Ibanez JEM Forum banner

1 - 20 of 307 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
983 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!
I took it out, made some basic setup, truss rod mainly + tightening the trem screws.
It started with somewhat mixed feelings,
- i liked the sound,
- the feel,
- the weight,
- the balance,
- the fretwork,
- the strength of the neck (KTS titanium rods)
- the harmonics

but :

1) for some reason G saddle seems a tad higher, making the whole G a little higher than the rest
2) it has some misalignment regarding offset from strings to fret ends, shown here :

3) also some misallignment on the level of neck pup shown here :

which just didnt wanna come straight level no matter the pressure from the side
4) the action height, was just too high, I screwed the studs all the way down, but still the action was high, somewhere in the range of 2mm low B, 1.5 high E @24th fret.

I struggled a lot (4-5 hours) trying to find the magic way that this thing would actually tune, when i started losing faith, till I suddenly felt the strat-syndrome and just took the tools out for a proper setup.
Opened up the neck and i found that it had some shim already in, which was lost in the cavity, there is no neck stop like in strats, the neck is held only by the screws. So i decided to follow the old way of shimming. In my haste to having the guitar playable as fast as possible, i installed just a paper shimm which was enough for the job, although i am gonna redo it seriously next time.

The results :
- i got the action real low, silly low i'd say :1.4mm low B, 1mm high E @24th fret *without* buzz, hey that's a deal maker!!
- suddenly and without any pressure at screwing the neck, the string offset issue now seems gone
- also suddenly, the neck pup alignment issue was gone as well!!, cause frankly the neck pup comes in contact with the heel of the neck. I considered this as a sign of the gods of metal, so this was very important!

then i spent about an hour in full shredding mode.

Overall, i ultra dig this axe... after ..... about 7 hours of struggling to make it playable! I think its a keeper for sure.

Expect a proper NGD post to come next!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,116 Posts
Hello!
I took it out, made some basic setup, truss rod mainly + tightening the trem screws.
It started with somewhat mixed feelings,
- i liked the sound,
- the feel,
- the weight,
- the balance,
- the fretwork,
- the strength of the neck (KTS titanium rods)
- the harmonics

but :

1) for some reason G saddle seems a tad higher, making the whole G a little higher than the rest
2) it has some misalignment regarding offset from strings to fret ends, shown here :

3) also some misallignment on the level of neck pup shown here :

which just didnt wanna come straight level no matter the pressure from the side
4) the action height, was just too high, I screwed the studs all the way down, but still the action was high, somewhere in the range of 2mm low B, 1.5 high E @24th fret.

I struggled a lot (4-5 hours) trying to find the magic way that this thing would actually tune, when i started losing faith, till I suddenly felt the strat-syndrome and just took the tools out for a proper setup.
Opened up the neck and i found that it had some shim already in, which was lost in the cavity, there is no neck stop like in strats, the neck is held only by the screws. So i decided to follow the old way of shimming. In my haste to having the guitar playable as fast as possible, i installed just a paper shimm which was enough for the job, although i am gonna redo it seriously next time.

The results :
- i got the action real low, silly low i'd say :1.4mm low B, 1mm high E @24th fret *without* buzz, hey that's a deal maker!!
- suddenly and without any pressure at screwing the neck, the string offset issue now seems gone
- also suddenly, the neck pup alignment issue was gone as well!!, cause frankly the neck pup comes in contact with the heel of the neck. I considered this as a sign of the gods of metal, so this was very important!

then i spent about an hour in full shredding mode.

Overall, i ultra dig this axe... after ..... about 7 hours of struggling to make it playable! I think its a keeper for sure.

Expect a proper NGD post to come next!
I've said almost exactly this in a few threads concerning Indonesian guitars. These are great workhorse guitars IF you have the time, tools, and knowledge to finish what the Indonesians didn't.

Glad to see you got it all working. How is the fret leveling?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
983 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey RGTFanatic thanx,
the fretwork is very good. The fret edges are smoothed, and the leveling is also very good. I had uniform buzz at very low action. Overall the fretwork on this one, is better than the nice work my luthier did on my strat. So what they advertise about "premium" fretwork treatment, i guess is true.

Anyways, all night i hated the idea of the shim. So i woke up early and removed the shim. I screwed the neck back in, and noticed that without the shim i could get the action as low as i wanted, which points that this was not a design problem, but rather a completely inadequate paper shim installation at the factory. The original shim, is now somewhere in the pickup cavity. I also noticed that somehow the neck pup housing is contacting the neck, so this creates this non-level angle of the neck pup, but this is not a great issue. I was wandering however that since there is no neck-heel stop, one should never screw the neck without completely loosening the strings, other wise the heel might come in contact with the neck pup and/or cause intonation problems. I'll this again when i get home. So the shim was not needed.

Now, my next two issues are :
1) slightly high action at the nut for the 3 high strings, what are the common solutions for this? Filing the nut shelf a little bit, or the nut's base?
2) slightly raised action on G as compared to B,D and A. B has the lowest of those four, then D, then A, then G, which does not feel very right. Out of those the G,D,A seem to have the same nominal size, so i think of swapping D->G, G->A, A->D. This will also be a test regarding the strength of the plate. (i have 14 days withdrawal right, 30-days moneyback, and 3-years guarantee, i guess i am covered to do this)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
983 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Just checked the trem this morning. Checked G and B saddles side by side, even swapped them, but didn't notice any difference. Will have to check better tonight. Now as I disassembled the trem, I have to say, that this is a smart design, which have some improvements over OFR or Schaller. I don't have experience with the high-end Ibanez trems, but the Edge Zero-II-7, has :
- a really clever and accurate string locking mechanism, instead of those generic OFR string holding blocks
- has the stud locking feature
- the O-ring shaped cut on the stud for the knife edge to sit
- the ability to lock down the springs to the trem block

It also is heavy, and the metal seems much better than those old Asian licensed FR. It reminded me of Gotoh metal, as far as look and feel is concerned. When tightening the saddle lock down bolts, i took care not to overtighten, and for this i used the long edge to insert into the bolt head and the short edge to hold with my hand. I did notice some softness there, which could be attributed to the elasticity of the alen key, but i also noticed that the thickness of the plate is greater than the average floyd plate.

Also, i reinstalled the neck in order to have a clearance with the neck pup. And i think intonation improved a little bit!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,354 Posts
On older AANJ, Ibanez set the neck about 3 or 4mm lower than the Neck pickup cavity; are you saying they are at the same height?
If that is true, I can see how the shim fell into the pickup route.

It sounds like you've eliminated the saddles as the problem and the trem all together.
I'm guessing they put the frets in and didn't do a fret leveling, they just filed the ends to save time.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
983 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
On older AANJ, Ibanez set the neck about 3 or 4mm lower than the Neck pickup cavity; are you saying they are at the same height?
If that is true, I can see how the shim fell into the pickup route.
Yes, same level, there is nothing between the heel pocket and the pup cavity.

It sounds like you've eliminated the saddles as the problem and the trem all together.
I'm guessing they put the frets in and didn't do a fret leveling, they just filed the ends to save time.
If this was a fret problem (nut is less relevant), then it wouldn't have this jump in adjacent strings from G to D, maybe 0.1->0.2 mm, even in guitars with completely crappy fret leveling this would not make sense. Anyway, i will check tonight by swapping G and D, maybe the problem in the plate's stepping? I will revert with any findings. Cross fingers its not smth major.

Now about fret leveling, actually i think this is very good. The frets are perfectly rounded and shining. Lets see.

Thanx for your help. I will revert as soon as i have smth new.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
983 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Problem was a washer slipped under the saddle. All saddles are same height. Radius is implemented by plate stepping, so the radius is built in the trem. Those washers are easy to slip under.

Now regarding the fretwork, here is a close up:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
496 Posts
Problem was a washer slipped under the saddle. All saddles are same height. Radius is implemented by plate stepping, so the radius is built in the trem. Those washers are easy to slip under.

Now regarding the fretwork, here is a close up:

Wow that's some really nice fretwork! Ibanez is really stepping up on their Indo factories.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
983 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow that's some really nice fretwork! Ibanez is really stepping up on their Indo factories.
The neck in its entirety is very good. Very stiff and strong. The fretwork is also the best I have ever seen . Now i have the following setup :
- relief almost zero, below 0.1mm
- height of high E @24 fret : 1.1mm
- height of low B @24 fret : 1.4mm
And it is buzz free, plenty of harmonics (natural, artificial).

However, I dont like its rythm tone so much in drop tune "nu-metal" amp settings. The guitar is very stratty and pronounces treble. It seems like this guitar pronounces those mid to high frequencies needed to make it sound clear and defined. The clean sounds are very good. It is nice for rock and metal, and almost everything, except those drop down nu-metal riffs kind of sound, which i happen to like. But maybe its the pups. Those blazes maybe were not for nu-metal. Also, i cannot expect nice riffs when the low .54 B has that low action :smile:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
983 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They do, Green with Black poles just like the Dimarzio Blaze pickups that come in the UV70P.
Thanx Sebastian, although i got show some self respect and resist the sirens of modding for the time being.

Anyways, I think i managed to get some good nu-metal tones with the tone rolled back to 4-5. Thick and nice, given the correct amp settings. Raised the action as well, in order to get bigger tones both in solos and in rythm.

As far as setup is concerned I didn't like the fact that i removed the original shim, so i got it back, correctly this time i hope. Its just a tiny thin orthogonal piece of wood, and having modded strats for so long, i was amazed this could make such a difference. As a result, I think the strings now are equally aligned bass/treble side + and most important, it seems the neck pup now has space to breathe.
String alignment :


Neck pup orizontal alignment :


And now the ibby family :)


Just grabbed the arz800, after days only with the uv70p, and the neck although normally in the thick D-shaped LP-ish territory, it felt like a stick compared to the 7-string.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,116 Posts
Very nice Panix...... your really getting this one sorted out.

If you lower your bridge pickup some, your tone will thicken up a bit more, The more you lower it the better it will get. If you notice one or more strings getting weaker, you can raise those individual poles under each string to get better response. This is also the way to balance differences in string volumes. I typically have to raise the poles on the G-B- and high E strings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Beautiful guitar! Im looking to get back in the UV world. Ive heard mixed things about these though. Im somewhat mechanically inclined but I don't know much about working on guitars. I just learned how to set intonation. If I picked one of these up at a reasonable price is it worth the amount of time it would take me to learn and set it up properly.

Have you played any older uv's? Particularly a uv777bk. I had an early 2000's model(cant remember exact year) and that thing had a tone that was just awesome. I hear it most of the time in sound clips of UV's. I just picked up an Apex 20 which has Blaze's and it sounds great, but doesn't have that UV sound. Maybe lack of a tone knob?

When you say nu-metal, do you mean like Korn? They have been using UV's since the beginning. I think my blaze's in the apex have are smoother, but have more gain on dirty channels vs the paf 7's in my k7. Both are great though and depending what your playing they both do have advantages.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
983 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Apolo240, its a hit or miss, or as Sebastian said mostly miss. I loved the fretwork, and the neck, and the tones, but everything else was bad. The neck to body assembly had a problem. Either it would screw fine without the shim but touch the neck pup make it have an angle and also harm intonation badly, or with the shim, have a correct clearance with the neck pup, but not able to screw in all neck screws all the way down, making the neck really unstable, and hearing this kr krk sound when using the tremolo : typical sound of a bold on super strat with floyd rose, but with inadequate neck to body joint. So apparently the neck heel drilling was done wrong, and also the shim was installed wrongly, and also the guitar might very well have no shim at all. But without the shim the neck was touching the neck pup.

And as soon as i managed to solve the neck problem (or at least thought so), the heads of the intonation bolts started stripping! I was not able to make the G string hold firmly in its position, i tried to tighten it, and the head went dead. I think that the way Ibanez solved the soft pot metal problem, was to use .... even weaker intonation bolts with even smaller alen size! (one size smaller than the floyd rose). Had to replace the original bolt with a cheap licenced floyd rose i had, which held just fine. So maybe if the plate threads are ok, maybe the solution might be newer heavy duty bolts.

After that I gave up. Three sleepless nights in five days for a new "premium" guitar is just too much. I tried all I could. I could tolerate the trem soft pot metal problem, and was prepared for that. But I could not stand the wrongly drilled neck problem.

I will try to ask them for replacement, I would give this model a second chance, as I did with my other ibby.
 
1 - 20 of 307 Posts
Top