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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey Guys :)

I've got a Jem 555 that I wouldn't mind getting to sound better, and a RG350DXZ I picked up in mint cond second hand that I'm sure can be improved without spending to much cash.

* Firstly, is it worth spending some time and money on these or just selll 'em and get a premium or better? Will these upgrades give a considerable improvement in tone?
The Jem 555 I bought when my grandma passed away so I would like to keep this one if I can get it up to scratch, plus resale money if I sold it is awful. The RG350 I could sell for the same money I paid for it, but overall I feel its a solid heavy guitar and I wouldn't mind a guitar that sounds good and I can take to parties etc and and not have to worry about it being abused.

Tone I'm going for - 90's Rock / Metal bridge pickup, Strat tone with the middle, middle/neck, middle/bridge. Must clean up well when winding the volume back. I played a Premium RG970 maple top with Dimarzio IBZ's the other day, I found the middle and neck pickup to be very nice, the Bridge was a little bright for my liking.

Other thoughts - I am aware the Gotoh trems may not fit. I DONT want to be routing out wood if i can avoid it. I've already sorted out the nut being way to high on the Jem.


The Jem 555.... Budget $100-$300AU + neck cost

The problems.. sounds a bit muddy, dull and lifeless, lacks character. Not 100% sure on the trem. Possibly neck replacement?

Brass block for trem - The edge 3 stays in tune well, is in good condition, but I hate the way the wammy bar screw tensions under the back of the trem system. I hope if i pull it apart I can get the wammy bar retention working little better ( may have a cracked plastic sleeve), Also I've found a bit of lube in the hole always makes things better ;). I have read many mixed reports on the edge 3 trem..
* should I get the FU brass big block ( and will this reduce movement )? or is a Gotoh FR ( Edge Pro etc if the Gotoh wont fit ) a better option overall bearing in mind it is around 3 times the money?
* Finally, some drop in locking studs that I can just screw in, and not have to pull out and refit new bases would be nice... can you get these? anyone got a link to these?

Muddy tone / Pickups - These are Dimarzio Evo's. I'm thinking air the pickups, maybe installing a 0.047uf capacitor between the ‘hot’ wire on the pickup ( thanks to lone phantom for that tip) and try a alnico magnet in the neck pup. Any thoughts or advice here appreciated.
* I'm looking for magnets I can get to Australia without spending a fortune in shipping?

Neck replacement - If one comes up cheap on 3bay, I'm thinking genuine Jem or prestige or premium. Any thoughts or advice here also appreciated.

Any other thoughts, wiring upgrades?


The RG350DXZ - Budget $100-$200AU.... Sigh... it may be more with second hand pups :roll:

The problems.. sounds a bit muddy, dull and lifeless, lacks character.

Edge Zero II Trem - As new, works well, haven't tried it without the Zero Point bar.
Brass block for trem - The Killer Guitar Block is $100 US ( if it fits the Zero II??? ) + plus shipping this more than I want to spend, I can get a Gotoh FR for around the same dollars.
* Is there a cheaper brass block?
* Can I use an Edge II brass block and pull out the Zero Point bar?
* Should I put in a Gotoh trem ( if it fits ) over the Killer Guitar Block? its the same money
* Should I drop in the Edge 3 from the Jem with a brass block if I replace the trem in the Jem?
Any other advice appreciated.

Pickups INF 4, INFS 3, INF 3 -
* Is it worth airing the pups and drop a alnico magnet in the neck or just bin these and drop in some second hand pups?
* Any tips for improving the INFS 3 Singl coil?

Thanks guys, I know there's a lot of info and questions there.
 

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For starters, the Edge III on your Jem can be upgraded to an EdgePro with no routing needed. You'll probably want to change the studs and anchors though.

For the 350 - all reports are that the Edge Zero II is a nice bridge. Replace your pickups first. If you want an incredibly versatile set of humvuckers that will cover your 90s Rock/metal tones, clean up well check out the Illuminators. They are pretty much exactly what you are after. I've got a set for sale too and I'm in Australia. If you're interested send me a pm and we can work something out. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
RE the Jem.... I've done a bit more reading and measuring up the trem rebate, I think the gotoh GE1966 should fit fine without routing the front of the guitar ( I dont mind routing inside ), fitting the larger anchors may be tight but there under the pickguard if it is out by a mm or 2. I'm thinking this may be the way to go for $185AU local price with nut. Any other unforeseen problems like intonation here?

Or for $100AU i can just FU brass block the Edge 3 as I have no problems with it, and dont abuse my trem like steve vai on mushrooms. I haven't tried any of this before, what would you guys do?

EDIT : Hmm maybe I''m not being clear on what I'm after here.... Better tone, more clarity, a bit more sustain. The edge 3 is working fine so just brass blocking it + Studs will hopefully do what i need without problems I can see i may run into fitting the Gotoh ( IME nothings ever simple ), or is the tone on the edge 3 a bad as the tuning stability and build problems many report?

Price on the edge pro + brass block + studs is a bit to costly.

EDIT : I can see its probably going to be the Gotoh, surgery, headaches, and not just an hour job :S .... So much for just fitting a $30 brass block and some new screw in locking studs :(
 

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The Gotoh won't be an exact fit, I think the sides may be a little wider. If they are then it's easy to remedy with some sand paper or a dremel if you can get your hands on one. Easy enough to do at home. Touch up the cavity with some similar paint and it's all good. If I can do this work anyone can! :lol:

I think there's a thread on here somewhere that explains that the Schaller studs fit the Edge III anchors. This will at least give you a longer lasting part than the stock one and saveyou pulling and re-drilling for the Gotoh studs. Again that's not too hard either.
 

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My advice?

Pick the one that bothers you the most and work on that one only. Trust me, having multiple guitars in parts and pieces is frustrating and confusing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Gotoh won't be an exact fit, I think the sides may be a little wider.

I think there's a thread on here somewhere that explains that the Schaller studs fit the Edge III anchors. This will at least give you a longer lasting part than the stock one and saveyou pulling and re-drilling for the Gotoh studs. Again that's not too hard either.
Yeah, I got my callipers out. Depth wise on the outside wings the Gotoh is gonna be about 1-1.5mm too deep in the corners ( depending on stud size ), Ill have to square 'em out a little, drop in the Gotoh studs while I'm operating. Unless anyone has a better suggestion for $150US / $185-190AU I think that's going to be the go.

Maybe air the Evo's, I haven't even looked into single coil mods, and maybe try an alnico rather than the ceramic magnet in the neck... need to do lots more forum reading or get some feed back here.

The RG350 - Im thinking take out the zero point bar and fit a $20US brass block if Edge II zero point system is a stock Edge II plate and mounting??

I've got a second hand tone zone coming this week ( it was cheap, its in the prestige's, I'm sure it will work in one of the guitars I have ) so if that destroys the INF's I'll bin the INF's rather than mess around with 'em. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My advice?

Pick the one that bothers you the most and work on that one only. Trust me, having multiple guitars in parts and pieces is frustrating and confusing.
At this point I'm just trying to work out a plan, if I'm selling one or both, costs, what will work and what wont, if bits can / should be swapped.
 

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Go on fleabay, find a used Edge pro, replace the Edge III. Direct replacement and the Edge pro is considered by many to be the best modern Ibanez tremolo.

Do not replace the EZII. It's a usable bridge, VERY stable. I had a 350EXZ and it held tuning VERY well. If you don't abuse the arm, or barely use it, the EZII will last a long time ago. You can take out the ZPS and it'll work just fine, just get some stronger springs. You do NOT need a brass block.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Its all fun and games until things go horribly wrong :( .... ok ok so its not that bad :) .. On the RG350 I took out the zero point, filed down the nut, and got a sharpening stone on the edges of the frets and fretboard to fix up the total lack of finishing work. That all went well.

Unfortunately, the electronics didnt go quite so well. I fitted a 331 capacitor to the volume pot as a treble bleed. Did a half air mod on the INF 3 neck pup. And fitted a second hand Tone Zone in the bridge with the pole screws closest to the bridge.

Problems...
* Picking up noise and RF on all pickups. [Edit] - Ground loop.
* The INFS 3 Single coil is the highest output, higher than the Tone Zone??? Any ideas what's going on here? Did I put the Tone Zone in the wrong way around ( pole screws are closest to the bridge )? Faulty Pup? Alnico rather than Ceramic magnet? The Tone Zone sounds good, just the gain is nowhere near what I was expecting. Yes, I triple checked my wiring.
* The INF 3 I did the half air mod on sounds supper thin and super low output, think Satch's telephone song tone. I think I may have broke something prying the magnet out of the wax?

Other notes..
The INFS 3 singe coil still sounds like total arse even with the treble bleed.
Treble bleed works a little to well. I'm 95% sure I got it on the correct legs of the pot???
 

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How did you wire the Tone Zone?

Its all fun and games until things go horribly wrong :( .... ok ok so its not that bad :) .. On the RG350 I took out the zero point, filed down the nut, and got a sharpening stone on the edges of the frets and fretboard to fix up the total lack of finishing work. That all went well.

Unfortunately, the electronics didnt go quite so well. I fitted a 331 capacitor to the volume pot as a treble bleed. Did a half air mod on the INF 3 neck pup. And fitted a second hand Tone Zone in the bridge with the pole screws closest to the bridge.

Problems...
* Picking up noise and RF on all pickups.
* The INFS 3 Single coil is the highest output, higher than the Tone Zone??? Any ideas what's going on here? Did I put the Tone Zone in the wrong way around ( pole screws are closest to the bridge )? Faulty Pup? Alnico rather than Ceramic magnet? The Tone Zone sounds good, just the gain is nowhere near what I was expecting. Yes, I triple checked my wiring.
* The INF 3 I did the half air mod on sounds supper thin and super low output, think Satch's telephone song tone. I think I may have broke something prying the magnet out of the wax?

Other notes..
The INFS 3 singe coil still sounds like total arse even with the treble bleed.
Treble bleed works a little to well. I'm 95% sure I got it on the correct legs of the pot???
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Found a problem..... Thanks Mr Dimarzio your RG350DX wiring diagram is all over the place.....

As much as i like taking a girls top of and getting everything out, sometimes its so much easier to just get a quick fix sorted from behind :lol:

[Edit] - Looks like this wiring will work when I pull her apart tomorrow... However the on the INF3 neck ( in place of the V7 ) the white looks like its the hot and the red is the split. on the INFS3 the white is looking like hot, black is looking like ground.

dimarzio.com/sites/default/files/diagrams/RG1570mod1.pdf

It also looks like i accidentally rotated ( or flipped ) the magnet doing the half air mod on the INF3, why its super low output and tinny when wire correctly, but works with my current miss wiring as a single coil and with the Middle pup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
After much messing around... This is what i found...
The INFS 3 has heaps of output for a single coil.
I stuffed up the INF3 some how, I dropped the INF4 in its place for testing and it worked fine. No big loss here.
I had the Tone Zone wired in the wrong way round due to dodgy Dimarzio diagrams :(

Now she plays a bit better after filing the nut and cleaning up the edge of the frets. I put the Ceramic Magnet from the busted INF3 in the tone zone for a bit more gain and set it up in a half air mod to lose a bit of low end. Holy **** batman.... she's a completely different animal.... Running a Engl E530, TC Electronics G Major, Peavey 50/50 classic into stereo 4x12" cabs.. Add lots of gain, a bit of 400ms delay, some verb and she absolutely screams :D String definition is 100 times better, rhythm is tight, harmonics just rock.

After pulling her apart so many time I no longer have any hesitation in pulling guitars to bits, I wish i had done this years ago, I probably wouldn't have sold so many guitars i picked up cheap second hand because they sounded average.

Now I just need a middle and neck pickup for her :grin:

I know Matias said I do not need a brass block? anyone else got any thoughts on this? and will a Edge II block fit on the Edge Zero II with the zero point removed, or are they completely different?
 

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Middle? People like to dump on it, but the Ibanez S1 is pretty good. I split mine with a Gravity storm bridge and OH MY GOD, what a split. It has so much quack that it sounds like a strat. The single alone is VERY twangy but for blues it works great.

IIRC, the HS-3 is what Yngwie used to use in the middle position. I don't remember off-hand but the HS-3 is a nice pup.
 

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I've got a pretty modified PAF Pro with an Alnico 8 magnet. It's old school fluro green, from a vintage Jem. Sounds pretty awesome, short wires but ive added some extensions to work for H-S-H installation. Let me know if you may be interested in that. Tone Zone and PAF Pro go very nicely together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Send me an email pls Phantom with what pups you have and prices. I also have a old PRS SE Santana, one of the originals before they started putting laminated tops on and fancy fret inlays rather than spending the money on building a solid guitar, it plays nice but could do with better pickups also. I'm probably going to tune the PRS to E flat / Drop D flat.
 
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