CAN'T do, esp. when wired to coil split.

For a mahogany bodied guitar this pickup was the nuts for me before I found the Aldrich.

As for the neck, I've not found a reason to take the PAF pro out of my 3120's, so much so that the one of mine that didn't come with it in the neck, I installed one into. You might consider a Dimarzio Breed in the neck though. I also hear good things about the Liquifire, but can't vouch for them personally.

Hope this helps, or at least shows that you're not the only one who's had this problem.

Cheers!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A tale of two Guitars

Thanks much daylight!!!!!! You dont happen to have any clips of your 3120's available do you???? If not I totally understand (I don't either, but now that I think about it maybe I should............ then people could hear for themselves that which we both know)

BTW...... sounds like the lawrence would make a good competitor against my buddys SL1........'ya think??

Ryc
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A tale of two Guitars

BTW........ for you drop tuners out there. I have my Eagle in Dropped C right now and the Tone Zone is MAGNIFICENT !!!!........ Its absolutely BRUTAL, but never muddy. The open C is so tight....... I'll have to get some clips up..... once I figure out how.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 09:33 PM
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Re: A tale of two Guitars

I think this is an interesting one, as peoples' ideas of tone are so subjective anyway.

With regards to the difference between the RGT3120 and the SL1, I think the underlying issue is that you're talking very different 'core tone from them, the SL1 tends to be maple and alder with a bridge pickup that focuses on the upper frequencies the RGT has a darker sounding mahogany body that will lend the tone the honk you describe and that is coupled with a pickup that will only further increase this effect.

In comparison to your USA custom, my own experience is that neck-through guitars tend to have less sparkle and attack than bolt ons which further focuses their sound in the middle frequencies leading to more honk. I also think it's hard to dial in the presence or sparkle or whatever you want to call it that you get with a bolt on, if you start with a neck-through. After all the years I've been playing folks always have set 'oh neck-through is far better, you're not a real guitarist unless you play neck-through' and the like I'm finally at peace with the fact that my favourite high gain tones come from basswood or alder bolt ons. I know you liked you RGT42 (not sure what that's made of) so maybe you want to contact the guy that bought it and see if he'll let you buy it back?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A tale of two Guitars

LOL....Honk is actually the PERFECT word for it. The RGT42 had the same basic build as the RGT3120: 5pc maple/bubinga thru-neck on the 42, 3pc maple on the 3120, mahogany wings, and a flamed maple top. The biggest difference construction wise was the thickness of the top. The 3120 is almost a 1/4in. thick, and the 42 is only a thin veneer (1.5-2mm?)

Your right about the differences between the SL1 and the RGT. I don't actually want my guitar to sound the same as his.......I just want it to sound as good. I feel that there must be a way to make the RGT sound as respectable as the SL1 does (IMO.. it already looks better) but the sound I have now is just plain embarrassing to me.

I'm with you on the whole neck-thru vs bolt-on thing. It's like saying " oranges are way better than apples, your not a real man if you eat apples"...........LMAO!!!!

I like (and respect) 'em both in their own right

Thanks for the input jono
Ryc
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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Re: A tale of two Guitars

Sorry, no clips of the guitars I referenced, though there's a cat on youtube with the username wrigleyX that has a bunch clips of his 3120 with an XL-500 in the bridge, where he plays everything from thrashy stuff to a bunch of Satch, Paul Gilbert, etc. Shows the versatility of the pickup pretty well I think.

Here's one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj9VurfhWtU

As for matching your friend's SL one, Jono makes some great points. I always like a twin guitar combo where one player's using a brighter wood guitar and the other is using mahogany. I do think the XL-500 would be a good matchup.

I will add that I also had a Lawrence XL-500 in my SZ4020FMNTF before I sold it, and it also livened that guitar up alot as well. Though the maple top on the SZ is much thicker than on your RGT, so it tended towards more of a high end snap anyway.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-25-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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Re: A tale of two Guitars

One thought about the difference in sound between the 2 Ibanez guitars.

A thru neck derives more of its core tone from the neck materials, and the wings tend to have a a lesser effect that is in some ways comparable to the effect you would get from the same wood as the top.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2010, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A tale of two Guitars

Last night I decided to put in my X2N. It's not the pickup I plan to keep in this guitar, but I figured that it was going to be the least "quacky" of all the pickups I own.

It does sound WAY better but there is still the smallest amount of "quack" in it. I've only tested it through my G-K rig so far, but it does sound very good. It also balances VERY well with the Air Norton in the neck. It should be too high of an output for the AN, but they're nearly identical. This leads me to believe that I have a problem with my wiring. I'm attaching a diagram of the wiring that I'm using on both of these guitars. sorry the drawing is so crude....I'm not very good with paint.

If anybody sees a problem or anything that just doesn't look right, please let me know. I came up with this wiring plan by putting together different plans that I've either used or thought about using in the past.

Thanks again
Ryc

Last edited by RGTFanatic; 10-28-2010 at 05:24 PM.
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